The riddle of Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” alchemy and clandestine love fuse in this fast-paced, funny, romantic mystery.
Meg Howrey (The Cranes Dance, 2012, etc.) and television writer Christina Lynch have combined their talents, writing under the pseudonym Magnus Flyte. Brilliant musicologist Sarah Weston has been summoned to Prague to catalog Beethoven manuscripts at the Lobkowicz Palace. How can she refuse? Her mentor, Professor Sherbatsky, has defenestrated himself from the palace, and a dwarf has appeared at her door, encouraging her to go and presenting her with a pillbox containing what appears to be a toenail clipping. Yet Prague is a dangerous place, a place where the walls between worlds have thinned to precariously fragile layers. But Sarah cannot believe Sherbatsky committed suicide, and she is eager to study the manuscripts, so she begins to pack. Before she can even get to the airport, however, someone breaks into her apartment. Nothing appears to be stolen, but an ominous alchemical symbol has been drawn on her kitchen ceiling. Once in Prague, events turn both stranger and sexier. The castle lies at the center of a dispute between two branches of the Lobkowicz family. As Sarah dutifully sifts through the manuscripts, she discovers clues not only about the “Immortal Beloved,” but also Sherbatsky’s strange behavior leading up to his death. The other scholars hired that summer to catalog the castle’s contents suspect Sherbatsky of drug use, and Sarah finds herself experimenting with the time-warping drug. She also accidentally has anonymous sex in the bathroom, joins forces with a 400-year-old dwarf, lands in jail and falls in love with the prince. But Sarah has also attracted an enemy, someone who will stop at nothing to keep Sarah from discovering a secret of perhaps international proportions.
Even the minor characters are drawn ingeniously in this exuberant, surprising gem.