Mozart's Last Aria: A Novel

Mozart's Last Aria: A Novel

3.8 13
by Matt Rees
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Award-winning author Matt Rees takes readers to 18th centuryAustria, where Mozart’s estranged sister Nannerl stumblesinto a world of ambition, conspiracy, and immortal music while attempting touncover the truth about her brother’s suspicious death. Did Mozart’s life endin murder? Nannerl must brave dire circumstances tofind out, running afoul of the

Overview

Award-winning author Matt Rees takes readers to 18th centuryAustria, where Mozart’s estranged sister Nannerl stumblesinto a world of ambition, conspiracy, and immortal music while attempting touncover the truth about her brother’s suspicious death. Did Mozart’s life endin murder? Nannerl must brave dire circumstances tofind out, running afoul of the secret police, the freemasons, and even theAustrian Emperor himself as she delves into a scandal greater than she had everimagined. With captivating historical details, compelling characters, and areal-life mystery upon which everything hinges, Rees—the award-winning authorof the  internationally acclaimed Omar Yussefcrime series—writes in the tradition of Irvin Yalom’sWhen Nietzsche Wept, Louis Bayard’s The Pale Blue Eye, andPhillip Sington’s The Einstein Girl to achievethe very best in historical fiction with Mozart’s Last Aria.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this engaging, well-paced book from crime novelist and journalist Rees (The Collaborator of Bethlehem), Mozart’s estranged sister, Madame Maria Anna Berchtold von Sonnenburg (called Nannerl by her family), travels to Vienna to investigate the mysterious circumstances of her brother’s sudden death. According to Nannerl’s sister-in-law Constanze, Mozart had premonitions of murder before he died. In Vienna, Nannerl finds a web of deception, scandal, and fear revolving around the colorful, dangerous Freemasons, implicating Mozart in shadowy activities and pointing to his death by poison. Meanwhile, Nannerl’s own musical career—once overshadowed by her prodigy brother’s—is revived as she pays tribute to his compositions. Despite her reservations, she finds herself drawn to a powerful baron, himself caught up in all the intrigue. Combining Dan Brown or Elizabeth Kostova–style historical conspiracy theory with cozy detective novel, Rees’s latest offers a genuinely felt reverence for the power of Mozart’s music and its lasting impact in the world. (Nov.)
The Times (London)
“Mozart fans and codecrackers will enjoy the clever musical riddle. A very readable historical mystery romp.”
Booklist
“An excellent choice for mystery fans and historical fiction readers.”
Marie Claire
“Matt Rees cleverly weaves music, crime, and conspiracy into a sumptuous historical whodunit, set against the decadent backdrop of 18th-century Vienna.”
Tess Gerritsen
“Mozart, music, and murder seamlessly blend together in this fascinating historical mystery. A perfect read to go with a crackling fire and a pot of hot chocolate.”
Tasha Alexander
“A stunning combination of mystery and meticulously researched historical fiction. . . . A sweeping, gorgeously written book.”
Library Journal
Rees's first stand-alone novel after the award-winning Omar Yussef mystery series (The Collaborator of Bethlehem) delves into 18th-century Austria and the intrigue surrounding Mozart and his contemporaries. Mozart's estranged sister, Madame Maria Anna Berchtold von Sonnenburg, a distinguished musician in her own right and known to her family as Nannerl, travels to Vienna to uncover the true circumstances of her brother's death. Mozart's friends and supporters claim he was poisoned, and Nannerl discovers multiple possible motives for his murder, including debts, reported liaisons, entanglements with secret societies, and even treason. Similar in appearance and adept at performance, Nannerl impersonates her brother to unmask the murderer. VERDICT Replete with biographical detail and musical references, this novel animates Mozart's life and times with a varied cast of patrons, lovers, and villains. This absorbing Viennese soap opera is a solid choice for readers who like fiction about historical figures caught up in suspenseful intrigues such as Matthew Pearl's The Dante Club or Gyles Brandreth's Oscar Wilde mysteries.—Cathy Lantz, Morton Coll. Lib., Cicero, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Rees' latest marks a distinct departure from the Omar Yussef detective series as it combines mystery and historical intrigue with a timeless love story. Thousands of words have been written about the late-18th-century musical genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, a child prodigy who, with his sister, toured much of Europe. Maria Anna, known to her family as Nannerl, was five years older than her brother, who died in Vienna in the winter of 1791. He rose to acclaim in the Austrian capital, leaving Nannerl behind. She married and the two were estranged three years before his death. The story opens with Nannerl on her own deathbed. She gives her nephew, also called Wolfgang, an old diary to read. In it she has recorded the story of her search for the reason behind her brother's death. The younger Nannerl, accompanied only by her maid, travels to Vienna after receiving the news. She feels sad, knowing that she cut herself off from the one person who loved her most, and goes to see his widow, Constanze, who describes her husband's last few days. Nannerl starts to believe her brother was poisoned and, against the frozen background of Vienna in the days of King Leopold, whose own sister, French Queen Marie Antoinette, lives under arrest, she sets out to unravel the mystery of her brother's murder. While searching for answers, Nannerl finds more than simply a conspiracy; she also uncovers a side to her beloved brother that she had never before known. Rees nails the details of Mozart's Vienna with precision, seasoning his story with musical details that will delight fans of classical music. The author renders Nannerl very sympathetic and teases in a touch of romance that is both bittersweet and unexpected. At the heart of the tale lies Mozart's real-life membership in the Masons, a tiresome and familiar plot device that mars an otherwise lovely story. A beautiful book illuminated by the author's own musical background that moves slowly and deliberately to a fine conclusion.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062099372
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/01/2011
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
262,670
File size:
12 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Related Subjects

What People are saying about this

Tasha Alexander
“A stunning combination of mystery and meticulously researched historical fiction. . . . A sweeping, gorgeously written book.”
Tess Gerritsen
“Mozart, music, and murder seamlessly blend together in this fascinating historical mystery. A perfect read to go with a crackling fire and a pot of hot chocolate.”

Meet the Author

Matt Rees is an award-winning crime novelist and foreign correspondent. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed Omar Yussef crime series, including The Collaborator of Bethlehem. He is also the author of Cain’s Field, a nonfiction account of Israeli and Palestinian society. Matt lives in Jerusalem.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Mozart's Last Aria 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
hereford More than 1 year ago
Having just completed Nancy Moser's Mozart's Sister, I was especially attuned to the facts about the upbringing of Mozart and his sister Nannerl. Having played a number of his pieces through my years in band didn't hurt, either. What I discovered was a truly fascinating fictional look at the composer's early death and connection with the Free Masons. Although the driving plot point was totally fictional, Rees wove it into the true story with the skill necessary for historical fiction to work. Most interesting of all was the commentary at the end as he revealed his vast research into the music. Rees' obvious understanding of the masterpieces that are Mozart's legacy make his own work an aria in itself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nyauthoress More than 1 year ago
Does the world need another book about Mozart? Only if it is unique. Mozart’s Last Aria, a historical crime thriller about the mystery surrounding the great composer’s life, fits the bill. Enter the opera hall as Matt Rees brings 18th century Vienna to life in his clever and entertaining expedition through the opera halls and streets Mozart frequented. Deception, passion and fear roam in the city where Freemasons furtively meet to usurp power from those who abuse it. The book’s heroine and narrator is Mozart’s sister, Nannerl, who, upon hearing of her brother’s death, leaves her oppressive husband to attend the funeral. Once in Vienna, she unravels clues that point Mozart’s suspicious death by poisoning. Nannerl, an accomplished harpsichordist and pianist, had given up her performing career years ago in favor of her precocious brother. Estranged and bitter, she says, ”I had to acknowledge that… I had been merely a Mozart. Only he had ever been ‘Mozart’.” Fueled by guilt over their lack of communication, she becomes a persistent and effective detective. Historians believe that rheumatic fever caused Mozart’s death. Mozart’s Last Aria tells us that Mozart believed he was poisoned weeks before he died. Whatever Freemason directive he tried to promote may have been the cause of his death. Nannerl stops at nothing to find his killer. She may have lived in the 18th century, but she functions like a contemporary CSI investigator. Mozart’s Last Aria will certainly capture the attention of music lovers, but its real draw will be enthusiasts of historical mystery. It is reminiscent of Mistress of the Art of Death by Arianna Franklin moved forward several centuries and minus the gore. The ending is a bit far-fetched and the book seems a platform for the author to parade his musical knowledge, but all in all, the book is a fun romp.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this novel!! I first read In Mozart's Shadow by Carolyn Meyer and that got me hooked on Nannerl!! When i saw this book i was like...yeah! i'ma get dis book!!! and i did and i read it within the first few nights! LOVE IIIIT!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A pretty good novel, historically accurate and interesting to watch unfold. The story revolves around Mozart's sister, trying to figure out a mystery regarding his death. Music, Masonry and the 18th Century abound, it's quite a good story to watch unfold. A "who done it" bound around fine concertos.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LoriLL More than 1 year ago
Being a student of music history, I really enjoyed this book.