First Sentence: Gethsemane Brown leaned closer to the windshield.
Conductor and violinist Gethsemane Brown has come to Ireland for a dream job. Her luggage lost, her money gone, the job given to someone else, she has few options but to accept the challenging job of turning a group of school boys into an award-winning orchestra. The good news is that the job comes with a charming Irish cottage to housesit and the ghost of the former owner who presents her second challenge; provide him innocent of killing his wife and committing suicide.
Before automatically giving this a pass due to being a cozy and/or a paranormal, one might want to stop and reconsider. In fact, if one is old enough, think a bit on “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” but also a bit of “Midsomer Murders.” There are many things with which one can identify in this opening. And that’s just the start.
It’s hard to imagine a better setting or name for a protagonist. And what a wonderful protagonist is Gethsemane. Learning the history of her family goes a long way in explaining who she is and her behavior.
The dialogue is wonderful—“Well, which is it?” Eamon frowned down at her. “Ghost? Trick of the light? Or maybe a psychotic break? Or drunk on my bourbon?” enhanced by excellent analogies—“The theater’s Victorian beauty reminded her of Miss Havisham, past her prime but still proud.”—and descriptions—“She closed her eyes and inhaled the almond-vanilla smell of old books, one of her favorite scents.” There is also a lovely little change up to a classic riff on “The Godfather”—“Remind me why you come to me whenever you need help with something dangerous.” “Frankie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” “Casablanca explains every situation.”
The only slight criticism was that the ending seemed a bit weak. It tried a bit too hard to lead one to the next book, but that’s being picky.
“Murder in G Major” was an unexpected read, much more of a traditional mystery than a cozy: delightful characters, excellent sense of place, compelling author’s voice, and well-done pacing and flow to a thoroughly enjoyable story.
MURDER IN G MAJOR (Para Mys- Gethsemane Brown- Ireland-Contemp) – VG+
Gordon, Alexia – 1st in series
Henery Press – September 2016