Koenig, Joseph, Really the Blues: A Mystery in Paris
France in 1941 provides the colorful backdrop for this accomplished standalone from Edgar finalist Koenig (False Negative). Eddie Piron, who fled New Orleans under mysterious circumstances, has adjusted to life in Paris under the Nazis as the leader and trumpeter of a seven-man jazz band. But things take a sinister turn with the disappearance of his drummer, Borge Janssen, who later resurfaces as a corpse floating in the Seine. Adding to the complications, the drummer’s girlfriend, Anne Cartier, supposedly commits suicide by sticking her head in a gas oven, an act that kills others after a curious neighbor accidentally triggers an explosion when she turns on a light. When Piron becomes a person of interest to the Gestapo, he has a personal incentive to discover the truth about Janssen’s killing. Despite superficial resemblances to some plot elements of Casablanca, the book works on its own terms as a absorbing portrayal of life under the German occupation.