Title: Danse Macabre
Author: Gerald Elias
Release Date: August 31, 2010
Rating: 4 out of 5
After the events of Devil’s Trill, blind violin teacher Daniel Jacobus has put aside his familiar curmudgeonly nature to travel to his friend’s concert at Carnegie Hall. After the concert, the unthinkable happens – the star violinist, Rene Allard, is found murdered and his protégé, BTower, is seen hovering over the body by a witness. Jacobus is sure this is an open and shut case, until one year later, when BTower’s lawyer contacts him with some interesting information.
Danse Macabre brings back the wonderfully bitter and difficult violinist Daniel Jacobus to solve a brand new crime in the world of classical musicians. This time, Jacobus has backed off from his hostile nature and is a bit more genial. That’s not to say he isn’t vibrant and full of personality; Jacobus is as vivid as ever, a unique character who leaps off the page. But he seems to hate his life less in this book, which is a welcome change.
Once again, Gerald Elias immerses the reader in the world of classical music, imparting his vast knowledge to the reader. Elias’ ability to manipulate the story such that he can include little tidbits and fun facts along the way is unmatched. Additionally, the reader learns an impressive amount while being thoroughly entertained. It’s an amazing gift, and one Elias wields wonderfully. As a result, his Daniel Jacobus mysteries are a must-read for anyone intrigued by the world of classical music and those who inhabit it.
The mystery in Danse Macabre is in no way predictable; in fact, I found myself surprised again and again by the twists and turns Elias took me on. This is a short, easy novel to read, so it’s simple to consume the entire book in one sitting. The mystery stands on its own, so it’s not necessary to have read Devil’s Trill before reading Danse Macabre, though I would suggest it. Danse Macabre discusses the ending of its prequel, such that you can’t read them out of order, and you’d be missing out on a highly entertaining read.
I absolutely love these classical music mysteries; they are well-written and engaging, with memorable characters and a fascinating centerpiece of violinists. It mixes history, music, and cutthroat competition with one of the most curmudgeonly, ungrateful men in literature, a blind man who accomplishes amazing feats with his enhanced remaining senses. Readers won’t be able to get enough of Daniel Jacobus if they read these two novels; I’m eager to pick up the next book in this series.