As bodies start dropping like rose petals, Gethsemane must judge the other suspects and find the real killer. Or rose bushes won’t be the only things dead-headed in Dunmullach.
The cover and the title of this book are what drew me in. Fatality in F. . .oh, how musically delicious. Any author who can incorporate music into their work gains my immediate attention. This author, Alexia Gordon does not disappoint in book number four of her musical mystery series. Here’s an example of what I mean by that: “Eerie, yet majestic, notes meant to evoke the Russian mountain spirit who protected the mines and their underground treasures welled up from the violin and spilled over onto the stage and into the auditorium.” I love that imagery.
Not only does Ms. Gordon expound upon the emotional rifts and swells of music but she uses it as an instrumental background in such a way that you almost feel as if you are watching a movie rather than reading a book.
In this book, former world renowned classical violinist and current music director at the local boy’s school, finds herself embroiled in investigating a murder within the rosarian community, as she prepares to conduct the Dunmullach Village Orchestra in the opening and awards ceremonies of the upcoming garden show, hosted by The International Rose Hybridizers’ Association. All right. . .murder. . .music and flowers. . .now I’m really interested.
Investigative Mysteries. . .How I love them and I have read quite a few. My favorite sleuths were the perky super snooper Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie’s elderly nose around Miss Marple and of course, the master of all consulting detectives, Sherlock Holmes. I must say that our heroine, the extraordinary Gethsemane Brown is a solid mix of all three. She’s older than Nancy by about 20 years and much, much younger than Miss Marple but she’s just as persistent as those two ladies and just as logical as dear old Sherlock.
There are so many great characters in this book who assist “Fearless Brown”, as her friends sometimes call her, with the many investigations which manage to present themselves to her but I will mainly concentrate on Gethsemane and her ghostly protector for my review. I apologize for that but the dynamics between them really gets your imagination going.
So. . .about Gethsemane’s ghost. . .Eamon McCarthy, inhabits the ancient lighthouse at Carraigfaire that Ms. Brown calls home. But for a few exceptions, he can also travel nearly anywhere he’d visited while alive. She became acquainted with the lovely spirit in a previous book while researching his death. Everyone had suspected suicide but Gethsemane proved he was poisoned to death with digoxin, a pharmaceutical derived from the beautiful bell-shaped purple flowers of the foxglove plant. Did I mention the author has a medical background? It really shows here and many other places in the book.
While reading about Gethsemane Brown and Eamon McCarthy, I just couldn’t stop thinking back to one of my favorite television programs from the late 60’s called The Ghost and Mrs Muir. That comedic series was based on a romantic fantasy movie that was based on a very popular cozy romance book (they weren’t called that back then, though) of the same title which was written by Josephine Leslie under the pseudonym of R. A. Dick.
Gethesemane and Eamon share a seaside home along with many private moments and revealing conversations, just like Mrs. Muir and her Captain Greg. I don’t believe Captain Greg was able to leave the confines of Gull Cottage, though.
In addition to being able to travel, Eamon can move things around with his thoughts and can throw explosive orb blasts at evil doers. On the domestic front, he can brew up a mean pot of coffee or serve a whisky neat. He is even capable of learning new skills like how to maneuver through the world wide web to social media groups like Murderphile dot com. In fact, it is that new skill that leads G. Brown to one of the biggest clues for solving the mysterious murders in this book.
Like Captain Greg, Eamon experiences all of the emotions of a flesh and blood entity. He doesn’t always use words to express them. Many times they are manifested as different colored auras. There’s impatient turquoise, worried saffron, morose dull yellow, pink with embarrassment and unamused mauve. Eamon bristles umber when annoyed. His aura is radiant with blue fury when angry and when fearful he glows full-on terrified purple. Hmmm. . .I wonder what color love would cause his aura to appear? Will the author let us know in her next book?
Another big difference between Captain Greg and Eamon is that Gethsemane’s spectral friend reaches out to touch her and often. That is something that never occurred between Mrs. Muir and hers. The effects and powers of his touches range from affection (causing only a mild spark to flash through her) to desperation (literally throwing her over a cliff to save her from gunfire). It was the constant touching that had me wondering if there might be some hopeless romance budding between the two of them. Though they exist in two different dimensions they almost live as a married couple. As long as Eamon is in her life, I can’t see her ever letting another man get very close.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to steer you in the wrong direction. This is not a love story. It is an all out who-dun-it murder mystery with lots of exciting events throughout. I highly recommend you read this book or series in any order you please. Fatality in F certainly stands on its own but you might want to start with Murder In G Major (#1). Then, move on to Death In D Minor (#2), followed by Killing In C Sharp (#3) and wrap it all up with book #4. Which ever route you decide on, you will be as impressed with Alexia Gordon’s story-telling abilities as I am.