From the pages of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine
are culled "a collection of mystery stories in which music plays a key role." Mystery lovers will be pleased, and those interested in music doubly so, as the worlds of opera and jazz, among others, lend themselves as hosts for brief exercises in murder most foul. One of the highlights of the collection is Linda Halderman's "Shabby Little Shocker," in which, by way of onstage trickery, the tenor and the baritone in a performance of Puccini's Tosca
actually do each other in--for real! Another particularly enjoyable story is "The Family Rose," in which country singer Maybelle desperately wants to inherit her famous parent Momma Rose's celebrated guitar. Ironically, her own death sentence is passed when that happens. Good fun. Brad Hooper
From Kirkus Reviews
As even the perfect Wagnerite knows, it's not easy to tell a compelling story while providing great music, and atmosphere prevails over mystery-mongering in most of these 15 stories (194793) chosen by Manson and Halligan (Murder Intercontinental, 1996). Six involve the opera, but except for James Yaffe's sprightly armchair matriarch (``Mom Sings an Aria''), the stories are more successful when they get down and dirty (Doug Allyn's ``The Sultans of Soul'' and John Lutz's ``The Right to Sing the Blues'') or hit the road (Lynne Barrett's droll trio of Elvis impersonators). For sheer ingenuity, Lillian de la Torre's ``The Viotti Stradivarius,'' a Dr. Sam Johnson adventure from 1950 (1783, says Boswell) wins in a walk. The supporting cast--Agatha Christie, Linda Haldeman, Seymour Shubin, Cornell Woolrich, L.A. Taylor, George Baxt, Michael Underwood, Edward D. Hoch, Charlotte Hinger, William Bankier--provides a whole spectrum of emotional highs and lows, but no other standouts. Unlike a recording of opera excerpts, this collection doesn't provide enough highlights from artists who've mostly done their far better work elsewhere. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.