The Sound of the Trumpet

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

In the third Evan Horne novel by Bill Moody, the hero is still unable to play jazz piano because one of his hands was crippled in an accident; he has taken up detecting instead, cases involving real musicians from the past. His friend, professor and music buff Ace Buffington, brings Horne to Las Vegas to judge whether an old tape recording really contains the work of trumpeter Clifford Brown, a real musician who was killed in an automobile crash in 1956.

Taken secretly to a house on the outskirts of Las Vegas, Horne joins two men in listening to the tapes and he believes that the trumpeter involved is really Clifford Brown. While he waits in one room, the two men go to another room where shots are fired. One man is dead; the other, whom Horne has not seen clearly, disappears. One tape is gone, but another remains, along with a trumpet bearing the initials “CB.”

The police, who know Horne from earlier cases, enlist his aid. A newly-discovered tape made by a player of Brown’s stature would be worth a great deal of money in the rapacious world of record collectors, so he traces the tape, which was actually made in the 1950’s, and finds the musicians who made it and discovers who would have had access to the criminals involved in creating a fraud. In a somewhat improbable conclusion, Thorne is able to extract a confession from the murderer.

Moody, a disc-jockey and drummer, knows the world of recording companies and the world of jazz, and provides inside information on both, as well as an exciting mystery.