THE MASTERSINGER FROM MINSK
by Morley Torgov
If you like a little history, especially of the musical variety, with your mystery, you'll enjoy The Mastersinger From Minsk, the second outing for Morley Torgov's Inspector Preiss.
The setting is Munich, 1868 and someone has threatened the eminent composer Richard Wagner with ruination at the premiere of his latest work, an opera. Fearing the worst, Inspector Preiss is called in to track down the culprit. A good thing, too because suddenly the murders start happening.
Richard Wagner, known for his short temper and arrogance, seems to have no shortage of possible enemies...from the rejected tenor to the beautiful Cornelia who claims to be pregnant by Wagner, even the mastersinger Schramm begins to look suspicious. Preiss, with his immense knowledge of the music wolrd is the ideal sleuth in this case but he's also frustrated by a jealous colleague and his visiting lady friend, herself a singer who agrees to help but may be getting a bit too involved.
Torgov is a writer who knows his musicians and he does a wonderful job of portraying Richard Wagner. The entire cast of the opera and those inhabiting the police world provide an added dimension to this delightful mystery. Murder in A-Major was the first Inspector Preiss mystery. I've heard this one may be the last. If that's true, it's too bad.