Start with the writing: smooth, literate, and assured. Characters? Real as can be. Plotting? Way above the usual. The Prince (Harold Prince is his name) is a black jazzman, murdered, it seems, by an arranger who worked for him. Open and shut. But (you guessed it) there's a lot more too it than that. When he's arrested, the arranger has documents that seem to prove he wrote all the songs credited to Prince. The fiance of Prince's daughter, a doctor, hires Wilde to look into things. Complications ensue.
This book was published 59 years ago this April. Spicer's take on race is considerably ahead of its time, as you'll discover. It took a while for other mystery writers to catch up with him. And Spicer knows his music. If you like jazz, you should like this book.
Carney Wilde is unlike a lot of fictional private-eyes in that he starts out as a one-man operation and eventually starts making money. By the end of the series, he's got a fairly sizeable agency. His love life advances, too, believe it or not. He even gets married.
Spicer went on to write big standalone novels, but the books in the Carney Wilde series remain my favorites among his works. If you haven't read them, you've missed something.