Mary L. (Madison, MS)
I received this book with much excitement. However, I struggled to read it. The plot was slow to develop. The book was written in the manner of speaking of Victorian England. It also had many references to opera and music that although I am fairly versed in this subject, I still had to look up the references. Once the plot finally gelled, I began to enjoy the book. (I read the ARC. I expect a good editor will tighten the plot). However, I was able to anticipate the plot twist. This book is a fair first attempt at a mystery. Any opera lover would enjoy this book just to gain a feel of English opera in Victorian England. up the references. Once the plot finally gelled, I began to enjoy the book.
Jane C. (Brighton, MI)
Charles Jessold Considered as a Murderer
Unique combination of music and literature, with a little murder thrown in. All of the pieces are blended well. Interesting character development as people moved in and out of the scenes. Written from the perspective of a man who know Charles Jessold, warts and all.
Jean T. (Paducah, KY)
A Mystery Maestro
My first thought as I began reading "Charles Jessold" was “this is delicious!” which seemed a bit incongruous for a musical novel, but I was “hungry for more!” As I continued through the intricate twists and turns that comprise the narrator’s tale of murder set against a background of love won and lost, psychological intrigue, musical history, and war, I generally found Mr. Stace’s prose to be amusing, clever, engaging, and far from the run of the mill approach to unwinding a mystery. In this way I truly enjoyed this book. My only two quibbles with the novel were that there was a section about half to two- thirds into it where it began to get a bit tedious and I was feeling myself wanting to jump ahead, but then I was back following intensely for the last several chapters; and the other quibble was at times I found the musical references a bit too erudite and I was wishing my musical knowledge was a bit more “up to snuff”. Overall I enjoyed the book a great deal and I would definitely recommend it to other mystery lovers.
Deanna W. (Port Jefferson, NY)
Atonal Music - Atonal Plot
The story is set in the early 20th century. It deals with English Classical music set against a macabre and tragic tale of love and passion. As told by a first person narrator, the plot takes many twists and turns. However, the revelation of what really happened in the end was not that hard to predict.
Diana C. (Delray Beach, FL)
A Lyrical Murder Mystery
Written in the nuanced language of early 20th century England, this is the engaging story of fictional composer Charles Jessold's life, as well as the life of his friend, music critic, and the story's narrator, Leslie Shepherd. The underlying murder mystery and descriptive passages of life during pre and post World War One Europe, pulls this novel out of the depths of the author's professorial dissertation on 19th and 20th century operettas and traditional folk music. Concentration is the key, and for that you will be richly rewarded.