Perseverance Press 

On the Eve of War, Murder Rides the Rails

“. . . Glatzer’s atmospherics effectively evoke the swing era. . . .
a lively jitterbug down memory lane.” —Kirkus Reviews

In 1940, Musician Katy Green gets what ought to be a dream gig, playing with the Ultra Belles—an all-girl swing band. They’ll travel by Pullman on the luxurious Starlight, Zephyr, etc, from L.A. to Santa Cruz, Oakland, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and back to San Francisco. So what if the songwriter who formed the band is her ex-boyfriend, a notorious Casanova? And so what if half the women are mad at the other half over their politics, their musicianship, or their sexuality? That’s not the worst of it—Katy discovers that somebody’s out for blood.

Katy Green is a grown-up, sophisticated sleuth in the tradition of amateur girl detectives—plucky, clever, and poised. But she moves in the realistic milieu of professional musicians, complete with the bawdiness, extramarital trysts, and substance overindulgence (but no foul language!) typical of the times. A naive but confident U. S. was on the verge of war.

Unlike most mysteries, Too Dead To Swing appeared first as an award-winning audiotape with a Broadway cast. Glatzer produced it, as well as writing the songs and story. Critics compared it to a BBC radio play and film noir. This first book publication contains illustrations from vintage postcards, a cast of characters, a diagram of the fatal Pullman car, and a map on the back, thus having added value to the audio version.

Hal Glatzer is a director of the Art Deco Society, as well as a musician playing swing guitar. He lives with his wife in a 1919-era townhouse in San Francisco’s Panhandle area of Golden Gate Park. He has a collection of Tin Pan Alley sheet music, antique postcards, magazines, pulp fiction, and girl-sleuth books. He combined these interests to create Too Dead To Swing—a whole world infused with the art, music, architecture, technology, and life of the 1930s and ‘40s. He says, “You can be nostalgic for an era you didn’t know firsthand.” Glatzer can be visited at

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Too Dead to Swing
A Katy Green Mystery
Hal Glatzer

ISBN 1-880284-53-7, paperback, $13.95

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