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The Midnight Special [Hardcover]

Larry Karp
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 2001
It's a beautiful June day in New York, but not for Thomas Purdue. His friend Edna Reynolds calls to say she's just murdered Marcus Wilcox, a tinhorn interior designer who's been harassing her. While trying to check out an unusual music box his friend Broadway Schwartz has sighted in a local antique store, Thomas is told they have no such box. And then he gets an urgent ER call to come treat his pal Frank the Crank, who's been badly beaten up.

Dead bodies accumulate; so do sightings of the mysterious music box. Edna decides Thomas needs her help and calls in octogenarian music-box dealer Sophie Soleski, safecracker Cleveland Gackle, super-antiques-picker Broadway Schwartz, and Jitters Levitsky, a young man with an unusual but useful neurological disorder. Big Al Resford flies in from London, bringing his own particular expertise.

In this complex, thoughtful sequel to The Music Box Murders and Scamming the Birdman, Thomas needs to fit together some very oddly-shaped puzzle pieces -- but disastrously misses the most important clue of all!


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Dr. Purdue music box aficionado and amateur sleuth lands in his third adventure, The Midnight Special: A Thomas Purdue Mystery, by Larry Karp (The Music Box Murders). Our hero neurologist contends with a scheming interior designer, a thief with synesthesia ("an odd condition where sensory nerves seem to cross-communicate") and an assault on a bipolar antiques dealer and that's just the first day. Punchy prose and a layered plot characterize this New York City romp.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

New York neurologist Thomas Pardue (The Music Box Murders) drops himself into a music box-flavored stew that revolves around Marcus Wilcox, a cagey interior designer with an important box to sell. Although an antiques picker saw the item in the designer's shop, and thugs tortured a friend of Pardue for allegedly selling the box to Wilcox, Wilcox denies having it. When all the allegations and manipulations result in murder, Thomas uses his own collecting expertise to investigate. A pleasant read, complete with familiar characters, convincing plot, and strongly focused subject. For most collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Special any time, actually -- April 22 2001
Format:Hardcover
Thomas Purdue is a very multi-faceted (fictional) person, as is expertly delineated in the books about him by his creator, Larry Karp. This third adventure is another fast-paced tour of Manhattan, an introduction to yet another musical mechanical marvel, and a welcome re-introduction to the Purdue Repertory Company.
Well, not theatrical repertory, just a most unusual group of friends, who seem to have, collectively, nearly every skill needed by the man or woman who is engaged in nearly any kind of activity, legal or otherwise. I'm not so sure I'd like to meet some of them, but for the most part, they're charming, gregarious, curious, and loyal to a fault.
This episode begins with a phone call. One of Thomas' older collector/restorer friends, Edna, is quite certain she's killed someone, and would like Thomas's advice. When he arrives at her flat, it's to discover that the dead is not dead after all. Thomas still must go to the hospital however, as Frank the Crank has been beaten up. And the day isn't over yet, because when he arrives back at his own home, it's to discover an in-progress burglary attempt.
But this is no ordinary robber. Young Jitters Levitsky needs money to feed and house himself and his grandfather, and having 'heard' that the Purdue apartment holds treasures, he invades. Clumsily. Thus, Thomas adds another to the company, for young Jitters is that rara avis, a synesthetic. Jitters sees the colors and pictures of the sounds of words and/or music. His name is derived from another condition, however, a tremor in his hands. But Thomas knows just what to do with this young man; take him to Edna, who's had a stroke, leaving her somewhat restricted as a music box repairwoman.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fun mystery Feb. 18 2001
Format:Hardcover
He first heard the name Marcus Wilcox from his friend Edna Reynolds, who thought she killed the odious antique shop owner. By the time Man Med neurologist Dr. Thomas Purdue arrived at Edna's home, Marcus had left. He next hears the name Marcus from his long term buddy Broadway Schwartz that the man's antique shop has a special music box that Thomas being a collector would love to own. Marcus denies having any music box.
Thomas knows something is not right when two thugs beat up his friend Frank the Crank insisting they know he sold the music box. Thomas and Broadway trace the trail of the phantom music box to Lucas Sterne, proprietor of a mid-fifties' music box emporium. Lucas sends the sleuths to New Rochelle to speak with sleazy Barton Ross. The duo returns to Manhattan where they meet Rudolph Hartmann and his apparently schizophrenic wife Lettie, the owners of the rare plerodiwenique-revolver music box. Thomas and Broadway continue searching the metropolitan area, as sightings and denials continue, but no music box is found as a con game may leave the Hartmanns with nothing but his memories.
The third music box mystery, THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, is an entertaining amateur sleuth joy ride around Manhattan. The story line is fun as one thing leads to another, but seemingly never to the music box that is big enough to have required a truck to move it. Thomas remains a caring individual and the eccentric support cast augments the tale with behavioral oddities that makes the hero seem real. Readers will remain bullish on Larry Karp's unique mystery series.

Harriet Klausner
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Midnight Special is quite a ride! May 1 2001
Format:Hardcover
I see that other reviewers have summarized the plot of this latest Thomas Purdue music box mystery, so I won't go over that ground again. I'll just tell you that if you like real mysteries, ones that you can't figure out as you go along, you'll like this book. And if you like wit and intelligence in your mystery novels, you'll like this book. And if you're a student of the human condition, interested in what makes people tick, you'll like this book. In fact, if you've read the previous two books featuring Dr. Purdue, you'll LOVE this book. I especially liked seeing new facets of characters I'd met before. The ending has a twist that had me on the edge of my seat, and now I can't wait for the next one! Do yourself a favor and get this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Witty Wonderful Mystery Jan. 31 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
With lovable, intelligent, interesting and eccentric characters, and the brilliant wit that only author Karp, a master at words, can write, this intriguing mystery dances through the streets of New York against a background of music, murder, and mayhem. Dr. Purdue, his friends, and his ingenious ways of solving the music box murders make Larry Karp's book a gem with a plot that twists and turns to a surprising ending. The book is a winner, a page-turner, and I eagerly await the next Thomas Purdue mystery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the next book. Jan. 7 2003
Format:Hardcover
I feel like I'm an old friend of Thomas Purdue and his friends. In his third mystery novel, Larry once again has provided us with a great who-dun-it, all the while throwing us bits of information about the world of music box collecting and repair.
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