The Devil in Music: Julian Kestrel #4

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Overview

At a mist-shrouded villa on Lake Como, an Italian nobleman is grooming a young English tenor for a career on the glittering operatic stage. Before their sojourn is over, one will die by violence and the other will disappear. Enter Julian Kestrel, Regency dandy and amateur sleuth. Travelling on the Continent with his ex-pickpocket valet, Dipper, Kestrel is irresistibly drawn into this baffling murder case. Among the suspects are a runaway wife and her male soprano lover; a liberal nobleman at odds with Italy's ...
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The Devil in Music: Julian Kestrel #4

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Overview

At a mist-shrouded villa on Lake Como, an Italian nobleman is grooming a young English tenor for a career on the glittering operatic stage. Before their sojourn is over, one will die by violence and the other will disappear. Enter Julian Kestrel, Regency dandy and amateur sleuth. Travelling on the Continent with his ex-pickpocket valet, Dipper, Kestrel is irresistibly drawn into this baffling murder case. Among the suspects are a runaway wife and her male soprano lover; a liberal nobleman at odds with Italy's Austrian overlords; a mocking Frenchman with perfect pitch; and a beautiful, clever woman who begins to haunt Kestrel's dreams. Soon Kestrel is caught between the shadowy Carbonari - secret rebels against the Austrians - and the equally ruthless Austrian-sponsored police. But at the heart of the mystery is the captivating tenor known only as "Orfeo." Was he a political agent? A callous adventurer? A jealous lover? These questions take on a new urgency when the killer strikes again. And as Kestrel uncovers the truth, he risks becoming the next victim.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Calling upon his abundant knowledge of the Vatican's inner workings, Sheehan (Innocent Darkness) gives a view of modern Catholic church history as seen through the eyes of Augustine Cardinal Galsworthy, a man of legendary intellect, pride, sensuality and refinement, who wants to be pope. The story begins on the eve of the third millennium. A conclave of cardinals has assembled shortly after the death of their beloved "Slav Pope" to elect his successor. As the cunning cardinal wheels and deals his way toward election, he recalls the story of his life to this point. An awkward, lonely, stammering child, he grew into a man whose intelligence, ambition and charisma propelled him through the ranks to become the youngest cardinal in the church. From his hard-won position as papal advisor, he has counseled a succession of popes on ecclesiastical and personal issues and has zealously managed the "offerings" stowed away in Swiss bank accounts, all the while battling to preserve traditional Catholicism in the wake of Vatican II reforms. As Sheehan takes pains to show, the cardinal's preoccupations are not all temporal or political. On trips to the Congo and Somalia, he ministers passionately to the starving and diseased multitudes. Self-possessed in every sense of the word, Sheehan's crafty cardinal recalls such saintly Machiavellians as Browning's Bishop Bloughram and Strachey's Cardinal Manning. It should come as no surprise that the supporting cast often fades into the scenery while Cardinal Galsworthy's morally ambiguous triumphs and sufferings dominate this tale. Author tour. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Ross's historical mysteries featuring English dandy Julian Kestrel (e.g., Whom the Gods Love, LJ 4/1/95) have earned a loyal following. This fourth entry in the series moves Kestrel from his usual London haunts to Milan and moves Ross from trade paperback to hardcover status. While traveling the Continent with his friend, Dr. MacGregor, Kestrel reads of the recent uncovering of a four-year-old murder involving the aristocratic Malvezzi family and decides to try out his investigating skills once again. The victim was Lodovico Malvezzi, a Milanese marquis and famed music lover. Given his imperious manner, suspects are all to easy to find, especially among his family. Added to the mystery of his death are the disappearances of a talented musical protg of the marquis and a surly servant, various intrigues related to Italian politics, and rebellions. Kestrel is undaunted by these challenges but finds Malvezzi's beautiful young widow a dangerous distraction. While the plotting is not as tight as in previous novels, the final chapters are replete with enough revelations and twists to please Ross's fans and leave them looking forward to the next novel.Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll., Davidson, N.C.
Kirkus Reviews
Milan, 1825. As the ascendant Austrians and the Bonapartist Carbonaris struggle for control of northern Italy, every box at La Scala is abuzz with the revelation that Marchese Lodovico Malvezzi's death four years ago was actually murder—a murder the marchese's family and friends concealed, with the help of the authorities, in order to prevent the presumed assassin's Carbonari cohorts, emboldened by their success, from further attacks. The suspect himself—an English singer called Orfeo, someone the marchese had taken on as a protégé—has been missing for four years, as have Orfeo's beloved, gardener's daughter Lucia Landi, and Antonio Farese, the servant to his blind singing teacher. Now that a deathbed confession to the deception has made the murder public knowledge, Julian Kestrel (Whom the Gods Love, 1995, etc.), passing through Milan with his pickpocket-turned- manservant Dipper, is eager to offer his services to the local commissario (who declines the offer with alacrity) and the marchese's beautiful, enigmatic widow Beatrice (who accepts the offer, though frustratingly refusing to accept Julian's attestations of love). The questions to be answered—who killed the marchese? was the motive politics, revenge, or blackmail? whatever became of Orfeo, and has he returned to the scene of the crime? which characters will turn out to be Bonapartists?—guarantee an exceptionally generous unfolding, replete with dramatic episodes, false confessions, and explanations, explanations, explanations.

Not a crossover novel, despite its length, but an authentic triple-decker mystery for admirers of P.D. James.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781937384715
  • Publisher: Felony & Mayhem, LLC
  • Publication date: 10/7/2013
  • Series: Julian Kestrel Series , #4
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 408
  • Sales rank: 474,141
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Table of Contents

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