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Jazz Funeral: An Action-Packed New Orleans Mystery (Skip Langdon #3) (The Skip Langdon Series) [Kindle Edition]

Julie Smith
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (292 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $0.99

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Book Description

The THIRD book in the Edgar Award-winning Skip Langdon mystery series by Julie Smith.

A genuinely moving mystery ... It's always a pleasure to spend time with Skip, a no-nonsense, level-headed heroine in a wild and reckless city." –The Baltimore Sun

"A super protagonist, well-defined characters, and musical highlights make this essential." -Library Journal


New Orleans Homicide Detective Skip Langdon just happens to be on hand when Ham’s body is discovered in the middle of his own party the evening before the Fest. To complicate the already murky case, the victim's sixteen-year-old blues musician sister has disappeared, and Skip suspects that if the young woman isn't the murderer, she's in mortal danger from the person who is. So Task One is finding Melody, ambitious, unhappy at home, and determined to break from her family.

As she probes the victim's tangled relationships, Skip finds a Southern family to rival any in Tennessee Williams, including Ham's live-in lover, feisty and swiftly rising star Ti-Belle Thiebaud; his father George, enmeshed with family members in a bitter disagreement over the family's lucrative Po' Boy chain; and Patty, his distraught stepmother.

In this tale of southern kinships gone awry, she's assisted by her long-distance love, Steve Steinman, and her gay landlord, Jimmy Dee. Meanwhile, Melody's dangerous yet exhilarating journey tugs at the heart and raises the pulse rate.

“Smith’s Big Easy setting is a lively blend of big city and gossipy small town.” –Publishers Weekly

Fans of Laura Lippman, Ace Atkins, James Lee Burke, and the HBO series TREME will adore this satisfying and complex cop whodunit. And fans of YA fiction will fall in love with Melody!

“At $250 a pop,” fumed a red-faced man, “you’d think we’d at least get a drink.”

The shrill, uncertain buzz they’d noticed was developing a hysterical note. This was a party that wasn’t fun. Bemused, Skip and Steve worked their way back around to the front.

“Ham I could see,” said Skip. “He could have had to work late—it’s his busiest time. But where’s Ti-Belle?”

“Oh, ‘bout two houses away, I’d say. Approaching at a dead run, having just parked a Thunderbird with a squeal of wheels.”

Skip had heard the squeal, but had paid it no mind. Now she saw a very thin woman coming towards them, hair flying, long legs shining brown, sticking out from a white silk shorts suit. Over one shoulder she carried a lightweight flight bag. Golden-throated Ti-Belle Thiebaud, the fastest-rising star on the New Orleans music scene.

Steve said, “I’d know those legs anywhere.”

She never performed in any garment that wasn’t short, split, slit, or halfway missing. Some said the whole country would know those legs soon. They said she was going to be bigger than large, larger than huge.

Thiebaud was approaching at a dead trot, fast giving way to a gallop. She was wearing huge hoop earrings. She had giant black eyes and shining olive skin, flyaway blond hair that looked utterly smashing with her dark complexion. Her skin clung to her bones, hanging gently, as naturally as hide on a horse.

“How’d Ham get her?” she blurted.

A black man waved at the singer, tried to slow her progress, pretend it was a party: “Hey, Ti-Belle.”

Thiebaud paid him no mind but cast a look at the crowd in general. Skip saw twin wrinkles at the sides of her nose—one day they’d be there permanently if she worried a lot in the meantime.

“Hi, y’all.” She was trying to smile, but it wasn’t working. “Excuse me a minute.” She let herself in and closed the door behind her.

Almost immediately, a scream that could have come from anyone—the hottest Cajun R&B singer in America or any terrified woman—ripped through the nervous buzz.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Everybody loved easygoing Hamson Brocato, producer of the successful New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but even so he ended up stabbed to death in his kitchen the night of his own JazzFest party. NOPD detective Skip Langdon, Smith's spunky heroine last seen in New Orleans Mourning, gets a ready-made suspect list from the victim's live-in lover, singing star Ti-Belle Thiebaud. Included are Ariel Bruge, Ham's assistant, apparently a woman scorned; his father George, enmeshed with family members in a bitter disagreement over the family's fast food ("Poor Boy's Po' Boys") chain; and Patty, the stepmother Ham was cool about. Skip notes the list's omissions: Ti-Belle herself (often heard arguing with Ham at the top of her powerful voice) and Melody, Ham's teenaged half-sister who vanished the same day Ham died. Skip doesn't miss much as she probes the victim's tangled relationships, remaining all the while a consistently convincing character herself, grumbling about her boss and anxious about her long-distance significant other. Smith's Big Easy setting is a lively blend of big city and gossipy small town. Author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This sequel to The Axeman's Jazz (Thomas Dunne, 1991) also takes place in a recognizably atmospheric setting and calls upon a similar theme. On the eve of the New Orleans Jazz Fest, series heroine Detective Skip Langdon discovers the dead body of one of its staunchest supporters, the part-owner of a restaurant chain and the lover of a fast-rising black blues singer. To make matters worse, the victim's teenage half-sister, who may hold the key to the case, has disappeared. A super protagonist, well-defined characters, and musical highlights make this essential. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/93.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1599 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: booksBnimble (December 30, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00817OUCS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,574 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jazz funeral June 3, 2012
By tony
Format:Kindle Edition
I really like Julie Smith's character Skip Langdon, homicide detective on the New Orleans Police Department, pretty, sexy, insecure, six-foot tall, who lived in her one-room studio rented from her gay landlord friend and fashion consultant. This book is rich in New Orleans, with a setting in Jazz Fest, po-boys from Mumfreys, and the musicians who swarm here. The beginning is great: a party at a new mansion in Old Metairie and the host fails to show up. Why? He's found on the kitchen floor, speared by a knife plunged to the hilt in his chest. The stove is still on and the roux is burning. The book takes us to the darker side of the city, the world of the runaways and the "Cov" where they can find refuge.

Langdon is a pro. She collects her evidence step-by-step, each piece a part of a story, one with characters who rise out of the steam of a dangerous New Orleans summer afternoon.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jazz Fest Mystery December 14, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This was a diverting read mainly for the colorful descriptions of The Big Easy and the central characters. The mystery was acceptable but the ending felt tacked on and was less than gratifying. Still, her central character, female police officer Skip Langdon is interesting and complex enough to want to ride shotgun with as she progresses through the story. The problem for anyone who likes to read about Southern Louisiana and the New Orleans area, is that James Lee Burke owns this territory and so far nobody else has measured up to his skill at describing it.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs editing! July 24, 2012
By S. Hux
Format:Kindle Edition
I cannot even finish this book as the editing stinks... It almost reads as if someone made notes and then the notes were not removed. Unless you can get this book for free (which I did), don't bother.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging mystery, terrific New Orleans details June 14, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Julie Smith book I have read, and I was very impressed. The mystery held my attention throughout. Her series character, a woman police officer named Skip Langdon, is very human...competent at her job, but trying to deal with a difficult boss, having her ups and downs with her love life.... The plot twist at the end came as a complete surprise to me. I will look forward to reading more Julie Smith mysteries.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On a Julie Smith Tear October 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Just reread Jazz Funeral for the first time in..twenty years? Needless to say I didn't remember any of it. This time I'm not only older than Melody the teen suspect but also Skip Langdon, Smith's famous New Orleans cop detective who was my initiation into my love of mysteries and my particular love of female detectives. As a reread it was interesting to realize that Skip didn't actually solve the mystery, nor did I. Jazz Funeral gives you a lot of people who have a motive and a teenager whose melodrama is so teenage that when everyone says the key is the teenager I kept thinking to myself "oooh puh-lease!"

If you want a glimpse of pre-Katrina New Orleans when it was only about the music and violence and no one had cell phones, pick up Jazz Funeral. Strangely so much is still true. You can still buy a gun on the West Bank, be an underage stripper in the quarter, the same people still attend Country Day, and New Orleans is just as corrupt if not more. So glad I got to read it again!
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging characters and story. August 25, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think Julie Smith is a terrific writer and as I read one book of hers after another I am impressed by the growth as a writer that she demonstrates. It's fun to read her books and watch her get better and better. Her two main characters -- Skip Langdon and the city of New Orleans -- are equally real to me. Her depiction of the climate of New Orleans makes me really glad I don't live there but I love reading about it. And Skip, with her fine mind and profound insecurities, is someone I'd love to know. But the most wonderful aspect of this particular Skip Langdon adventure is the portrayal of the mind of a sixteen year old girl, incredibly sad, incredibly talented, incredibly real to me. I love how the girl thinks about race, music, death, and love. I believe in her talent and her anguish. I love Skip's landlord/best friend and can't wait to read the next book to find out what happens in their lives. In fact, as soon as I finish this review I'm going to buy the next one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not her best book December 11, 2013
By Dar
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read other books by Julie Smith and they were great. This book, not so much. Don't judge her on the basis of this book alone. This one needed better editing; it was long and boring. I gave up about a quarter of the way through and read the ending.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to read, but a good story. January 31, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good story but way too many spelling errors, it was hard to stay with a story line. You should have me as your proof reader.
I liked the story though.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A good mystery. Interesting ending
Light reading. A good mystery. Interesting ending..
Published 6 days ago by gail forman
4.0 out of 5 stars Too long but still one of her best
Interesting how there's no accounting for taste. I agree with a lot of the readers in that it went on too long but I thought it was one of the best Skip books I've read. Read more
Published 8 days ago by ST
2.0 out of 5 stars Please
This book needs a proofreader. The number of mistakes is annoying. I WILL do the proofing if you give me the right price.
Published 10 days ago by E. Balboa
4.0 out of 5 stars I've grown to like Julie's novels
I've grown to like Julie's novels. I'm from LA so maybe that's why I like them. I also find her descriptions of N.O. to be accurate and fun. Just a fun read. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Lost Cajun
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended
Good story
Published 1 month ago by Kit
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful characters
This book makes you feel the characters. You feel and understand their emotions and their reactions to those emotions. Lovely book,
Published 1 month ago by Patricia carrier
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, exciting, and the characters are real.
As always the story moves at an exciting pace. The story has murder, excitement, humor, love, great characters. The clues were involved with many twists and turns. Read more
Published 1 month ago by K Tenney
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Enjoyed it.
Published 1 month ago by Peter J. Muntan Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read not easy to put down!
Well written and easy to read with a great story line and characters. Love the feel of New Orleans which is so beautifully described you can feel the steamy heat!
Published 1 month ago by spurgrove
5.0 out of 5 stars Skip da de doo da
Mystery,murder, mayhem. Plus a little romance. I like Julie Smith's books. She is a good story teller. The characters are believable and interesting.
Published 1 month ago by Elizabeth Smith Hanson
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More About the Author

I first knew I wanted to be a writer at seven, knew it was mysteries I'd write at 12, was desperate to win the Edgar at 13, but became a journalist to...well...keep from starving till I had the courage to actually try it. I had a great time and learned more than ten colleges could have taught as a reporter for first the New Orleans Times-Picayune and later the San Francisco Chronicle. Finally, I wrote six or seven mysteries (I've lost count!) over a period of eight years, to absolutely no avail, and was about to give up when I made my first sale. DEATH TURNS A TRICK was my first published book, and the Rebecca Schwartz series was born. I later added a second San Francisco series, plus two in New Orleans, and guess what? My first New Orleans book, NEW ORLEANS MOURNING, won the Edgar for Best Novel.

So some dreams come true! Boy, it was hard, and it took forever, but mine actually did. I'm still pinching myself. After wanting something so much and finally getting it, who would have thought I'd turn to something else after twenty-one books? (That's right, twenty-one not counting a non-fiction one on writing itself. So, twenty-two, really.) My whole identity was writing. But along came ebooks! Suddenly a gigantic opportunity opened up. I realized I could be a publisher myself---I could help other people achieve their own dreams. I couldn't help it, I got the publishing bug. Bad.

In 2010, I founded, a digital publishing company that focused at first on video-enhanced ebooks, but now not so much enhanced as just great quality---and, as you might imagine, with an emphasis on mysteries. So far, we've published eight authors (including me). It's been a treat to learn to function in another whole world and it's been incredibly rewarding to be able to help other writers, to bring back people's backlists, and to discover new, exciting talent.

Check out some of our terrific authors--Patty Friedmann, Marika Christian, Tony Dunbar, Anneke Campbell, Whitney Stewart, and Lee Pryor. Coming soon: mystery authors Greg Herren, Liz Zelvin, Shelley Singer, and Mickey Friedman.


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