Vienna in Violet
Amsterdam, 1822. After performing a commissioned piece for some of Amsterdam’s wealthiest, singer Johann Michael Vogl and composer Franz Schubert become the lead murder suspects when the lady of the house is found dead. The investigation uncovers plenty of political and personal scandals, but only Vogl seems to have discerned that the song may be the key to the truth they are all looking for.
While the story begins immediately with the music’s commission by an old friend, the story slows for introductions and political chatter, eventually leading back to the party, murder, and investigation. Frank alternates points of view frequently, though easily, with most of the action centering on Vogl. We follow his actions and accounts through the commission of the song, to the realization of what may have triggered the lady’s murder.
This is an enjoyable story, filled with scheming and sly nods to music and the stage. While the song in question is fictitious, and a few phrases are inharmoniously modern for the era, Franz Schubert and Johann Michael Vogl are researched thoroughly, lending an air of authenticity to the novel that makes one feel they are reading a true account.