BLIND TRAVELER’S BLUES is one of those mysteries that fall into the amateur detective genre. Douglas Abledan is a computer technologist, blinded a couple of years before by a stray bullet in a drive-by shooting. It’s 2021 and technology makes him able to function fairly proficiently.
And he’s one of those people that manage to stumble into murders.
He’s on vacation and headed from New York to Chicago with the intent of visiting art museums and blues clubs. He sits beside Dr. Cara Cordelia, a botanist specializing in pathological plant diseases. She’s headed to a conference intended to combat a virulent new corn plague in Mexico.
In this future world, things are changing. Nature has been upset. Strong earthquakes are happening all to frequently in places never before hit with them. Powerful hurricanes happen. An ancient village had been uncovered in Mexico and an accident with an artifact had loosed the ancient corn plague devastating corn crops. It was spreading north.
Abledan and the doctor make a connection and plan to meet for dinner in Chicago, even though she was complaining of stomach problems. They have dinner in a club, Capone’s, recreating the old speakeasies of the 1920s. The “date” is cut short when more stomach problems crop up and they part ways with a promise to do it again when she feels better.
It was the last time he saw her.
He learns she died later that night and that she was poisoned. The blind man has a nose for trouble, in more ways than one. His other senses compensate for the blindness and he starts to remember things on the plane and the restaurant.
As with all amateur detectives, nothing deters him. Not the police detective that doesn’t like civilians mixing in and blindly begins to suspect him. Not the uniform sergeant who wants to help him, but starts to wonder. Not Cordelia’s business associates and friends who seem to be holding something back. His nose smells unexplained perspiration, his ear hears a hesitation in their answers.
I had quite a good time with this one such that I’ve already bought the first Abledan novel, BLIND TRAVELER DOWN A DARK RIVER. Mr Bennett’s writing has a confidence and smooth plotting that kept me reading right to the end.