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Desert Blues

When a car accident makes sixteen-year-old rock and roll freak Harold an orphan and sends him to live with his Aunt Enid in the Californian desert, he and she both find they have to make adjustments to their lives.


Part 1 of the Palm Springs Opera trilogy including










A first novel of great promise. 


Of the story of fat Harold and his aunt Enid, Bill Albert makes a beguiling human drama. Witty and sad, raucous and delicate, Desert Blues is a first novel of great promise. 


Rose Tremain




A wise and very funny book.


What a joyous story. A dark comedy that is a must for every R&B lover and for anybody who doesn't believe an old man dying can be as uproariously funny as it is painful. To begin with, I was slightly disconcerted by the way that the comedy starts with a tragedy. Also, I was distracted by my personal passions and spent too much time name-checking the bluesmen cited in the story to pay much attention to what was going on. But I was soon charmed by the characters and loved the increasingly closely plotted farce. By the end, smiles turned to laughing out loud, notably when the principal character, an overweight adolescent urbanite, realized with absolute horror that he was going to have to ride a horse. The author has a lovely take on teenage angst and the excruciating embarrassments of growing up, but he never loses sight of the humanity of his characters, and always treats them with generosity and compassion. A wise and very funny book. Don't dither. Buy it now and get the sequels (Desert Swing and Desert Requiem) while you're at it. I guarantee that you'll want to spend more time with these people.


C. G. R. Davis



A totally amazing read!


A truly heartwarming story set in 1950's Palm Springs USA, encompassing loss, adjustment, adolescence, new friendship experiences & dynamics, affairs of convenience as well as new family bonds & old disputes. The story conjured all manner of emotions within me from sadness, joy, tears of laughter, empathy & a familiarity to people & events that can happen in everyday life. There is an amazing sound track throughout combining young Harold Abelstein's love of old school R&B along with his new found dislike (& sometimes a reluctant likening) to Cowboy Country music. As a result I have been inspired to seek out some of the music that I wasn't familiar with.As the story began to unfold I felt compelled to read more & as a result it cost me many late nights! It was like the characters had become old friends to me & once I had finished reading the book I immediately set about obtaining Desert Swing and Desert Requiem. I am half way through Desert Swing & the story picks up exactly where Desert Blues ends & the brilliance & magic continues. For me these books are up there with the best & would heartily recommend you buy these wonderful stories. As Charles Davis said in an earlier review "I guarantee that you'll want to spend more time with these people".


AM Quinn

The Permanent Press


ISBN: 1877946494 (Hardback)
ISBN: 1877946656 (Paper)


Eichborn Verlag


ISBN 3-8218-0389-7 (Hardback) 


Piper Verlag


ISBN 3-492-22456-3(Paper)

[Desert Blues was produced as a radio play by Sudwestrundfunk 23/11/98]


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