The Vanishing Violinist
Martin's Minotaur (Hardback),
When Joan's daughter Rebecca announces her engagement to one of the violinists at a prestigious Indianapolis competition, Joan can't wait to meet the groom-to-be. But in Indianapolis Joan finds little to celebrate. Almost upon arrival, she becomes enmeshed in the lives of the competitors, their host families and the rivalries seething beneath the surface of the competition. Then a rare Stradivarius and its seductive owner vanish, and Rebecca's likeable fiancé takes center stage as the frontrunner in the prime suspect contest.
Meanwhile, back in Joan's hometown of Oliver, Ind., the hit and run killing of an off-duty policeman occupies all of the time and energy of Joan's own fiancé, Lt. Fred Lundquist. So it falls to Joan to somehow solve a theft, a disappearance and, ultimately, a murder on her own.
The Vanishing Violinist provides a detailed look at a musical competition and the closeness of a small Indiana town. Oliver and all its citizens, are well-drawn and realistic, right down to the check-out girl at the local grocery who always seems to know the latest news before everyone else. The violin competition seethes with enough jealousy and petty ambition to put even a beauty contest to the blush.
Despite its by-the-numbers resolution, the mystery proved quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, in order to get to the good parts, the reader must wade through page after page of the heroine's interminable mental musings. Joan's constant worrying smacked more of whining than inner turmoil. Still, for mystery readers who don't mind sifting through a sleuth's personal problems on their way to the meat of the story, The Vanishing Violinist may hit just the right note.
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