Too Many Notes, Mr. Mozart: A Mystery

Robert Barnard, Author, Bernard Bastable, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $21 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0315-9
Combining mystery with alternative history, Bastable, who is really veteran mystery author Robert Barnard, offers us a Wolfgang Mozart who has lived to old age. Still unrecognized, still in debt, a widower after a long and happy marriage, the former child prodigy and performer for kings finds himself giving music lessons to Princess Victoria, heir apparent to the throne of England. But having more on her mind than music, the princess asks her piano teacher to uncover the truth about the ambiguous relationship between her mother and Sir John Conroy. The mature Mozart-a bit cagey, puckish, and fond of his young student-acts as a liaison between the princess's mother and the disarmingly informal newly crowned King William IV, who lives with Queen Adelaide surrounded by his brood of illegitimate children. The King, Victoria's uncle, invites her, the heir apparent, to the Windsor court. Shortly after her arrival, a court visitor is fatally poisoned after sipping from a cup intended for Victoria, and the king calls upon Mozart to make the kind of discreet inquiries at which he has proven so competent. Bastable imagines his characters and their setting so fully and seamlessly and offers such appealing possibilities that readers will wish this slight piece offered Mozart and Victoria more range. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1996
Release date: 06/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
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