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Funeral Music (Sara Selkirk Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – March 29, 2005

3.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of this exquisite crime novel from British author Joss (Fruitful Bodies), renowned cellist Sara Selkirk—who has barely performed in public since a breakdown following her lover's death—gives a charity performance at Bath's historic Pump Room. The evening goes well, but when she returns to claim a forgotten belt the morning after, she discovers Matthew Sawyer, the contentious "Director of Museums and Civic Leisure Resources," lying dead in the ancient spring that waters the legendary Roman baths. Spurred by the details reluctantly divulged by her student, DCI Andrew Poole, Sara tries to puzzle out Sawyer's murder. She knows a number of the potential suspects, who include James, her charming accompanist; Olivia, the victim's assistant director; and a virile but somewhat mysterious young chef named Paul, who, like Andrew, is attracted by Sara's beauty. Many motives lead to little hard evidence until another body surfaces and Sara finds herself suddenly clear about not just the mystery but her own future. If rich, gorgeous Sara sometimes seems too perfect to be true, the book's supporting cast is nicely fleshed out with human idiosyncrasies and tangled cross-purposes. Even better are Joss's lyrical evocations of Bath, which becomes the book's most compelling character. Agent, Jean Naggar. (Apr.)
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Review

“Morag Joss’s distinguished debut demonstrates an interesting setting, characters, both sympathetic and villainous, who are drawn with wit and perception, good writing and a plot which combines tension with credibility.”–P. D. James

“As well plotted as Ruth Rendell and with all the psychological complexity you find in the great P. D. James…Beautifully written, it manages to be witty and touching at the same time.”–Bath Chronicle
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Product Details

  • Series: Sara Selkirk Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (March 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044024241X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440242413
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #946,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I do enjoy coming across a new British mystery series, and by the looks of things I'm going to derive a lot of fun from reading the next two installments in the Sara Selkirk mystery series scheduled to be released later this year. Well plotted, intriguing and full of beautiful and lush descriptions of modern day Bath, "Funeral Music" was a treat to read from beginning to end.

Suffering from an emotional breakdown that has prevented her from performing for quite a while, world renowned cellist has retreated to her cottage in Bath where she marks time exercising and giving cello lessons to Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Poole. And while her friends have been worried, none of them have met with any success in persuading Sara to perform publicly again. However her good friend, James has had enough, and manages to bully her into performing with him at the Pump Room. Giving in with bad grace, little did Sara expect that this one act would catapult into the middle of a murder investigation when she discovers the body of the Director of Museums and Civic Leisure Resources dead in one of the baths. Because Andrew is in charge of the investigations, Sara finds herself privy to all sorts of information, and when people she likes and care about come under police scrutiny, Sara finds herself reluctantly playing detective. And although she feels strangely invigorated, Sara will have to pay great care that her investigations don't land her on the killer's hit list...

What made "Funeral Music" so much fun to read was not so much the mystery at hand (if you're an avid mystery buff, you can more or less figure out what's going on about half way through the book) as the characters involved. Morag Joss has peopled her novel with characters that are engaging, flawed and sympathetic.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel is not a cozy as I usually read, but not too gruesome, other than one scene described that almost had me in tears, this novel is just an example of excellent writing. A complex mystery that will have you wondering at the twists and turns and thrilled by the tying up of all the 'loose ends.'

A world renowned cellist, Sara Selkirk, lives in Bath, England and is desperately trying to achieve a sense of emotional healing from the loss of her lover. Not able to face crowds nor play Bach as her agent desires, Sara contents herself playing at various venues such as the famous Pump Room. Unknown to Sara, she is about to become connected with several persons living quite secret lives.

When the murder of the new Director of Museums is found murdered the following morning after her performance, Sara finds herself running into persons that may have had something to do with the killing. I really do not want to describe the encounters as they are so complex and compelling, it would lessen your enjoyment of the novel.

Let me just say, Morag Joss is a force of nature in the mystery genre. The characters are so intricately drawn and the dialog so natural that you feel you might have known them. The settings are both historical and modern. The situations are all too ancient and twenty-first Century. It all adds up to a chilling, realistic murder mystery combined with other illegal activities and all too human situations.

This is a book I'd easily recommend to solid murder mystery readers.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Funeral Music is the introductory volume to the Sara Selkirk Mysteries. Sara is a world renowned cellist who has lost her will to perform following the sudden death of her husband. But that is not the mystery in Funeral Music. Sara's well meaning friend and accompanist, James, cajoles her into playing a charity concert at Bath's famous Pump Room, after which she makes a horrifying discovery. Someone has stabbed to death the museum curator, dumping his corpse into the Roman baths, and Sara is the first to find him. He wasn't a very popular or principled individual, and there are any number of possible suspects. The investigation falls to Sara's cello pupil, DCI Andrew Poole. The plot thickens when Andrew falls for her, and when James becomes a suspect.

This is a simple enough plot with enough interest to permit its competition with the setting, the spectacular city of Bath. Each of the main suspects is given his or her own chapters, and it doesn't become clear who did it until very close to the end. Along the way, a couple of imaginative yet believable alibis liven things up, but one of those alibis proves to be a cover. I was truly surprised when the murderer was finally revealed. Will Sara return to the concert stage? The answer to that question is left a bit unclear.

A genuine mystery, a cast of engaging (and not so engaging) characters, and an appealing protagonist make this book a quick and pleasant way to spend a few evenings.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book at a garage sale, along with her "Fearful Symmetry" ~~ and I picked it up for a few hours of escapism reading. It is a pleasant book and I love English mysteries. This one seems to do the trick on both counts.

This mystery features Sara Selkirk, a renowned cellist on hiatus since her lover's death in Paris the year before. She has lost her desire and passion for music ~~ but she agreed to play for a friend at the local museum one night. The next day, she discovers the musuem's director's body ~~ and almost against her will, she was drawn into solving the murder mystery case.

This is not your typical suspense novel ~~ it is more relaxed than Elizabeth George's novels and it does move at a slower pace. It is a fun read and I enjoyed it ~~ I plan to read her other books eventually. It's just a good novel with a mystery plot. If you're looking for a good escapism novel ~~ this one would be it.

5-29-06
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