Dueling violin aficionados disrupt Carnegie Hall.
The Grimsley Competition, held once every 13 years, offers its preteen winner a chance to play the Piccolino Stradivarius, currently valued at $8 million. Child prodigy Kamryn Vander is about to be honored when the three-quarter-sized violin is stolen from a locked room in Carnegie Hall, to the horror of the Music Arts Project group (MAP) responsible for the gala. Also on hand, but more chagrined than horrified by the failure of his plan to smash the Piccolino to smithereens, is blind curmudgeon Daniel Jacobus, who since losing out in the competition years ago has tutored aspiring musicians of dubious skills. When his pal Nathaniel, an insurance investigator, asks his help in recovering the Piccolino, Daniel agrees and drags along his newest pupil: Yumi, a green-eyed Japanese girl with several family secrets. Combining the deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes with the rhetorical finesse of Don Rickles, Daniel tracks the 17th-century origins of the Piccolino and the motives and whereabouts of MAP and its competitors past and present. Falling under suspicion himself, he sidesteps the law and the killer by fleeing to Japan, where the author unfurls dandy plot twists.
Fans of ratiocination will be pleased with Utah concertmaster Elias’ witty and acerbic debut, which is critical of the classical-music industry and so passionate about the music that you’ll run out to buy a recording of Beethoven’s Ninth, or even take up the violin.