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The Quartet Murders by J R Ellis - Review

Sunday, July 18, 2021


Things have got a little bit out of sync on my blog so it'll look like I read this only a couple of books after I read The Body in the Dales. But I often have to swap things around for my blog tours, so I had had more books in the middle, I promise! But even so, I wanted to get on with the next one in the series because I'd really enjoyed the first one. 

So in this one, DCI Oldroyd is off to Halifax from his home in Harrogate to see a string quartet play a show at the Red Chapel. They've just finished the second movement, around 9pm in the gig, when the violinist, Hans Muller, is shot dead from the back of the building. One of the organisers of the gig, Frank Dancek, immediately rushes to try to find the gunman, but comes up empty. 

Muller was the owner of a very rare Stradivarius violin, and it is stolen from next to his body in the chaos. Oldroyd is asked by the local DCI, Armitage, to stay around and help solve the crime. He asks Carter to come from Harrogate too, and the three men set about investigating Muller and anyone who may have had a grudge against him.

Then a second member of the quartet is killed, and the remaining members get worried. They are keeping things from the police. It then becomes obvious that this second member of the four stole the priceless violin, but it has now disappeared. The crimes must be connected, and there are plenty of suspicious people about, as well as lots of collectors of rare instruments who would love to get their hands on the Stradivarius. 

I loved that part of this was set in Halifax, which I know somewhat, as I could imagine exactly where the detectives were. I liked the mystery over the violin and the history behind some instruments like that. I liked the political nature of some of it. I enjoy Oldroyd a lot, but I wish we'd had more Stephanie Johnson in this book (she's back in Harrogate). I'm giving this four out of five. 

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