Music Macabre

Sarah Rayne. Severn, $29.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8896-9
In Rayne’s enjoyable fourth Phineas Fox mystery (after 2018’s Song of the Damned), London music researcher Phineas has a new commission—writing a “light-hearted biography about the life and loves of virtuoso composer-pianist, Franz Liszt.” His research turns up evidence linking the aging Liszt with a notorious young English music hall dancer, Scaramel, who reputedly was connected to a murder. Phineas and his neighbor Toby Tallis visit a newly reopened restaurant, Linklighters, where Scaramel performed in the late 19th century. Flashbacks told from the point of view of Daisy, Scaramel’s maid, include edifying glimpses of the inside of a madhouse, feisty bickering between rival performers, and a terrifying confrontation with the most fearsome of all serial killers. Meanwhile, Phineas’s probing into this eventful past puts his life in danger. Rayne provides vivid descriptions of Victorian London along with fascinating details of the life of Franz Liszt and insights into the cultural significance of music hall songs. Those who like their mysteries erudite will be well satisfied. Agent: Jane Conway-Gordon, Jane Conway-Gordon Ltd. (U.K.). (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/19/2019
Release date: 08/01/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
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