Product Description

Solo Act
An Elder Darrow Mystery (Book Two)
by Richard J. Cass
Pub Date: 9/20/17
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-893035-84-3
$16.99 Paperback

An alcoholic walks into a bar . . . and buys it. In this amateur sleuth mystery, Elder Darrow uses the last of the money from the trust fund his mother left him to buy the Esposito, a bucket-of-blood bar in Boston, hoping to turn it into a jazz nightspot. Though he knows that working in a bar is going to test his sobriety, he’s relying on the support of his ex-lover, a jazz singer named Alison Somers. The two of them split when Alison moved to New York to further her career but before she left, the two of them made a pact: he’ll stay off the booze if she keeps taking her antidepressants, which keep her from another suicide attempt. Then one day Elder hears that Alison has killed herself by diving out her apartment window. With his sobriety threatened, he follows an instinct that says she wouldn’t have quit taking her meds, or killed herself, without talking to him first. Along the way, Elder encounters a beautiful collector of jazz memorabilia, a Native American gangster with aspirations to management, and a bomb-throwing piano player, as well as the usual stresses and strains of running a bar. But with the reluctant help of his friend Dan Burton, a homicide cop, Elder investigates and exposes the conspiracy of local thugs, corrupt physicians, and shipments of pharmaceuticals of questionable quality, proving that Alison was murdered and who was responsible.


I was delighted to find Solo Act’s Darrow to be every bit as tender and engaging as Robert B. Parker’s Spenser. Oh, yes, he’s been around the block and has his demons, alcohol being the most fierce, but Elder Darrow, Richard Cass’s rough-around-the-edges bar owner/amateur detective, is also sensitive and articulate. Though I admire the plot line, the gritty texture and the well-developed secondary characters, it is Elder who made this debut a page-turner for me. This is fast pacing in the best sense. By the middle of the second page, the reader has a clear vision of place, a great intro to Darrow and Burton, his complicated cop sidekick. Also evident early on and woven throughout the fabric of the novel is Darrow’s love and deep knowledge of Jazz. There is craft here too, beautiful sentences and carefully chosen details. Darrow’s bar, the Esposito – named perhaps for Phil Esposito, the great Bruin center –is on Mercy St. Though not everyone in the novel receives mercy, Cass imbues his characters with humanity. Even the creepy Dr. desRosiers, one of the colorful villains in the novel, “thought he was doing the right thing.” Solo Act is a fine introduction to the Elder Darrow Mystery Series. I eagerly await the second installment.” —Jeri Theriault author of The Museum of Surrender

“Atmospheric and dark, In Solo Time rivets you with live jazz, memorable characters, and a series of murders that point to Big Politics played by the best—Boston’s cut-throat wealthy. This killer of a reading ride will entertain and haunt you.”  — Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Assassins and The Book of Spies

“Richard Cass writes the kind of mysteries I first fell in love with—clever, twisty, and brimming with characters as colorful as they are well-drawn. In Solo Time is as inviting as a heavy pour of single malt, and twice as dangerous. So long as Elder Darrow is slinging drinks at the Esposito, he can count me a regular.” — Chris Holm, Anthony Award-winning author of The Killing Kind

“Cass’s version of noir Boston is dark and beautiful as a back alley after a morning rain. In Solo Time offers another few hours inside the head of Elder Darrow, who may be one of the most interesting bar owners you’ll have the pleasure of meeting. — Gerry Boyle, author of the Jack Mcmorrow and Brandon Blake mysteries