Sunday, February 24, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: THE ORCHESTRA MURDERS by RENA FRUCHTER


The Orchestra Murders:
     A Cynthia Masters Mystery

by

Rena Fruchter

About the book . . . 

Superstar conductor Sir Gregory Langhorne and his globe-trotting, violin-soloist son Jonathan Langhorne are the best of friends—until a brutal murder shatters their lives and Jonathan becomes the prime suspect.

Six years later, Sir Gregory is now the music director of the world famous Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and has finally reconciled with his son Jonathan, just as members of the orchestra are being killed off one by one.

The challenge for brilliant young hotshot Philadelphia Detective Cynthia Masters is to solve not only the orchestra murders, but the question of why murder seems to follow the Langhornes. Has Masters finally met her match—a case that cannot be solved? Set in London and Philadelphia, this dramatic story of murder, infidelity, and the abuse of money and power establishes Cynthia Masters as a world-class detective in this thrilling and unusual mystery.

About the author . . . 

Rena Fruchter is the author of three books—two critically acclaimed books in the biographical genre—Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, and I’m Chevy Chase…and you’re not. And now, her exciting and soon to be released book: The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery

Ms. Fruchter is a renowned pianist, writer and educator, and director of an arts organization. Her performances have taken her throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and the Far East in both solo and ensemble appearances. She made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of six, performing the Haydn Piano Concerto in D Major. Appearances with other orchestras and on radio and television followed. At age eleven, she gave her first performance with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler at the Esplanade, later returning to perform the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall.

For twelve years, Rena Fruchter was a music columnist for the New York Times. She was also a music critic and an arts commentator for New Jersey Public Television, the London Music Correspondent for the Boston Herald and a contributor to many other publications. Her radio interview series, “Backstage Portraits,” was broadcast throughout the United States.

A graduate of Brandeis University, Rena also holds degrees in both piano performance and pedagogy from the Royal College of Music in London, England, where she studied with Louis Kentner and Lamar Crowson. She also studied with two distinguished Nadias–Nadia Boulanger in France and Nadia Reisenberg in New York.

Rena is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Music For All Seasons, an organization that presents musical programs for people confined in institutions including hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and special facilities for children. The organization also runs “Voices of Valor,” which provides workshops for veterans to write and record their own songs. The organization was co-founded by Rena and her husband, Brian Dallow. Dudley Moore was the Founding Advisory Board President of Music For All Seasons, which is now in its 21st year.

Rena is CEO of Martine Avenue Productions, a company co-created with Dudley Moore to bring his musical works to the public. The company has produced seven CDs, the latest, the two-CD set Dudley Down Under—unabridged, the complete live Dudley Moore Trio concert at Sydney Town Hall (Australia) on May 2, 1978. This CD is produced in honor of Dudley on the tenth anniversary of his death.

The company donates a portion of its proceeds to two charities designated by Dudley—the international research fund of the US-based “Cure PSP” and “Music For All Seasons, Inc.”

With long-time friend and colleague Dudley Moore, Rena toured the United States and Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East in two-piano performances.

Rena Fruchter is the author of the critically acclaimed book Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, published in 2004 by Ebury/Random House/UK and subsequently published in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

Her popular book I’m Chevy Chase…And You’re Not, an innovative biography presenting the American comedy icon in a fascinating and revealing look at his life and work, was published in the UK and US. The only authorized biography of Chevy Chase, it provides a comprehensive view of the brilliant and complex actor, comedian and writer.

Her new book has just been published and is called The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery.

Rena is married to Brian Dallow, and they are the parents of four adult children, including a set of triplets. They live in New Jersey.

www.renafruchterbooks.com


Reader review . . . 

Sir Gregory Langhorne, conductor of the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, and his estranged son Jonathan have just reconciled when someone begins to murder the members of the orchestra.  Music critic Jeff Sadlers is newly married, Edmond Sutherland carries an old grudge, and Alice Landersol has a secret in her past.  It's up to Detective Cynthia Masters to determine the common denominator.

To be truthful, the first half of the book seemed to lag at times, with the narrative jumping back and forth between the back stories of the characters and the murder.  Between the two problems, I had trouble staying focused and almost gave up on the book.  Fortunately, I toughed it out.  The story gains momentum in the second half and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.  It was nice to see the author pull all the loose ends together at the end of the story.

Certain characters were better written than others.  Sir Gregory Langhorne and Jonathan really didn't seem all that real to me, and I had trouble caring what happened in their storyline.  Debbie, on the other hand, was a complex gal.  She went from being a one-dimensional character at the beginning to being the break-out character of the book.

As stated earlier, the book has a slow start, but is well worth the effort.  For a mystery lover, this is a great read.

Strong language; sexual situations.

4 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Pump Up Your Book book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  

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2013 A-Z Reading Challenge


Do you love to read? You know I do! Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book is hosting a reading challenge for 2013.This challenge will run from January 1st, 2012 until December 31st, 2013.

You can join anytime. It’s an alphabet challenge!!! The challenge is to read one book starting with every letter of the alphabet.


So there are two different ways you can set up your own A-Z Reading Challenge.


A - Make a list on your blog from A-Z. Throughout the year, as you go along, add the books you are reading to the list. Towards the end of the year, you can check and see which letters you are missing and find books to fit.


OR


B - Make a list now of 26 books, picking one for each letter of the alphabet. For example: A – The Azalea Assault B- Blue Monday C – Crops and Robbers D – A Deadly Grind etc.



Books can be read in any order and all formats – print – e-book – audio – are acceptable for this challenge!
Ready to join??
Sign up at Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book and grab the button.


Non-bloggers you can join too! Just keep track any way you wish and enter a link below if available or sign up in the comment section. You can even set up a special shelf on Goodreads to help you keep track!


Need some help finding titles to match the alphabet –
Jandy’s Reading Room has a wonderful list to get you started.

Here is my list: 
A AN ANGEL BY HER SIDE - RUTH REID - 4 stars
B
C CHRISTMAS WITH THE FIRST LADIES - COLLEEN CHRISTIAN BURKE
D THE DILEMMA OF CHARLOTTE FARROW- OLIVIA NEWPORT
E
F
G
HANNAH'S VOICE - ROB GRINDSTAFF
I ICONIC SPIRITS: AN INTOXICATING HISTORY - MARK SPIVAK
J
K KILLER RATINGS - LISA SEIDMAN
L TO LOVE A WOLF - BK WALKER
M MY NAME IS MARY SUTTER - ROBIN OLIVEIRA
N NEVER LET YOU GO - ERIN HEALY
O O! JACKIE - MERCEDES KING
P PERIL: FROM JACKBOOTS TO JACK BENNY - PEARL GOODMAN - 4 STARS
Q QUEEN OF THE AIR: A TRUE STORY OF LOVE AND TRAGEDY AT THE CIRCUS - DEAN JENSEN
R RAISING CUBBY-JOHN ELDER ROBISON
S SECRETLY SMITTEN - COLLEEN COBLE, DENISE HUNTER, KRISTEN BILLERBECK, & DIANN HUNT

T THE POSTMISTRESS-SARAH BLAKE
U UNCONQUERED: THE SAGA OF COUSINS JERRY LEE LEWIS, JIMMY SWAGGART, AND MICKY GILLEY - J.D. DAVIS
V VANISHED-IRENE HANNON - 5 STARS
W WHEN THE HEART HEALS - ANN SHOREY - 4 STARS

X
Y
Z

I will be updating my list and will keep it posted on here. Check back to see what I've read, and comment and let me know when you join the challenge. Here's to a year of good reading!


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Friends are like walls.  Sometimes you lean on them, and sometimes it's good just knowing they are there.  ~Unknown

 

5 comments:

Teddy Rose said...

I really like the cover. Great review!

Rebecca Graf said...

Another one I'd have to read. :)

Michelle Cornwell-Jordan said...

Insightful review....look forward to seeing the growth of the "break out character":O)

Sounds like a book that I would like, I love mysteries:)
Thanks for sharing!

tgleichner said...

Thanks for being part of her tour!

THE SELF-TAUGHT COOK said...

Thank you for all your comments. I really enjoyed this tour.

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