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Cahokia Jazz

Francis Spufford

A thrilling tale of murder and mystery in a city where history has run a little differently — from the best-selling author of Golden Hill.

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A thrilling tale of murder and mystery in a city where history has run a little differently — from the best-selling author of Golden Hill.

‘Utterly immersive.’ Spectator
‘Thrilling.’ Financial Times
‘Unlike anything else you will read this year.’ Daily Express
‘A classic of alternative history.’ Observer
‘A delight.’ Sunday Telegraph

It’s 1922 and Americans are drinking in speakeasies, dancing to jazz, stepping quickly to the tempo of modern times. In the ancient city of Cahokia – a teeming industrial metropolis, a tinderbox of every race and creed – peace holds. Just about.

But on a snowy night at the end of winter, two roughshod detectives are called to the roof of a skyscraper. Their investigation will spill the city’s secrets and bring it, against a soundtrack of wailing clarinets, either to destruction or rebirth.

What readers are saying:

***** ‘A marvellous, atmospheric, beautifully written and gripping read that dares to hope, amidst a background of bleak darkness and the pulsing joy of jazz, that I recommend highly.’

***** ‘Original, imaginative, thought provoking, engrossing, engaging and beautifully written with characters who are credible and engaging. What more is there to ask for from a master at the top of his game. I enjoyed this as much as Golden Hill, which is praise indeed.’

***** ‘The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is an obvious point of comparison; I also got echoes of James Ellroy, though with more light in the darkness, or maybe just a greater readiness to forgive humanity’s failings. There’s perhaps a dash of Earthly Powers too, and at least one nod to The Leopard; exalted company, to be sure, but Cahokia Jazz can hold its head high among them.’

Critic Reviews

Very cool . . . Jazz babies, bootleg gin . . . torn-out hearts. It’s a hot one.

Stephen King

Francis Spufford is the author of five highly-praised works of non-fiction, most frequently described by reviewers as either ‘bizarre’ or ‘brilliant’, and usually as both. His debut novel Golden Hill won the Costa First Novel Award, the RSL Ondaatje Prize, the Desmond Elliott Prize, and was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, the Rathbones Folio Prize, the…

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