Mozart’s Last Aria

Written by Matt Rees
Review by Juliet Waldron

Cross-genre novels used to be considered unpublishable, but no more. Mozart’s Last Aria could be defined as historical mystery laced with strong threads of fantasy, paranormal and otherwise. This elegantly written and thoroughly researched crime story of 18th-century Vienna has many beauties despite the fact that the main character, Madame Maria Anna Berchtold von Sonnenburg, a.k.a. Mozart’s sister, is unbelievably cast in the role of bold detective. The murder to be solved is, as the title indicates, the murder of her famous brother, Wolfgang.

Whether foul play was the cause of his sudden demise can be argued by medical experts and conspiracy theorists of every stripe and has been since the composer went into a pauper’s grave in 1791. My reservations about this otherwise skillfully executed story arise from knowing these people and the facts of the case far too well to suspend belief sufficiently to accept a portrayal of the staid Baroness von Sonnenburg as the kind of woman who might throw her stays over the sofa and confront knife-wielding assassins in midnight streets. However, if you love an intricate history-mystery and aren’t that familiar with the people involved, or if you simply have a passion for conspiracies that involve secret societies, international intrigue, and the cynical machinations of the powerful, you will probably enjoy this novel very much.