“Oh, baby don't you want to go
Back to the land of California, to my sweet home Chicago
It seemed like everyone in the Mississippi delta country could hear that sweet song that Robert Johnson sang calling them north to Chicago. It fell on there ears like a sweet lullaby, a promise of a better life to the north. Young Ruby Walker was no exception. As a teenager she haunted the roadhouses and blues joints hoping that one day she could sing the blues in the sweet home up north "Chicago."
Well, Ruby did make it north and for a while it was a good and sweet home. Ruby hit the big time and became known for her song Leavin' Trunk Blues. But it seemed predestined that Ruby was to live a life of the blues. One morning she woke up soaked in the blood of her manager and lover, Billy Lyons and before she knew it she was serving life in the big house for his murder.
That was in 1959 and as the years pass slowly by, Ruby steadfastly maintained that she is innocent. She begins to write to professor and blues historian Nick Travers. Nick agrees to research the circumstances surrounding the murder, because he hopes to do research on Ruby, her life and the people she knew at the time. Nick feels that historians are missing the opportunity to record living history by forgetting the people who participated in the great migration and focusing on the 1930's and the delta.
Ace Atkins has created a tasty mystery with Leavin' Trunk Blues, the second of his Nick Travers series. It is nicely atmospheric taking place in Chicago with Nick visiting blues clubs as well as Chicago's seedy underbelly to dig up information. Fast paced with action and adventure to spare, it draws the reader quickly into Nicks world.
Nick is an unlikely sleuth. A former football player who fell in love with the blues and became a blues historian from Tulane University. We find out that he can get down and dirty with the best of them and there are times in Leavin' Trunk Blues that he has to.
For a fan of mysteries or a fan of the blues, Leavin' Trunk Blues is a great read. If you are both it is even better.
“A good plot about Nick Travers, a blues professor at Tulane, trying to get info to free Ruby Walker, unjustly convicted of murdering her lover in 1959. It gives some background about the Chicago blues scene, but I just don't much like Nick, the protagonist.”Sharon Anne B wrote this review Tuesday, April 13, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No