In Solo Time

An alcoholic walks into a bar . . . and buys it. At the urging of his sometimes lover and sometimes drinking partner Jacquie Robillard, 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 that he plans to turn into a jazz nightclub. But before he can turn the place around, the body of Timmy McGuire, a jazz guitar player, shows up on the small stage at the Esposito, stabbed to death.


Dan Burton, a Boston Homicide detective, likes Jacquie for the murder. She had a contentious relationship with the guitar player (and a few other men along the
way). But one of the other men Jacquie is involved with is the son of an old-line Boston landlord with political designs on the commonwealth’s governorship. Burton arrests Jacquie for Timmy McGuire’s murder but Elder is certain something darker and deeper than a lover’s quarrel is at stake.

Jacquie is released on bail. When she shows up dead, Elder is drawn into a conspiracy going back to Timmy’s childhood, an arson in the three-decker in Mattapan where he grew up, and the unraveling of a political conspiracy. Elder’s need to solve Timmy’s murder peaks when his jazz singer lady friend, Alison Somers, is kidnapped by the perpetrators. In the end, he has to solve the mystery and rescue Alison without the help of the police or anyone else.

Based on 19 Reviews
Prue C.
April 23, 2021

Great Boston mystery

Great mystery set in Boston.

Heather E. Ames
January 31, 2021


I actually thought I had posted a review for this book, which I really enjoyed, although I got somewhat lost in a couple of places. The writer knows his bars and their inhabitants.

Dana Buske
January 20, 2021

shipped promptly, as described

shipped promptly, as described

Constant Reader
November 20, 2020

Well written, somewhat dark noir set in Boston

I recommend this nuanced Boston noir novel, fifth in a series. Elder Darrow is a jazz loving alcoholic struggling with his addiction and trying to resurrect a seedy bar. The book is well written, with a good plot, believable characters and snappy dialog. To me the Boston setting rang true. I will definitely keep reading the series.

Sharon Pinkston
August 11, 2019

A perfect vacation read!

I read this during my two week stay in Maine and couldn’t put it down. The mystery and the jazz background appealed to me, as well as the Boston setting. I almost felt as if I was sitting in the cool dark Esposito Club enjoying a drink and listening to some of my jazz favorites.

November 27, 2017

Jazz & a Murder, Can't Ask for More!

An intriguing murder mystery set in a jazz bar in Boston. Characters are believable and realistic. There is a grittiness to the story telling which suits the story’s environs. The premise that the main character is neither a cop nor a private investigator makes for a nice change of pace. Strongly recommend this book for all mystery lovers. The author does know his jazz! I picked up a few ideas for albums to look for. Look forward to more books in this series from the author and I plan on starting the next one, Solo Act, shortly.

Lawrence Cappiello
November 21, 2017

A Very Cool Mystery Read

Noir with some dark humor….plot twists kept me interested…unique characters in a not so run of the mill series of events. Just when you think you know where things are going, something surprising happens and the story turns in a new direction. Spare style, but Richard Cass has created credible characters in a believable place—-the Esposito Bar, which becomes the center of all developments and in a way is the raison d’etre for everyone coming together.

Oregon School Psych
November 15, 2017

A winner!

Nice tight story. Love the jazz references. I’m becoming very fond of Elder Darrow. This book is a winner!

November 3, 2017

Great Murder Mystery

Good story and kept me going until the end. For readers of Solo Act, learn the background of the characters and more about the Esposito.

Janet J. Stebbins
October 17, 2017


A must-read for all lovers of murder mystery and all things Boston.

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