How hard can it be to give away a fortune?
That’s the question for Chris Klick, legman on a team that chases down recording artists owed back royalties. The former professional musician and his partner, lawyer Bruce Warren, are not just good guys, they split the percentage they collect on delivering the money. It’s a living for a guy nearing forty. It supports his preferred lifestyle dwelling in an Idaho cabin where he can go with the rhythm "and the sports" of the seasons.
Maestro Stephan Schultz is owed $190,000 that has been recovered from a team of corporate accountants who creatively acquired it in the first place. So Klick is in Paris to hunt him down. But there’s a hitch. The famous conductor has seduced a student cellist, emptied his marital bank account, and abandoned both his wife and the podium. He’s ducked into deep cover and will be hard to flush out. No pay off, no percentage. Then Klick gets a clue. There’s a rumor the maestro’s youthful lover is to study at Oxford.
Crossing the Channel, Klick heads for London to rendezvous with his buddy Lyel, a former NBA star who has given up the slam-dunk for a life of clipping coupons, yet craves an occasional adrenaline rush. Lyel has a plan: Klick is to go undercover as a mystery writer on a Raymond Chandler Research Fellowship at Wadham College, there to write a novel. And since the college is missing a don, and Klick is missing a musician, maybe under the guise of doing research for his book Klick can find both and hand over the money.
And maybe, just maybe, he can rewrite his romance with true love Nicole.
Easy? Sure. But the plot quickly thickens, and Klick and his sidekick find themselves pursuing dastardly dons, missing bottles of port, a lost Mozart masterpiece, and, of course, the miscreant maestro….
It’s been nearly a decade since Wendell McCall’s first two novels featuring investigator Chris Klick, Dead Aim and Aim for the Heart. The wait for Concerto in Dead Flat has been well worthwhile as the author has honed not only his keen sense of timing but a marvelously comic voice. The result balances the elements of a good private eye novel with the pace, the intricate plotting, and the wit of a caper.