When an enemy makes overtures of friendship, is anyone safe?
An unexpected invitation from wily King Frederick causes composer Joseph Haydn to fear he's walking into a trap. After all, the Prussian King has never had any use for Haydn's music. His Majesty seems more intrigued at Haydn's being the son of a market-judge.
Worse still, the invitation appears to stir up suspicion in the highest quarters in Vienna. So much so that a mysterious, cloaked lady visits Haydn's Music Room and issues a thinly veiled threat.
Now Haydn is convinced there's mischief afoot. But not even he can foresee that he will stumble upon the corpse of the imperial ambassador a day after his arrival in Frederick's Prussia, along with evidence that His Lordship may have been a common thief.
Can Haydn salvage the imperial ambassador's reputation—and find his killer?
Praise for the Joseph Haydn Mysteries
"A standout in the genre of historical mysteries. An encore is requested!"
Midwest Book Review
"Tustin occupies a unique niche in the historical mystery world."
Edith Maxwell, Agatha-nominated Author, Quaker Midwife Mysteries
"Wonderful read for fans of historical cozy mysteries. . .The characters are strong and the writing is smooth. . ."
Books a Plenty Book Reviews
"An interesting journey and Haydn is a likable main character."
Christa Reads and Writes
"Vivid historical descriptions, intricate details, and a fascinating central character kept me turning the pages. Bravo!"
Amanda Carmack, award-winning author of The Elizabethan Mystery Series
About the Author
A former journalist, Nupur Tustin relies upon a Ph.D. in Communication and an M.A. in English to orchestrate fictional mayhem. The Haydn mysteries are a result of her life-long passion for classical music and its history. Childhood piano lessons and a 1903 Weber Upright share equal blame for her original compositions, available on ntustin.musicaneo.com.
Her writing includes work for Reuters and CNBC, short stories and freelance articles, and research published in peer-reviewed academic journals. She lives in Southern California with her husband, three rambunctious children, and a pit bull.
For details on the Haydn series and monthly blog posts on the great composer, visit the official Haydn Mystery web site: ntustin.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love Nupir Tustin's love of Prussia. We see Her Majesty, Empress Maria Theresa, seated by a mural that still exists today and can be seen in person, or on Tustin's blog: "The lush bounty of leaves, melons, and pomegranates painted on the walls by Johann Wenzel Bergl's hands formed a startling contrast to the bleakness without." There is much talk of unrest in Poland, and enemies of Her Majesty fomenting trouble, making a trip to Prussia imminent for the Empress and some of her servant girls as well, who get into a lively subplot of their own. Empress Maria has three daughters to choose from to escort her on her journey, and she chooses the least favored one, Amalia, who "had nothing to recommend her." Not her sister Mimi's beauty, not her younger sister Antoine's charms. Amalia was "hardheaded and uncompromising." As in an Austen novel, there is also talk of marriage, but romance is not the main focus. Music recurs like a motif in the narrative as Kappellmeister Haydn is drawn into a mystery. At this point, I have to confess, I find it distracting to have a real-life composer cast in the role of a Sherlock Holmes in the days of the Prussian Empire. If it didn't really happen, why not create a character similar to Haydn instead? It's a minor detail however, one that apparently doesn't bother devout fans of historical fiction. Likewise, I found myself skimming pages about the ostentatious seven-carat gemstone that goes missing, and the murder, and the unraveling of clues to determine whodunnit. But I love the part that really did happen, such as the royal visitors being greeted at the palace gates by "a small, wizened creature in a faded blue military uniform," who conveys the visitors to Sanssuci himself--and he is none other than the King Frederick of Prussia. The Point of View shifts frequently from Empress Maria to Haydn to other minor characters, which to me is a little jarring. I found the narrative a bit off-putting because of it. But I love the Author's Notes at the end, with the unfortunate reminder, "Poland, unfortunately, was never saved. On August 5, 1772--less than four years after the events of this story--Empress Maria Theresa reluctantly agreed to the first partition of Poland." Polish territories were swallowed by Russia, Prussia, and Austria. I also love her reminder of "how closely the Polish constitution with its system of checks resembled the system of governance in the United States of America," and that Poles shared an antipathy toward government in all its forms. "The Poles quite rightly believed that subjecting a minority of people to the whims of the majority went against the principle of individual liberty," Tustin writes. In all, this is a rich novel with lively dialogue and political intrigue, along with a murder mystery for the composer Haydn to solve. The whodunnit is not my favorite genre to begin with, so pay no attention to me if I say that was not the best part of the novel. The history alone is worth the price of admission! Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC of this story.
sumptuous period detail and exacting historical research PRUSSIAN COUNTERPOINT by Nupur Tustin The Third Joseph Haydn Mystery When Empress Maria Theresa summons Joseph Haydn, he's stunned to find that the great Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach has requested to meet him. There is much more afoot, however, than musical interest. King Frederick of Prussia is up to something and the Empress, along with Prince Nikolaus of Esterhazy and most of his household, including Haydn, venture into Potsdam to discover what. Does the Prussian King wish to prevent war? Or start one? Is this part of a plan to decimate Poland? Haydn soon finds himself it the midst of espionage, theft, and murder. Will he be able to figure out the plot against the Empress or will he wind up arrested? Or worse? Filled with historical significance PRUSSIAN COUNTERPOINT had great meaning for me. Being of Polish descent I am quite familiar with the partitioning of Poland and while the murder was solved, I knew that Haydn wouldn't be able to save Poland. Although we got to meet C.P.E. Bach, the third Joseph Haydn mystery had little to do with music, and was instead filled with espionage and political machinations. The details about cryptography and steganography were fascinating! I want to try hiding messages that require special masks to read. I loved Haydn's and his maids' reaction to the many paintings of Bach's son, oblivious to their true purpose! PRUSSIAN COUNTERPOINT is a fascinating political mystery. Sumptuous period detail and exacting historical research add to the intellectual nature of the novel while rich characterization brings heart. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
In 1768 Haydn and his brother Johann accompany her Majesty Empress Maria Theresa and his Serene Highness Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy to Potsdam. This is at the request of the King of Prussia. But it is not long before they literaally stumble across a dead body. But how is this all related to the political climate of Europe and who is the person engineering the events. An interesting and enjoyable well-written mystery. Althogh the third in the series the book can certainly be read as a standalone story.