Dead Ringer by Sarah Fox was published in paperback on June 30, by Witness Impulse. It’s the first in the Music Lover’s Mystery series featuring Midori Bishop, a violinist in the Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra. I love books that surround the music and art industry. Probably because I personally have no talent in either field. There is a certain amount of romance and mystery that surrounds the arts, and many artists live unconventional lives. Putting these elements into a mystery series makes a book a must read for me.
In Dead Ringer, Midori and her orchestra are practicing in an old church basement due to the renovations being done at the center where they usually practice and perform. She is also hiding a secret from her fellow musicians, and we learn early on that she is dating the maestro, Hans Clausen. This becomes a bit harder to hide when she finds the body of one of the cellists, strangled to death in the staircase of the church. The maestro seems to be one of the suspects and she feels compelled to stand by his side.
As Midori snoops around and investigates, she finds that the killer doesn’t appreciate her interference. After befriending a young girl who had been taking cello lessons from the dead man, they are both trapped in a bathroom at the church where a fire breaks out. Her hands are damaged in the fire, and Midori can’t practice for a little while, which makes her all the more keen to investigate. This proves to be very dangerous, especially as she gets closer and closer to identifying the murderer.
I really enjoyed this book. I liked the characters, they were well written and just quirky enough to seem like real people. Sidekicks are really half the fun in books. A great main character with a sub-par sidekick can make things uninteresting. Midori’s sidekick was her best friend JT, a musician, composer, and sound engineer. He tries to keep her safe and discourage her from snooping, even though he’s somewhat unsuccessful. They have a great relationship that I can see might or might not lead to romance in the future.
I don’t read a lot of books that take place in Vancouver, so that was also a huge plus for me. To experience a new city is always fun, and since each location has its own personality, it can really add to the feel of a story. The mystery was well done and I followed all the clues as they were laid out and was still surprised in the end. It was a great example of a whodunit, where you knew someone in the story was the culprit, but you just had to narrow down who that was.