Books: Riffs On Violence

TITLE: JAZZ

AUTHOR: TONI MORRISON

PUBLISHER: KNOPF; 229 PAGES; $21

THE BOTTOM LINE: Enchanting voices surround but do not solve a mystery.

THIS NOVEL, TONI MORRISON'S sixth, takes only its first five sentences to disclose the central plot. Within a few more pages, most of the details have been provided. The setting is Harlem, the year 1926. Joe Trace, 50, shoots and kills Dorcas Manfred, the teenage girl with whom he has been having a clandestine affair. When Joe's wife Violet, also 50, hears what has happened, she goes to Dorcas' funeral and takes a butcher knife to the dead girl's...

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