Crime That Strikes a Chord: Musical Mysteries


The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb

Here’s a mystery book that isn’t about murder, has a fantastic narrator for the audiobook (JD Jackson), and takes you into the world of a classical musician.

I enjoyed this book so much! First, because I loved going into Ray McMillian’s life and world as a Black classical musician. Secondly, because I love JD Jackson’s voice and the audiobook plays little bits of music between the sections that were just lovely and the right amount to give a taste without making you feel like you wanted to fast forward.

We start with Ray McMillian having his violin stolen before the international Tchaikovsky Competition—a massive deal!—and not just any violin but a priceless Stradivarius. Ray immediately thinks one of two families must be responsible for the theft, one of the families being his own (I know!). From there we watch as Ray in the present has to find a way to continue practicing for this life-changing opportunity while also helping investigators and doing his own sleuthing to get back his violin. We also watch in the past how he acquires the violin and has to face immeasurable obstacles in order to continue on his path of wanting to become a professional musician.

I loved Ray, and he is a much better person than I’d have been in many situations, and greatly enjoyed getting to know him. If you’re looking for something that isn’t violent (except for a historical letter that depicts slavery), and want to get taken into the world of classical music, pick this one up. Bonus: that the author is writing from experience and I recommend reading the author’s note at the end.

(TW cancer death/ recounts cruel violence against enslaved people)



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