cover image Chord of Evil: A Phineas Fox Mystery

Chord of Evil: A Phineas Fox Mystery

Sarah Rayne. Severn, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8741-2

In British author Rayne’s engrossing second mystery featuring London music researcher Phineas Fox (after Death Notes), Phin agrees to help his neighbor, Toby Tallis, search for Arabella Tallis, Toby’s cousin, after she fails to show up one evening for a party. At Arabella’s flat, Toby is surprised to spot a small portrait belonging to his and Arabella’s godfather, Stefan Cain, a refugee who came to England from Europe after WWII. The musicologist in Phin is instantly drawn to the portrait, which is of Stefan’s long-dead older sister, Christa Klein, holding some sheet music, and the puzzle that it presents. A second, more sinister plot line focuses on a dysfunctional brother and sister duo, Marcus and Margot Mander, who are searching for a lost inheritance and have a connection to Christa. Flashbacks to Nazi Germany shed light on Stefan and Christa’s history. How the various narrative threads converge in the shadow of a menacing castle in the remote German countryside will keep the reader guessing to the end. Agent: Jane Conway-Gordon, Jane Conway-Gordon Ltd. (U.K.). (Dec.)