Tonight he’s at The Cotton Club to see Count Basie about a job. It seems someone is blackmailing a member of his band, Billy Strayhorn, a homosexual and the composer of Winowsky’s current favorite TAKE THE ‘A’ TRAIN. Basie wants Winowsky to frighten the blackmailer off.
Not a complicated job as Winowsky waits to catch the fellow, a hustler named Luther Smith, getting oral gratification from a hooker in the back seat of his car. He throws enough of a scare into Smith to feel that problem was over.
However, the next morning he reads in the paper that Smith had been found strangled in his car. The time had to be shortly after Winowsky’s encounter and surely his fingerprints would be found on the scene.
He’d been framed as the visit from two sadistic cops who take great delight in trying to beat a confession out of him. Throw in a mob boss who wants Winowsky dead, a rich white gut at Smith’s funeral who breaks into tears, and a second dead body killed in the same manner make it tough as Winowsky tries to figure out what’s going on and clear his name.
Author Luis Gutiérrez Maluenda is a Spaniard. MUSIC FOR THE DEAD is the first of his crime novels translated into English.
It’s a good one.