Saturday, April 21, 2012

Death and Transfiguration-Gerald Elias

Death and Transfiguration

Gerald Elias

Minotaur, Jun 19 2012, $26.99

ISBN 9780312678357

Fortyish violinist Scheherazade “Sherry” O’Brien asks blind violin teacher Daniel Jacobus to help with her obtaining the permanent position of concertmaster at the prestigious Harmonium Orchestra as their new concert hall is being built in lower Manhattan. She has held the position on a temporary basis. Jacobus refuses her plea for assistance. The music director Vaclav Herza escaped Czechoslovakia in 1956 and over the decades has earned his reputation as an odious despotic legend. After harassing her from the moment she filled the position, Herza abruptly fires Sherry though she was the obvious best choice as the concertmaster. Distraught, Sherry commits suicide. The already upset orchestra members struggling with contract negotiations go hysterical with rage at egomaniacal Herza who they hold culpable.

Feeling guilt and remorse, Jacobus, accompanied by his sighted friends (Nathaniel Williams, Max Furukawa and Martin Lilburn) investigate Herza’s past in Prague and Tokyo. At the same time the angry contract negotiations and the nasty auditions continue.

The fourth Daniel Jacobus amateur sleuth (see Death and the Maiden, The Devil's Trill and Danse Macabre) is an entertaining mystery as the cantankerous protagonist believes he has one more major addition to his redemption list. Humorous, readers obtain a look behind the scenes at a major orchestra. Still, it is virtuoso Jacobus who makes this a fun tale as the acrimonious violinist probes Herza’s history.

Harriet Klausner

No comments: