The Music Box Murders

by Larry Karp, © 1999, Worldwide 2000 paperback, mystery featuring Dr. Thomas Purdue, first in series

Having read an review of this book by Walter Albert in February, I tracked down a used copy and gave it a try. Walter and I both enjoy art mysteries, and as he said in his review this mystery will probably interest anyone who collects just about anything. In this case it’s music boxes, but it will in fact strike a chord (ouch) will all of us who find joy in hunting and finding items to add to the collections that hold our interest.

Dr. Thomas Purdue is a music box collector; as such he takes personal interest when desirable items become available or change hands between one collector and another. He is a member of the New York Music Box Collectors Society. So he is surprised and concerned when he hears that one of the premier collectors in the city has been murdered, and a rare box stolen. He’s more concerned when a box he buys shortly afterward from a dealer he has considered reputable appears to be the stolen box.

In the best tradition of the amateur sleuth, he decides to investigate, which leads to trouble, involvement with some unsavory types and personal jeopardy.

I liked this one and ripped right through it, then found the next in the series as well. Very enjoyable.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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8 Responses to The Music Box Murders

  1. These books sound great! How many are in the series?

  2. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Looks like there are three in this series, George, judging from his website. He’s written other stuff since.

  3. Richard says:

    I have 3 of them, this one, Scamming the Birdman and The Midnight Special. Karp also has a series about ragtime music and musicians, as well as a couple autobiographical novels about his own music box collecting. Details at

  4. Richard says:

    Ah, I see Jeff beat me to it.

  5. It does sound like an enjoyable read for a collector like myself.

  6. Patti Abbott says:

    Does Aaron Elkins have a series on art? And I loved that one by Frayn-Headlong.

  7. Richard says:

    Yes he does, there are three of them, they feature Chris Norgren. They are A Deceptive Clarity (1987), A Glancing Light (1991) and Old Scores (1993). I don’t think he continued the series, my guess is it was a 3-book deal and they didn’t do as well as his Gideon Oliver books, a new one of which came out in 2009.

    He also has a series he writes with his wife with golfer Lee Ofsted as the protagonist, there are 5 of those.

    I haven’t read Headlong.

  8. Not familiar with Karp. Sounds interesting though. His name goes on my list.

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