Tuesday, August 11, 2020

In Celebration of Summer Reading: The Vinyl Detective--Written in Dead Wax


Sometimes my reading overlaps with my other interests. Such was the case as I read Andrew Cartmel's first book in his The Vinyl Detective series: Written in Dead Wax. The "vinyl detective" is a young British record collector who specializes in jazz music. He scours charity shops and jumble sales for rare finds, which he resells to pay the rent, hoping eventually to improve his heating system.

A striking young woman shows up at his door with an assignment to find a particularly rare LP, the 14th and last from an obscure label.  She joins him on the search, spending more and more time in his flat as well, charming him and his pair of cats.

Evidence indicates a mysterious collectors' vinyl is appearing around town, but as he and Nevada, his charming sidekick, search for the album in question, a pair they call the Aryan Twins, seem to be just a step ahead of them or right on their trail. His best friend, with a tendency to fall down his own stairs, becomes a casualty.

In the second part of the novel, after he achieves what seems like success, he meets a young American woman whose grandmother sang on the record in the quest. She invites him along for further intrigue.

Much of the story is a little incredible (in the literal sense). A number of murders don't seem to draw much attention or else the police aren't making the connections. Still, the quirky characters, the specificity of the music details, and the twists and turns of the story all make for a fun read--just the kind summer is meant to include.


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