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Joss, Morag - Funeral Music
Hardcover: 280 pages (Nov. 1998) Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General ISBN: 0340718455

FUNERAL MUSIC introduces world renowned cellist Sara Selkirk. Sara lives near Bath and the death of her lover, Matteo, a year ago has left her able to play with precision but without passion. A charity concert at the Pump Room is to be Sara's first public performance since Matteo's death. On the day of the concert, she has a couple of hours to spare and together with her friend Sue, they visit the Assembly Rooms for a Healing Arts fair. The fair is officially launched by the new Director of Museums, Matthew Sawyer, who makes a disastrous and offensive speech. Shortly after, Sara then witnesses a tense exchange between her friend Olivia, the deputy Director, and Matthew Sawyer. Sara then returns to the Pump Room for her performance. The concert goes well but Sara leaves as soon as possible.

The next morning, Sara discovers she has left her belt back at the Pump Room. Returning, she wanders around whilst the doorman unlocks the various rooms. Drawn to the Sacred Spring she looks over the railing and discovers the body of Matthew Sawyer. Matthew Sawyer had certainly ruffled some feathers in his short tenure but enough for someone to murder him? How had the murderer got it? The building was locked and alarmed using the Director's own codes. A puzzling situation for DCI Andrew Poole and one he discusses with his music teacher, Sara Selkirk.

As long as you're not expecting too much mystery or indeed investigation from Sara, this is a really enjoyable book. Bath is very well drawn and the music descriptions make you want to listen to all the pieces mentioned. Sara listens and talks to the members of her close knit community, but does not actively investigate, though it is she who finally puts all the pieces together. The story is told from multiple points of view so the reader gets to know several other characters sufficiently well to become caught up in their lives and decisions. In addition, there is a tentative romantic interest between pupil and teacher. A very assured and well-written debut and I can't wait to read the rest of the series (two more at the time of writing).

Karen Meek, England
December 2003

Karen blogs at
Euro Crime.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 12/04/2008 14:37