A Mystery of Storyville, New Orleans

JASS ME UP! A review by Denise Baton

Nominee for the SHAMUS AWARD for best novel, CHASING THE DEVIL’S TAIL is set in 1907, in Storyville, New Orleans, a section of the city, which is basically a legally zoned red-light district where “sporting girls” ply their trade for clients from all social stratas and walks of life. The night air is punctuated by the horn blasts coming from the originator of “jass”, Buddy Bolden, and the morning light reveals the bodies of the lovely and not-so-lovely victims of the Black Rose Killer. Sounds like a job for Creole detective, Valentin St. Cyr, (pronounced saint seer). Not only because he’s a first-rate private investigator, but also because he has that certain mix of skin color which frees him to negotiate from the back rooms of gut bucket (blues) joints where life is low rent and nasty to the elite parlours of the finest New Orleans ladies. St. Cyr is not convinced that his best friend from childhood, the now-famous Buddy Bolden, has been cursed as many of the Marie Laveau devotees believe. Rumor is that Buddy picked up a demon during a back bayou voodoo ritual which allows him to play a wild new music but drives him to kill his lovers, leaving only one clue at each crime scene, a single black rose.

Whether you’re a historical mystery lover or just love a good mystery, CHASING THE DEVIL’S TAIL is a delicious read. It’s regular New Orleans fare served up in true Creole style. This is the first novel by David Fulmer and, right out the gate, not only did it receive nomination for the SHAMUS AWARD, it was also nominated for the LA TIMES BOOK PRIZE. Read it for yourself and see what all the fuss is about.