Book Reviews

Death Notes (A Phineas Fox Mystery) by Sarah Rayne

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List Price: £25.32

 

Hardcover: 256 Pages.

Published: 30 September 2016 by Severn House Publishers

Edition: First World Publication

ISBN: 0727886606

EAN: 9780727886606

Phineas Fox has mixed feelings when he s asked to research the infamous 19th-century violinist Roman Volf for a TV documentary. Hanged for his part in the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, Volf was a notorious criminal and womaniser, whose glittering talent was undermined by his scandalous private life. However, on uncovering evidence which suggests that Volf could not have been involved in the Tsar s murder, Phin s investigations lead him to the west coast of Ireland and a series of intriguing, interlocking mysteries reaching from 1881 to the present day.

Was Roman Volf executed for something he didn t do? And what is his connection with the reclusive Maxim Volf now living in County Galway? Phin s enquiries will unearth a number of dark secrets which lurk below the surface of the quiet Irish village of Kilcarne."

Reviews

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Debra Found

Lots of Threads

This is the first in a series of books containing the music researcher and writer, Phineas Fox. Surprisingly he has quite a back seat in this book considering he is the main character who will be recurring in a series of books. We learn very little about Phineas Fox apart from his job, he is single and he lives in a flat which is slightly beyond his means. We do learn a lot about his rugby playing, party giving neighbour who likes to sing in the shower!

There are several threads in this book which weave backwards and fowards over time.We have letters and information on violinist Roman Volf, the musician that Phineas is supposed to be writing about. There are also sections from the memoirs of Mortimer Quince a generation later with his rather inflated view of his music hall singing talents! Seemingly unlinked we have Bea who is returning to Ireland where he beloved daughter and husband died. There she intertwines with another seemingly unrelated thread of Jessica Cullen with he aged and frightened aunts. These do all come together at the end with a twist that I hadn't seen coming.

This is a complicated book with so many threads but I managed to keep control of them all in my mind showing that the book was well constructed. It is a great shame that we leart far more about characters such as Bea, Maxim Volf and Jessica Cullen than we do about Phineas. At the moment Phineas seems to be quite a bland character who seems quite nice - as you can tell I didn't get to know him at all.

I did enjoy this book with its weaving of many threads. I felt there were a few things towards the end which we a little rushed and I would have liked them to be a little calmer to give me time to properly process all of the connections. I do look forward to meeting Phineas again & hope to get to know him better in subsequent books.

 
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