Once upon a time in a Big City on the east coast, there were two men who called themselves the King of Ragtime. As in any campaign, there were bad feelings and accusations; in 1911, Scott Joplin accused Irving Berlin of stealing music from his opera Treemonisha (which Joplin had submitted to Berlin's company for consideration for publication) to write the career-making hit, Alexander's Ragtime Band. Berlin denied it.
In 1916, near the end of his life, Joplin was working on a musical drama, If; nothing is known about the work beyond the title. But what if, I thought, Martin Niederhoffer, Joplin's young piano student, who worked at Berlin's publishing company, persuaded his teacher to try Berlin one more time - and then Berlin insisted he'd never received the manuscript? And then Martin found Joplin standing over a bloody corpse in the office?
Signed, dated copies are available in the shop, along with signed copies of the newly-released trade paperback of The Ragtime Kid. I hope you'll enjoy them.