When murder propels him backstage, Haydn is forced to confront a deadly killer. . .
When the Burgtheater’s impresario unexpectedly meets his maker, Joseph Haydn is relieved to learn no one expects him to look into the matter. The impresario was murdered—and the Salzburger believed to be the killer is already behind bars.
But the impresario’s untimely death is not without consequences. Haydn’s employer insists he take over the dead man’s duties. Handling the tedious technical details of putting on an opera is bad enough. Confronting the suspicious behavior backstage is even worse.
Is an innocent man being sent to the gallows? Haydn is plagued by the question when his brother Michael confirms his worst fears. The Salzburger arrested for the murder is none other than Leopold Mozart—father of the well-known child prodigy currently in Vienna.
Now, egged on by Michael—a close friend of the Mozarts—Haydn must prove Leopold innocent. Or risk his brother’s ire forever!
Historical Cozy Mystery 4th in Series Setting – In Vienna’s Burgtheater in the eighteenth century. Foiled Plots Press (July 6, 2022) Print length : 348 pages Print ISBN : 9798986399508 Digital ISBN : 9798986399515 Digital ASIN : B0B34548N5
“Tustin orchestrates a concerto of intrigue and deception . . .”– Anna Lee Huber, Lady Darby Mysteries
“A standout in the genre of historical mysteries . . .”– Midwest Book Reviews
Read an excerpt:
Vienna, 1770. Joseph Haydn is in the city with his employer and his orchestra, invited by Empress Maria Theresa to perform his latest opera, Le pescatrici, in the Vienna’s Burgtheater. It is a great honor, spoiled now by the news of impresario Giuseppe Affligio’s death:
“What is the matter, brother?” Johann’s slight figure drew closer, his gray eyes wide with concern.
The music had stopped. The two singers, the entire orchestra, and his Konzertmeister, Luigi Tomasini, gazed upon Haydn expectantly.
“It is Affligio, I suppose,” Luigi guessed.
Haydn nodded, too overwhelmed to speak.
“He refuses to hire another soprano, does he not?” The Konzertmeister lowered his violin and bow and turned to face Haydn. “And rather than settle the dispute himself like a man, seeks like a coward to involve the Prince in the matter?”
It was a reasonable surmise. The impresario had been a source of constant trouble in the matter of singers. Three good sopranos were needed for the opera, but only two—one of them barely passable—had been made available to Haydn. As for the third, Affligio had been adamant that Haydn should content himself with a contralto.
“No, that is not the trouble,” Haydn corrected his Konzertmeister.
“Not Affligio, brother?” Johann looked confused. “I thought you indicated that it was.”
“It is Affligio,” Haydn said, passing the handkerchief over his brow again. “He seems to have chosen this precise moment to meet his Maker.”
Luigi’s jaw dropped open and even Johann—normally imperturbable—gaped at Haydn in stunned disbelief.
“You cannot mean the man is dead?” Johann’s eyes widened as Haydn nodded.
“Dead!” Fräulein Bologna gasped at the same time, her voice ascending to its highest range. “How can that be?”
Even Loretta Renier glanced up from the small mirror in which she had been admiring her features. The color, Haydn noticed, had fled from her cheeks.
“You must be mistaken, Herr Kapellmeister.” A small frown marked her forehead.
Haydn shook his head. “I wish that were the case. But I am afraid he is gone.”
“And His Serene Highness wishes you to examine the matter, no doubt,” Luigi said.
The crease in Loretta Renier’s smooth, white brow deepened.
“Why should His Serene Highness wish any such thing?” she demanded, looking, if anything, paler than before.
Her beautiful blue eyes moved sharply from Luigi’s handsome features to Haydn’s more homely, pockmarked face.
“If Herr Affligio has taken ill and unfortunately met his demise—”
“Nonsense!” Fräulein Bologna was quick to dismiss her colleague’s assumption. “How could the poor man have taken ill all of a sudden? He was in good spirits but two nights ago.”
“Perhaps he ingested something that disagreed with him, then,” Fräulein Renier persisted. “An unfortunate incident, a mischance. Why should anyone be expected to look into it? And why, of all people, should it be Herr Haydn?”
Luigi grinned. “Because Haydn is cursed with an unusual perspicacity when it comes to such matters. The Empress herself is aware of it. If Affligio’s killer is to be caught, then our Joseph is the man to do it.”
Loretta Renier’s lips pressed into a thin line. “Well, I don’t believe anyone killed Herr Affligio.” She drew her shoulders back and met Haydn’s gaze squarely.
“You’ll find we were all too dependent upon him to want him dead.”
The singer’s uncalled-for belligerence took Haydn aback. Loretta Renier could not have acted more put out if he had openly accused her of being a murderess.
A former journalist, Nupur Tustin misuses a Ph.D. in Communication and an M.A. in English to orchestrate mayhem in Joseph Haydn’s Austria and to paint intrigue in her Celine Skye Psychic Mysteries about a psychic who takes on the outrageous and still unsolved Gardner Museum theft! In addition to being a storyteller and avid mystery fan, Nupur is a wife and homeschooling Mom who’s recently become a Christian.
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