Review of BLUE MOON by Peter Duchin and John Morgan Wilson
A PHILIP DAMON MYSTERY
Berkley Prime Crime, October 2002
Band leader Philip Damon has struggled to get on with his life after his wife's murder. Now, two years later, his friends urge him to take a gig in San Francisco--where he first met Diana. He finally agrees, hoping to put the memories behind him. Instead, in 1963 San Francisco, suspended between the beat of the 1950s and age of rock and roll, Damon finds his memories brutally reawakened--by more murder. With the help of San Francisco's only black inspector, who doesn't believe in coincidence, Damon finds hints that his wife was more than he'd ever believed, and that these new murders are connected to her own.
Authors Peter Duchin and John Morgan Wilson deliver just about every celebrity of 1963, from Jackie Kennedy and Truman Capote, to the Jefferson Airplane, to Joe DiMaggio to Jack Kerouac along with a host of local names that will make San Francisco natives take note. In many ways, the 1960s were the birth of our age and Duchin and Wilson do a fine job describing this--down to Damon's belief that rock and roll will soon fade (and there are those who say that it has so go figure).
For me, this emphasis on celebrities occasionally obscured the mystery. More important, it obscured the character of Damon himself. BLUE MOON would have had dramatically more impact had I truly sympathized with Damon, really cared about his recovery, the loss of is wife, or his safety as he caromed through the streets of San Francisco. Perhaps the celebrity focus took Duchin and Wilson's eyes off that ball because I never gained that emotional connection.
BLUE MOON is well written and delivers plenty of action to go with its historical details and slanted look at a world in the midst of change as seen by a man who is blind to the changes.
Purchase BLUE MOON from Amazon.com (hardback).