Two maestros, one dead and one about to be.
It’s been a year since flashy, unconventional violinist BTower was sentenced to death for the murder of beloved, classically oriented Rene Allard, his sometime mentor. Now BTower’s attorney, who has only one week to win a stay of execution, appeals to blind musical savant Daniel Jacobus (Devil’s Trill, 2009), who offered damning testimony at the trial. Can Jacobus find the murder weapon and uncover another suspect? Perhaps. With the help of his pal Nathaniel Williams, an insurance consultant specializing in stolen instruments, Jacobus returns to New York’s Bonderman Building, the scene of the crime, and discovers that Ziggy, the elevator operator, has retired to Utah; an Allard maid had been fired for stealing a valuable musical score; Allard’s accompanist has had difficulty finding work; and there’s apparently been a thriving business in smuggled violins. Off Jacobus goes to Utah to attend a recital of his former student Yumi Shinagawa and question Ziggy. It’s not a great trip: An attempt is made on his life, and Ziggy commits suicide. Back in New York, secrets about BTower’s parentage come to light, along with unpleasantries about Allard, including a rape. Finally Jacobus discovers a clue in a restaging of Allard’s murder that offers proof of whodunit and how.
A scrambled plot with far too many references to Jacobus’s debut, but there are riveting insights into violin bowing, maestros’ mannerisms and the interpretation of musical scores.