Dead, Mr Mozart

3.25 based on 16 ratings & 3 reviews on

It is 1820, and George IV has just assumed the throne. An ageing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is intrigued by the prospect of a coronation, scenting rich pickings. As a child he had visited England with his family in 1764, but instead of returning to Austria and an early death (as orthodox music history relates), they stayed on, deluded by a piece of royal generosity – the result of a misunderstanding of guttural royal English. Now Mozart conducts his own meretricious rubbish at a London theatre, but dreams of having one more ‘real’ opera staged before he dies.

However, the trial of George IV’s wayward queen for adultery, before the Lords, leads Mozart into dangerous – and indeed murderous – waters. Insulted (most graciously) by the King, the composer finds himself involved in disposing of an inconvenient corpse and initiating enquiries to uncover the murderer . . . a matter which seems of remarkably little consequence to everyone else.

This diverting and perplexing piece of alternative history is a delightful addition to our knowledge of the great composer, and to the output of Bernard Bastable, also known to crime fans as Robert Barnard.

‘Not only fetchingly funny, but also craftily plotted.’ The Scotsman

‘Great fun is had with real and imagined historical personages.’ Irish Times

‘Tremendous period skulduggery’ Sunday Times

About Bernard Bastable

Bernard Bastable is the pseudonym of Robert Barnard. Barnard lived in Leeds, was born in Essex and educated at Balliol. He had a distinguished career as an academic before he became a full-time writer. His first crime novel, Death of an Old Goat, was written while he was professor of English at the University of Tromso in Norway, the worlds most northerly university. He was a writer of great versatility, from the light and satirical tone of his earlier books to the more psychological preoccupations of later ones, such as A Fatal Attachment. Under the name of Bernard Bastable he also wrote novels featuring Mozart as a detective, and was the author of many short stories. He created several detectives, including Perry Trethowan and Charlie Peace. Robert Barnard said he wrote 'only to entertain'. He regarded Agatha Christie as his ideal crime writer and published an appreciation of her work, A Talent to Deceive, as well as books on Dickens, a history of English literature and nearly thirty mysteries. Robert Barnard was the winner of the 2003 CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for a lifetime of achievement.

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Books by Bernard Bastable

Too Many Notes, Mr Mozart
Too Many Notes, Mr Mozart