Because I love music, a lot of musicians end up in my novels. In MARIACHI MURDER, Andy Veracruz is a band leader in Southern California… until he really gets into trouble!

The town of Nice, France, offers countless attractions. To me the biggest one is always the huge ocean front on the edge of town. There are a few hundred places where you can swim right within the town limits! I can’t help but to love a town where you can swim so peacefully with such little effort.

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But on the eve of summer, the city offered a special soul. Bands played all over the city to help celebrate the change of season. Our hostel owner had tipped us off that there would be lots of live music to enjoy, so we were prepared to look around.

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This we did not have to try hard to do. Not fifty meters from where we’d had a lovely mussel dinner, we came across our first group, a kind of rock band, that was playing to a huge crowd. We couldn’t even get around to the front of the band so instead we went around to the back. This was even better; we could watch the band and the people at the same time!

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I enjoyed one couple in particular. They danced and sang and laughed and kissed one another. They knew the words to most of the songs. They seemed to be reliving their youth while the rock band played 80s tunes. I imagined the man and woman were on a romantic second or third honeymoon. They were having so much fun and they looked so much in love that I could only envy them.

Long after my girlfriend went back to the hotel, I stood watching the band. I enjoyed the various kids that were jumping around and dancing—there was even a lady who was dancing with her dog! (She seemed to enjoy this much more than the dog did.)

Luckily, I finally did move on. I found the most wonderful group playing at the Irish Pub. They called themselves “Le band du soul,” and they too played older music that I was familiar with. They had the crowd completely happy with “Celebration.” There were so many fans I couldn’t get close to the musicians. The six-member group had two vocalists, several guitarists, and a drummer. The lead singer had a kind and expressive face; watching him sing was pleasure enough because he was trying so diligently to please the crowd.

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Then The Soul Band played one of my own favorites, “Sweet Surrender.” For me this was the song that encapsulated the whole night and the whole experience. Who wouldn’t want to surrender to summer while in Nice on holiday? Who wouldn’t want to think that life was full of beautiful possibilities and romantic evenings?

Thanks, Nice Ville, for providing a wonderful, memorable experience.


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