Review for The Stradivarius
Blurb: When a surprise inheritance and whirlwind romance offer Mae a chance to escape her repressive aunt, she’s all too eager to elope and start life anew in her childhood home. But when she and her new husband arrive, the towering Victorian sits in disrepair, and Mae learns that her father’s decade-old, unsolved murder is still a source of rumor and speculation in town.
Leading the charge to unravel the mystery surrounding her father’s death is Ollie, a vibrant genderqueer and an outsider in their hometown. Sure that solving the cold case will land them a coveted job in the police department, Ollie gains access to the Victorian by agreeing to do maintenance work on the property.
Inside, Mae is taunted by a feminine specter, soft voices from empty rooms, and distinct melodies of Lady Paola: the priceless, Stradivarius violin stolen the night of her father’s murder.
Forte, mezzo-forte, the measured, andante cadence.
Her hiss, her pull, her scream.
Mae fears the house is haunted by her father’s spirit, her husband believes she’s going the way of her mother–slipping into madness, but Ollie suspects something more sinister is at play. If Ollie and Mae can’t work together to uncover the Victorian’s secrets, Mae will join her mother in an institution or her father in the grave.
Review: All Mae wants to do is escape her life. When a gorgeous older man named Carter sweeps her off her feet and she acquires an inheritance from her father, she can only see good things happening. Even when things start not to feel right, Mae ignores it until she starts to hear music in the old Victorian house and misplaces things she was sure she didn't lose. Her father's murder haunts her in more ways than one, and when her new husband tries to get her committed, Mae seeks help in her new friend Ollie who is determined to solve the mystery. Yet will their investigation lead to their own murders?
This is a fantastic LGBTQ+ psychological suspense mystery. I will even add that it feels like a cozy mystery since it takes place in a small town with the cast of characters and suspects being there. The atmosphere was set perfectly in the big old Victorian house with its creaks, cracks, and secrets. Never mind that a murder was committed there and Mae keeps having flashbacks about it and her life with her father in the house to add to that creepy feel. While I did figure out the mystery, it wasn't about me trying to unravel it. It was about Mae doing so and how everything is affecting her emotionally and psychologically. This story is her journey, through her happy and terrified moments, and those that are hazy and others way too clear. Not only is she trying to find out what's going on, but she trying to find herself as well. Ollie was immediately likable, and I loved them as support for Mae. They were reliable and never faltering, and that was what Mae needed. A vividly real and emotional standalone thriller that I highly recommend to readers of this genre.