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So who is the star of this book, anyway? Joan Merrill's "And All That Stalking" is actually the second in her "Casey McKie" mystery series, and knowing that you'd think it would be an easy answer. While I admit the action and story are definitely driven by this titular character, I would argue that's she only the third most important character here.
First and foremost in this story is Jazz itself. You can tell from the book that Joan has a real love for jazz and a decent feel for it and its history. Through another main character, Dee Jefferson, you really get a good flavor for jazz, new and old. It adds a flavor to the book that many mysteries lack - a feeling that these characters are grounded in the real world and not just there for the mystery.
The second-most important character, IMHO, is the city of San Francisco itself. While I have only visited the city a few times myself, you can tell that Joan has a really good feel for the city - geography, people, etc. You can really feel the place as Casey moves throughout the city.
On, yeah - there's a pretty decent mystery to go along with all of that. The story has all of the elements of a good mystery - characters, revelations, and plot twists to keep the story moving along at a decent pace. I wouldn't describe the story as gory; there is some appropriate violence so I wouldn't quite describe it as a "cozy" mystery but there is nothing to offend most readers' sensibilities. Also, don't let the fact that this is the second book with the main character - I have not read the first and enjoyed this book.
The narration was, in my opinion, better than average. The emotion and skill of the narrator are on full display. I could have done with a little more differentiation between characters' voices, but overall it is a good job.
Over all, if you're looking for a good mystery to while away the hours, "And All That Stalking" will meet your needs quite nicely.
This was the first book of the Casey McKie series that I have "read."
I like the main character, Casey. Nice that she is a jazz fan; there is no shortage of these in mystery fiction, but in Casey's case jazz is more than a passing interest. She is a very active and knowledgeable fan on the jazz scene. A jazz fan such as myself will find Casey's world very realistic.
Casey has a strong relationship with veteran vocalist Dee Jefferson. Apparently Dee was a part of one of Merrill's previous McKie mysteries. I'm sure there are other stories that have carried over as well, and I look forward to going back to read the previous McKie stories.
This story itself was good, never really a clue who it was, really. Casey had her suspects and went about her investigation the way most mystery detectives do, just staying active, learning about the suspects, collecting data but not really knowing what they are looking for. The ultimate solution was a surprise.
The book has a nice pace as Casey runs her investigation. The book really picked up momentum the last few chapters (not that it was slow before that!) If it had been a reading book, I would have gotten to the point when Laura (a young vocalist who was being stalked)got another "threat" and not put it down until the end. That's the way these should be.
As I said, I'll go back and see what else has happened in Casey's life (prior and subsequent to this book), and it'll hopefully be fun to see how her character develops through the series.
The reader (Liisa Ivary) was good. She has different voices for the various characters, I found that these helped to develop a picture of them. And there are some real characters, like the wannabe songwriter who they call "Sammy Cahn," the clubowner Tony Lombardi, and of course Casey and Dee herself.