Death and Transfiguration
A Daniel Jacobus Mystery by Gerald Elias
Review: The suicide — or is it something more sinister? — of a musician competing to be concertmaster of a touring orchestra draws violin teacher Daniel Jacobus into investigating the man, who may be responsible for her death in Death and Transfiguration, the fourth mystery in this series by Gerald Elias.
Jacobus's life is a series of inferences, assumptions and guesses. This is a blind man's reality. This is his despair. This is his prison. His crabbiness and increasingly eccentric behavior, however, are overshadowed by the aged, despicable, mean Vaclav Herza, conductor of the Harmonium Symphony Orchestra, which is appearing at the Tanglewood Music Festival in the Berkshires. Herza degrades and embarrasses the performing artists for little or no reason, other than he can. Scheherazade "Sherry" O'Brien, the acting concertmaster, and Yumi Shinagawa, once one of Jacobus's students, are both auditioning for the position of permanent. They had both came to him to play and seek his advice on how they could improve their chances during the audition. Before Sherry could perform, however, and in front of all the other violinists auditioning for the title, Herza tells Sherry she cannot audition. Furthermore, she is dismissed from the orchestra. The board of directors, having had just about enough of Herza's antics, meet to discuss what they can do. Meanwhile, Herza is adamant about his decision and threatens to cancel the concert if Sherry is allowed to audition. But before either can follow through, Sherry is dead. Jacobus, as he has done in the past, has reservations about what the authorities are calling a suicide and begins his own investigation into Herza's past, believing that something there was the cause of what happened in the present.
Daniel Jacobus is a most entertaining amateur sleuth, irascible though he may be. He lives alone in New England with his dog, Trotsky, thus named because he can't Runsky. Jacobus's wry humor keeps the story alive, and though he rarely shows it outwardly, he cares deeply for those around him, especially those that share his love for music. The storyline here is nicely plotted and well paced, and includes an often fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the business of a modern orchestra. Readers who appreciate a little music with their mystery will almost certainly enjoy Death and Transfiguration and any of the other books in this fine series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Death and Transfiguration.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Death and Transfiguration for this review.
Review Copyright © 2012 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Death and the Maiden
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), August 2011
ISBN-13: 9780312678340; ISBN-10: 0312678347
Location(s) referenced in Death and Transfiguration: The Berkshires, New England
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Death and Transfiguration by Gerald Elias — A Daniel Jacobus Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: June 2012
List Price: $26.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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