"Engrossing" Elvis mystery

Book review: Blue Suede Clues (A Murder Mystery Featuring Elvis Presley), Daniel Klein St. Martin's Minotaur, USA, 2002, ISBN: 0-312-98195-3

Daniel Klein's follow up to Kill Me Tender is an involving, fast paced murder mystery full of intrique, laughs and suspects!

Did Elvis Kill His Disgruntled French Ex-Mistress?

Without revealing too much of the storyline, Blue Suede Clues starts out in 1963 after the filming of Kissin' Cousins. Elvis comes to the aid of an old Army buddy wrongly jailed for the murder of a Hollywood starlet. But the plot really thickens when Elvis himself is accused of murder!

Filled with familiar characters like Priscilla, Joe, Ann-Margret, and the Colonel, the narrative builds suspense and is an interesting meshing of fact and fiction as it weaves parts of the Elvis story into the plot.

There is also a nice plot device twisting part of the Elvis story into the darker side of the narrative. Klein asks big questions throughout his nicely blended text, raising our interest on questions like: is there really any such thing as an accident or is there always a human motive involved in all incidents?

Daniel Klein has an easy-going writing style that allows the reader to move through the story effortlessly. He punctuates his narrative with colourful and engaging incidents:

"Elvis craned his head down to try to see who it was, but suddenly he was swinging so wildly and twirling so fast that his hands were no help in preventing him from colliding with the wall. First his right shoulder hit, then, careening back, his buttocks took a smack from the opposite wall, and spinning back again, his left hand scraped against a wood strut, grazing the skin on his knuckles. Along the way, the blond wig tumbled off his head and fell to the ground. In his gut Elvis's anger was fighting with his fear, and his anger was winning hands down."

There are nice doses of humour in the story as shown by the following two excerpts:

"Elvis smiled. He didn't know whether or not Regis had been tanked at the trial, but right there he certainly sounded a whole lot more intelligent than anybody else did.

"We'll have to continue this seminar some other time, Elvis," he said. "Unless you feel like having me for a bedmate."

"You're not my type, Regis," Elvis said, grinning.

Klein resolves his mystery tale with a clever denouement, once again intertwining fiction with fact.

Verdict: Blue Suede Clues is an engrossing, well-crafted mystery novel. I for one can't wait for the third installment in this series.

Availability: Now available in good book stores in the US and online from amazon.com, bn.com and bamm.com.

Contacting the Author: Daniel Klein is contactable online at www.elvisdetective.com.

On his site there is also a competition where Daniel wants your help in determining the title of the next instalment in the Elvis Presley super sleuth series. Apart from his two Elvis mystery novelse has also written Where's Elvis (with Hans Teesma), Beauty Sleep, Embryo, Wavelengths and Magic Time.

Reviewed by Nigel Patterson, President, Elvis Information Network, March 2002

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