When murder invades the opera stage, scandal isn’t far behind . . Charged with bringing Archduke Ferdinand and Maria Beatrice together, Joseph Haydn has his hands full. Neither bride nor imperial bridegroom is particularly eager to wed. Then an extortion note addressed to the young Archduke surfaces. Hours later, Lucia Pacelli, Haydn’s gorgeous prima donna—and the suspected author of the note—is murdered. Forced to investigate, Haydn is nevertheless troubled. Does the young Archduke harbor secrets so dark, he had to resort to murder?
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“If you love historical settings and cozy mysteries, this one is for you!”
– Nellie’s Book Nook
“A standout in the genre of historical mysteries . . .”
– Midwest Book Reviews
“Tustin’s intricate plotting, slyly held-back bits of information. . . kept me in exquisite suspense. . .”
– Words and Reviews
I love the story! The characters in this series are so entertaining and I especially love their interaction; including the musicians, the maids, the royalty, the townspeople, and, of course, Hayden, his wife, and his brother. Independently they investigate all the court intrigue that constantly seems to be everywhere, including finding all kinds of clues that could result in solving a murder. Hayden is brilliant and so very talented with his music, but, as usual, he again is tasked by Her Majesty to be responsible for an important family issue – in this case, to make sure that her grandson is married even though the bride is hesitant, and the groom is guilty about a previous secret affair resulting in a child that no one knows about. All parties are difficult to monitor and keep on track. As with Hayden’s other adventures, he again has issues with his musical company, this time with the sopranos in his production. When the main soprano is murdered, it is found out that she was pregnant and might have taken herbs to end the pregnancy. The mystery deepens and all the usual characters are on the hunt for clues and suspects. While Hayden is busy making sure the wedding takes place, at the same time he believes that the wrong person has been accused and will be tried for the murder. Is Her Majesty’s grandson a murderer? Is Hayden’s wife a criminal since she provides herb mixtures to help people, or, as suspected, to abort pregnancies? Also, at the same time, the bride has decided not to go through with the marriage. Working with clues from everyone around him, is it possible for Hayden to put together the story of the crime and protect the grandson and his wife, find the real murderer, and resolve the mystery? Can he work with the bride to convince her that she should marry? An excellent story and I look forward to the next in the series from this very talented author.