Peggy Ehrhart is a former college English professor who plays blues guitar and writes mysteries. She has won awards for her fiction and belongs to the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Her first book in the Maxx Maxwell mystery series was "Sweet Man Gone", which I reviewed earlier. This one is the second installment in that series.
Maxx Maxwell's group, Maximum Blues, has produced a CD through an outfit called Prowling Rooster Records. But just as the CD is nearly finished, the producer Rick Schneider (who happens to be Maxx's current love interest), disappears. At first, it looks like he's gotten back together with an old girlfriend, singer-songwriter Brenda Honeycut.
When Maxx searches for the CD in Rick's studio, she finds a framed album cover that has been knocked from the wall possibly in a scuffle, and something that really frightens her: a pool of dried blood. She manages to make it back to her apartment with the framed album cover (and with a rooster in tow that was the namesake for Prowling Rooster records), but the next day she winds up identifying Rick's body at the morgue.
The cops believe Rick was pirating CDs and was murdered in a dispute over territory. Believing that Rick could never do such a thing, Maxx is determined to find out the truth and clear his name by finding his real killer. Her quest leads her to seek out several of Rick's business partners and she uncovers a secret that Rick had kept hidden from her.
She even manages to cross paths again with Sandy, the womanizing guitar player who broke her heart in the first book, who seems intent on winning her back.
I really enjoy this series of books, as books and music are my two main passions in life. Maxx, Ehrhart's main character, is an amateur sleuth with a bluesy wardrobe and a tender but tough attitude. Her eccentric band mates and the descriptions of the musical scenes are entertaining and move the story pleasantly along. Ehrhart manages to keep readers guessing as the pages turn, with suspicion pointing towards several different characters.
This is a fast, easy, and pleasant read. I look forward to reading more tales of Maxx Maxwell from the capable Ms. Ehrhart.