Cover image for Tishomingo blues
Tishomingo blues
Leonard, Elmore, 1925-2013.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Prince Frederick, MD : Recorded Books, LLC, [2002]

Physical Description:
6 audio discs (8 hrs.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact disc.

Format :
Audiobook on CD


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X Adult Audiobook on CD Audiobooks

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When daredevil Dennis Lenahan brings his motorcycle high dive act to the Tishomingo Lodge & Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, he witnesses a mob hit while atop his diving platform and becomes mixed up with murder, mayhem, wild women, and a pack of southern-fried hoods.

Author Notes

Elmore John Leonard, Jr. 10/11/25 -- 8/20/13 Elmore John Leonard, Jr., popularly known as mystery and western writer Elmore Leonard, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on October 11, 1925. He served in the United States Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946. He received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Detroit in 1950. After graduating, he wrote short stories and western novels as well as advertising and education film scripts. In 1967, he began to write full-time and received several awards including the 1977 Western Writers of America award and the 1984 Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe award. His other works include Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Hombre, Mr. Majestyk, 3:10 to Yuma, and Rum Punch. Many of his works were adapted into movies.

Library of America recently announced plans to publish the first of a three-volume collection of his books beginning in the Fall of 2014. Leonard died on August 20, 2013 from complications of a stroke he had earlier. He was 87 years old.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Leonard remains the only A-list crime fiction writer who doesn't rely on a series hero. Not that his people don't have plenty in common: expert at thinking on their feet, not above bending the law, hard-boiled with a touch of romance, and always possessing a quirky interest in the minutiae of daily life. Where they differ is in what they do: bail bondsmen, bookies, fallen priests, and now, a high diver surrounded by a gaggle of Civil War reenactors. Dennis Lenahan, the high diver, travels from gig to gig with an 80-foot ladder and a 22-foot-wide tank, which, he tells female fans, looks like a 50-cent piece from the top of the ladder. His latest gig is at the Tishomingo Lodge and Casino in Tunica, Mississippi. Everything is going swimmingly until Dennis witnesses a murder 80 feet underneath him. Silence seems the best policy, but it turns out quite a few people saw Dennis up on his ladder, including a smooth-talking black man from Detroit called Robert, who finagles Dennis into participating in an upcoming reenactment of the Battle of Brice's Cross Roads. That's only the tip of the iceberg, of course, but the elaborate action is really only an excuse to let another group of wonderfully eccentric people bang into each other. What's most impressive this timethe fast-talking characters--is Leonard's ability to get inside a world, respecting the details yet always sensitive to the comic possibilities. There are other crime novels involving Civil War reenactors (Peter Abrahams' Last of the Dixie Heroes [BKL My 15 01], for example), but no one but Leonard would think of throwing a casino and a high diver into the mix. Pure entertainment. --Bill Ott

Publisher's Weekly Review

On the advance reading copy of this novel sent to PW, the title appears in blue letters half an inch high. Leonard's name floats above the title in red letters a full inch high. A Leonard novel is an event, and for good reason. Over the past 40 years, this writer has evolved into the undisputed champ of the American crime novel, and he hasn't lost a step. His new (and 37th) novel is one of his smoothest, a return to the South of Out of Sight (1996) and numerous earlier Leonards though this is the author's first foray into deep country Mississippi, birthplace of the blues. Men and women who scrape at the margins of the American dream are Leonard's forte, and here he presents several such folk, all memorable, beginning with his hero, Dennis Lenahan, a high diver who contracts for a gig to perform at the Tishomingo Lodge and Casino. While setting up his rig, Dennis witnesses a murder by local members of the Dixie Mafia. So, perhaps, does a mysterious, very slick black guy, Robert Johnson, down from the North in his Jag to run a con on a local powerbroker or so it seems. But Robert, who befriends Dennis, and the Detroit mobster and moll who join him at the Lodge and Casino, have other, more complicated, more ambitious plans, for Tishomingo, for the Dixie Mafia and for Dennis, plans that come to a head during the Civil War battle re-enactment that provides the unusual and fascinating backdrop for the book's second half. As usual, Leonard's characters walk onto the page as real as sunlight and shadow; the dialogue is dead-on, the loopy story line strewn with the unexpected, including sudden flourishes of romance and death. Prime Leonard, prime reading. (Feb. 1)Forecast: Backed by a $250,000 marketing campaign and Leonard's ever-soaring rep, this title, his first with Morrow, could be his biggest seller yet, buoyed by a seven-city author tour and simultaneous HarperAudio (abridged and unabridged cassette) and HarperLargePrint editions.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Exhibition high diver Dennis Lenahan arrives in Tunica, MS, the "Casino Capital of the South," hoping to work a few weeks away from the noise and crowds of the amusement-park circuit. While he is checking his rigging the first night, he witnesses a murder and he believes that the killers have seen him. The same night, Dennis meets Robert Taylor, and enigmatic, streetwise African American from Detroit who talks of mysterious "business opportunities" in Tunica. Dennis is attracted by Robert's easy charm and lets Robert convince him to participate in a Civil War battle reenactment. The Rebels include the murderers and their drug-dealing cronies, the Yanks include some business associates of Robert who intend to muscle in on the local drug trade, and both sides may be carrying real ammunition. In Leonard's 37th novel, the characters pop off the page, the dialog sizzles, and the plot keeps the reader guessing until the very end. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/01.] Karen Anderson, Quarles & Brady/Streich Lang, Phoenix, AZ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Tishomingo Blues Chapter One Dennis Lenahan the high diver would tell people that if you put a fifty-cent piece on the floor and looked down at it, that's what the tank looked like from the top of that eighty-foot steel ladder. The tank itself was twenty-two feet across and the water in it never more than nine feet deep. Dennis said from that high up you want to come out of your dive to enter the water feet first, your hands at the last moment protecting your privates and your butt squeezed tight, or it was like getting a 40,000-gallon enema. When he told this to girls who hung out at amusement parks they'd put a cute look of pain on their faces and say what he did was awesome. But wasn't it like really dangerous? Dennis would tell them you could break your back if you didn't kill yourself, but the rush you got was worth it. These summertime girls loved daredevils, even ones twice their age. It kept Dennis going off that perch eighty feet in the air and going out for beers after to tell stories. Once in a while he'd fall in love for the summer, or part of it. The past few years Dennis had been putting on one-man shows during the week. Then for Saturday and Sunday he'd bring in a couple of young divers when he could to join him in a repertoire of comedy dives they called "dillies," the three of them acting nutty as they went off from different levels and hit the water at the same time. It meant dirt-cheap motel rooms during the summer and sleeping in the setup truck between gigs, a way of life Dennis the high diver had to accept if he wanted to perform. What he couldn't take anymore, finally, were the amusement parks, the tiresome pizzazz, the smells, the colored lights, rides going round and round to that calliope sound forever. What he did as a plan of escape was call resort hotels in South Florida and tell whoever would listen he was Dennis Lenahan, a professional exhibition diver who had performed in major diving shows all over the world, including the cliffs of Acapulco. What he proposed, he'd dive into their swimming pool from the top of the hotel or off his eighty-foot ladder twice a day as a special attraction. They'd say, "Leave your number," and never call back. They'd say, "Yeah, right," and hang up. One of them told him , "The pool's only five feet deep," and Dennis said no problem, he knew a guy in New Orleans went off from twenty-nine feet into twelve inches of water. A pool five feet deep? Dennis was sure they could work something out. No they couldn't. He happened to see a brochure that advertised Tunica, Mississippi, as "The Casino Capital of the South" with photos of the hotels located along the Mississippi River. One of them caught his eye, the Tishomingo Lodge & Casino. Dennis recognized the manager's name, Billy Darwin, and made the call. "Mr. Darwin, this is Dennis Lenahan, world champion high diver. We met one time in Atlantic City." Billy Darwin said, "We did?" "I remember I thought at first you were Robert Redford, only you're a lot younger. You were running the sports book at Spade's." Dennis waited. When there was no response he said, "How high is your hotel?" This Billy Darwin was quick. He said, "You want to dive off the roof?" "Into your swimming pool," Dennis said, "twice a day as a special attraction." "We go up seven floors." "That sounds just right." "But the pool's about a hundred feet away. You'd have to take a good running start, wouldn't you?" Right there, Dennis knew he could work something out with this Billy Darwin. "I could set my tank right next to the hotel, dive from the roof into nine feet of water. Do a matinee performance and one at night with spotlights on me, seven days a week." "How much you want?" Dennis spoke right up, talking to a man who dealt with high rollers. "Five hundred a day." "How long a run?" "The rest of the season. Say eight weeks." "You're worth twenty-eight grand?" That quick, off the top of his head. "I have setup expenses--hire a rigger and put in a system to filter the water in the tank. It stands more than a few days it gets scummy." "You don't perform all year?" "If I can work six months I'm doing good." "Then what?" "I've been a ski instructor, a bartender..." Billy Darwin's quiet voice asked him, "Where are you?" In a room at the Fiesta Motel, Panama City, Florida, Dennis told him, performing every evening at the Miracle Strip amusement park. "My contract'll keep me here till the end of the month," Dennis said, "but that's it. I've reached the point... Actually I don't think I can do another amusement park all summer." There was a silence on the line, Billy Darwin maybe wondering why but not curious enough to ask. "Mr. Darwin?" He said, "Can you get away before you finish up there?" "If I can get back the same night, before showtime." Something the man would like to hear. He said, "Fly into Memphis. Take 61 due south and in thirty minutes you're in Tunica, Mississippi." Dennis said, "Is it a nice town?" But got no answer. The man had hung up. This trip Dennis never did see Tunica or even the Mighty Mississippi. He came south through farmland until he began to spot hotels in the distance rising out of fields of soybeans. He came to signs at crossroads pointing off to Harrah's, Bally's, Sam's Town, the Isle of Capri. A... Tishomingo Blues . Copyright © by Elmore Leonard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Tishomingo Blues by Elmore Leonard All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.