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by R.N. Morris

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-7278-8955-3
Publisher: Severn House

Who murdered the philandering choirmaster?

Five days before the scheduled 1914 Hampstead Voices’ Christmas Concert, Lady Emma Fonthill and tenor Paul Seddon find Emma's husband, Sir Aidan, sitting dead at his piano, a tuning fork sticking out of his head. A flashback to two days earlier launches a series of sections structured as musical movements. Once the concert is sold out, Aidan feels emboldened to ask the music society’s dour young treasurer, Cavendish, to write him two blank checks for some “small expenses.” Later, during a visit to his young daughter, Daphne, Aidan places inappropriate hands on her teacher, Hattie Greene. Emma, who’s well aware of her husband’s “peccadillos,” spies on him regularly. Paul meanwhile confronts his sister, Anna, over the affair with Aidan that left her with a child. Composer Roderick Masters is furious that Aidan’s pronounced one of his Christmas pieces rubbish. Ursula Cavendish’s affair with Aidan enrages her husband, Charles. And then there’s colorful blackmailer Tiggie Benson. Aidan’s surprising changes of singing assignments and failure to pay his performers come to a head at the Voices' final rehearsal, making him a nervous wreck and leading to his murder. And what of the music box anonymously delivered to Aidan? DCI Silas Quinn must deal with the breakdown of his heretofore faithful Sgt. Inchball before proceeding to the crime at hand. The case seems straightforward, requiring only a methodical questioning of witnesses. But the murder of one of his men makes the case personal for Quinn.

A crisp and clever whodunit with a juicy gallery of suspects.