Could a mysterious music box hold the key to unlocking the puzzle behind a gruesome murder for Detective Inspector Silas Quinn?
London, 1914. Despite a number of setbacks, rehearsals for The Hampstead Voices’ Christmas concert are continuing apace. The sold-out event is raising funds for war refugees, and both Winston Churchill and Edward Elgar are expected to attend. But the most disturbing setback of all occurs when the choirmaster, Sir Aidan Fonthill, is discovered dead at a piano, a tuning fork protruding from his ear. Detective Chief Inspector Silas Quinn and his team from the Special Crimes Department at New Scotland Yard soon discover that Sir Aidan had a number of enemies, but who hated him enough to carry out such a heinous crime?
Could the answer be linked to a mysterious music box delivered to Sir Aidan’s house shortly before the murder, and can Silas solve the puzzle of the music box enigma and catch the killer before the concert takes place?
What I Thought:
I’ve been following Roger Morris and his work for a while now, but have inexplicably only read two of the Silas Quinn novels. The series is right up my street being both detective fiction and set in the pre-WW1 era, and it shows policing in a time before gadgetry was a detective’s best friend.
There are common characters and small references to previous books in The Music Box Enigma but, if you come across it before reading any of the others, this book stands very well on its own.
The Hampstead Voices contains a regular rogues gallery of people who might have wished to do in the Musical Director who, it seems, is a little ‘handsy’ with the female members of the chorus but who also may have owed money to some shady characters and professionally shunned others – a hard character to mourn in many respects!
Nevertheless, despite the personal failings of the victim, it is Quinn’s job to find the killer before some of the suspects take themselves off to serve in the war.
This book is hugely entertaining. The mystery plot is challenging but, when you find out who did it, all the pieces are there if you were only to take notice of them. The politics around the Hampstead Voices – and a personal beef with Sir Edward Elgar – act as comic relief in a book that does have some dark moments, especially surrounding a personal loss for Quinn.
Definitely recommended, and if you fancy going back to the beginning with Silas Quinn, Summon Up The Blood is (at time of writing) only 99p on Kindle, so well worth grabbing…
The Music Box Enigma is published by Severn House.