From the author
Dr. Thomas Purdue, neurologist and music box collector-restorer, gets an early-morning wake up call from his music box restorer/friend, Shackie, and learns that Harry Hardwick, the world's most prominent collector of musical antiques, has been murdered.
Shortly thereafter, Thomas gets a second call, this one from his favorite "picker", Broadway Schwartz, who tells him a rare and desirable rigid notation music box is available for purchase at a local antique shop.
Thomas visits the shop, negotiates, haggles, finally buys the music box, then takes it to Shackie's workshop. Shackie insists the instrument is not playing perfectly, and says that as recently as the evening before, he saw Thomas's treasure in the Harry Hardwick collection. He prevails upon Thomas to leave the music box for diagnosis and treatment. But then Shackie is murdered, and the box can not be found.
Fueled by a highly-developed, if idiosyncratic, sense of right and wrong, Thomas sets out to find his music box and expose Shackie's killer. For help he draws on Schwartz's street smarts, the connections of antiques dealer Frank (the Crank) Maar, and the good common sense of his loyal, if exasperated, wife, Sarah. In the course of his investigations, Thomas flies off to visit old friends in the upper- and underworlds of London, inherits a condo, develops a new line of work, stumbles over five more corpses... and ferrets out the murderer.