Saturday, October 15, 2011

Orchestrated Murder by Rick Blechta

Published by Raven Books: Rapid ReadsLink
A most unusual way to begin an investigation into a murder--the entire orchestra has claimed they are guilty! Someone has murdered the conductor, Luigi Spandafini, but which one of the orchestra is the murderer, and who is being protected by everyone else? Detective Lieutenant Pratt has been assigned to the case, and his partner in this is a rookie, Ellis. It just happens that Pratt is familiar with the orchestra as a patron. Luigi has been strangled, and though Pratt knows symphonies, it is the newcomer Ellis who can identify the "weapon". He has been strangled with a cello string, both ends of the string tied with timpani mallets which makes for a better grip for tightening the string without injury.

This was an entertaining book and a quick read. Smoothly written and easy to follow, but still with a satisfying mystery. Spandafini was not a well-liked person overall, though a brilliant conductor. He was also well-known for chasing skirts and attacking the orchestra members. Apparently the members of the orchestra held him to blame indirectly for the deaths of two members. Curiously, the timpani player and the cellist were the victims.

Rick Blechta has done an excellent job of creating a fascinating closed-room murder mystery packed into a short book, maintaining the feel and allure of the murder mystery genre. Just right for the commuter or someone with a busy schedule. There are the usual twists and turns, misdirection, and of course what is probably the largest group of suspects all in one place. I really enjoyed it and read it in one go.

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