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Broken Music: A Mystery Hardcover – November 22, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (November 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312591454
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312591458
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,588,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Fans of Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series, and those interested in the history of the Great War and its aftermath, will appreciate Eccles's skillful portrayal of life in the trenches and on the home front, as well as the novel's complex saga of family secrets, love and loss....A compelling British mystery and family saga set during and after the First World War."--Shelf Awareness

About the Author

Marjorie Eccles was born in Yorkshire and spent much of her childhood there and on the Northumbrian coast. The author of more than twenty books and short stories, she is the recipient of the Agatha Christie Short Story Styles Award. Her books featuring police detective Gil Mayo were adapted for the BBC. Eccles lives in Hertfordshire.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Marjorie Eccles' "Broken Music", is a well-written mystery set in England during "The Great War", with action occurring both pre and post-war. Eccles is following in the publishing path of "Charles Todd "(that mother/son team) with their "Inspector Rutledge" and "Bess Crawford" series, set during the same time. And, of course, the "Maisie Dobbs" series by Jacqueline Winspear, which began during the Great War but have continued on through England in the 20's and 30's.

"Broken Music" is a stand-alone book; Eccles also has a series starring DS Gil Mayo and some other stand-alones. "Broken Music" is the first Eccles book I've read. Her lead character, a former policeman called Herbert Reardon, has just returned from service in France at war's end. He's been badly burned but is getting used to his new face and is considering what to do next with his life. Does he want to go back to the police force in an area in the north of England? He returns to his former home, and decides to take on a private investigation into the death/suicide/murder of a young woman by drowning in the first days of the War, August 1914. Since he has no official authority to ask questions, he's at a standstill til another young woman is found dead - definitely murdered this time - and he returns to the police force with orders and authority to investigate this second death.

As with most of these books, there are a plethora of both suspects and secrets. Or, suspects WITH secrets. The formula for a successful mystery - whether historical or contemporary - never changes, and Marjorie Eccles provides both an interesting cast of characters to go along with her plot.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Clarice on February 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
3 1/2 stars

As a huge fan of Downton Abbey, I was immediately interested in BROKEN MUSIC when I heard about it. Truthfully, I had not heard of Marjorie Eccles before reading this book. But I think she is a find.

BROKEN MUSIC takes place in rural Broughton Underhill, England in the days before and after World War I. The eldest daughter of a widowed clergyman dies mysteriously, just as the war breaks out, and the death is not sufficiently investigated. A policeman involved in the case, Reardon, returns home from the war and, to prevent himself from looking too deeply into his own life, starts looking for answers. His inquiries dredge up painful memories, and many secrets, and before you know it, someone is murdered.

One of the things I enjoyed so much about this book is the fact that it's not the same old, same old. However, that may make the book less appealing to some. The biggest challenge in the book is the wobbly timeline. The author moves back and forth between present, past, and distant past often, which, until you get used to it, can be jarring. Once I realized what was happening, I went with the flow and enjoyed it, because this is the technique the author uses to keep and reveal secrets.

Eccles writes lovely prose and creates memorable characters, but for me the book's real accomplishment is its portrayal of a war-ruined England. Eccles sensitively portrays the effects of World War I on society, young and old, male and female, aristocratic and working class. Many moving scenes are quite transcendent.

I do have a few complaints, however. I found the resolution of one of the major mysteries rather unsatisfying, because it doesn't seem in character.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Firstly, there are too many similar characters and the story line bounces back and forth between "then and now" much too often. Secondly, the story line is flimsy. Finally, descriptions of the era are very, very similar to those of other authors. Same sources I suppose, but I felt I was reAding the Morland Saga all over again.
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