The Glass Harmonica by Richard Milton

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And we’re off! First review of the blog and luckily it’s a really great book!

It’s a little difficult to describe this book without giving too much away. I won this book through a LibraryThing giveaway but by the time I got around to reading it I completely forgot what it was about so I went in cold, which may be the ideal way to approach this book.

Definitely avoid Goodreads because it tells you everything! The gist is that Benjamin Franklin (yes, that Benjamin Franklin) left an account with the Bartholemew bank that is now coming to maturity, worth a mere BILLION dollars. This is to be inherited by a secret musical society and his surviving heirs, one of whom is Julia Franklin, a famed pianist having increasing trouble getting over her stage fright. As a vague sum-up, this inheritance will cause a lot of trouble when some try to take advantage of the situation. Dun dun dun!

I may be a little biased because I read this book after one with poorly developed characters, but Milton’s characters were such a welcome relief! Each of them felt like real people (even sometimes doing stupid things like real people). The author definitely has a talent for creating realistic characters, and ones that are enjoyable even they’re villains.

As Julia is our main character, there is a lot of focus on the piano and the author uses incredibly beautiful prose to describe her playing. It almost sounds like he may be a pianist himself! While it sometimes feels like overkill, it’s certainly inspiring.

All said, I really enjoyed the book. Though it’s billed as a crime mystery novel, it also smartly plays with thriller and fantastical elements, especially surrounding the intrigue of the glass harmonica. I half-expected that the book would lead into a magical telling but we stayed fairly firmly in the real-world. The mix definitely put it in its own category though, so it stands out in the crime genre. There are so many twists in this story and I have to say, I saw none of them coming. When we were given a new clue, I was like “Oh of course, they’re the killer!”. But then we were given another clue and I realized I was totally wrong. Milton got me every time!

Crime lovers should definitely give this book a try for a new take on a favourite genre. I’d also recommend it to music lovers; a lot of the book is devoted to the beauties of different instruments and the pressures musicians face.

A very intelligent read! I hope there is more for Julia Franklin as I’d love to read a sequel!

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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