"Brun Campbell Live"
First as The Ragtime Kid, then as The Ragtime Fool, Brun Campbell, Scott Joplin's one-time piano student, was the protagonist in two books of my ragtime historical-mystery trilogy.
When I finished writing that project, I felt depressed. After six years of engaging and enjoyable research and writing, I was going to miss my daily visits with Brun and his ragtime pals. But I knew the tripartite story was over, and it was time to move along. I started work on A Perilous Conception, a medical mystery.
For the next year and a half, I wondered how I might get back to ragtime, but every bright notion faded as quickly as it popped into my mind. Sometimes, though, you get lucky. An antiques dealer emailed to tell me he'd cleaned out the house of a reclusive elderly woman in Venice, California...whose father happened to have been Brun Campbell. When the dealer googled Brun's name, up popped my books. The dealer asked if I would be interested in acquiring three cartons of Brun's "stuff."
Would I! Not a week later, three cartons arrived at my door. The "stuff" in them went far beyond anything I might have wished or hoped for. Unpublished manuscripts detailing Brun's life as an itinerant pianist in the midwest and San Francisco a century earlier. Seventy year old unpublished musical compositions. 78 rpm records The Kid had cut during the 1940s. Photographs. Business records. Correspondence with many notable people of the time, including Scott Joplin's widow, Lottie; W.C. Handy, "The Father of the Blues;" and ragtime/jazz historian, Roy Carew. Everything jumbled together in those three cardboard cartons.
I needed several months to organize the material, and as I worked, I became more and more convinced that Brun Campbell deserved a re-evaluation. No one else has left us a written account of life as a ragtime pianist in low and rough places during the early years of the twentieth century. And then, forty years later, Brun was one of the first and most energetic ragtime revivalists, spearheading the drive to bring Scott Joplin's music back to life.
Brun was a classic storyteller, a man who could not relate a perfectly straight account of an event if his life depended on it. I'm still working on a title for this book, but something like Brun Campbell's Ragtime Lives: Stories of the Original Ragtime Kid would not be inappropriate. It's a great tale, and I'll try my best to do it justice. I hope to have it on bookshelves in stores and libraries in 2015, and hope you'll enjoy reading it.
The Latest From Larry:
"Seymour's First Clarinet Concerto"
After eight mystery novels and three nonfiction books, all for adult readers, Larry has come out with Seymour's First Clarinet Concerto, his first work for kids, charmingly illustrated by Vic Hugo.
Young Steve Bancroft gets help from an unlikely source – his Siamese cat, Seymour – to write a wonderful piece of music for the clarinet. But then, things get complicated. It seems that the only way for Steve to avoid being exposed as a cheater would be for him to break a very serious promise. How is he going to find a way out of this mess?
"Larry Karp displays his talent and versatility in this superb addition to children's literature. Vic Hugo's whimsical illustrations charmingly capture the essence of a story well told."
"A charming story with imaginative twists."
"This instantly became our four-year-old boy's favorite book."
Available in paperback
1976. Despite fierce controversy over the
propriety of in vitro fertilization, Dr. Colin
Sanford, a brilliant, ambitious obstetrician in
Emerald, Washington works secretly to put his name
into medical history. But Sanford's endeavors
lead to murder. Detective Bernie Baumgartner's
investigation is hampered by pressure from
influential people, and a double cat-and-mouse game
develops between doctor and detective.
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Larry Karp's Blog
Given the amount of time and energy blogging took from Larry's writing
schedule, posts at his blog
will be irregular and infrequent. But his thoughts, ideas, opinions, and
the occasional fact about mysteries, ragtime, music boxes, and other stuff
still appear, if not frequently, at least regularly, on the
Poisoned Pen Press blog.
Check the posts out on the 13th day of odd-numbered months.
Larry Karp grew up in Paterson, New Jersey, reading
novels during math class, and spending much of his
free time pounding away at an old Royal manual. Those
early novels never quite worked out, but at the
age of eight, Larry did get into print via a
self-written, self-published, self-distributed
four-page neighborhood newspaper which featured a
serialized detective story, "Richard Richard, Private
Read more about Larry Karp and his books here.