Too Many Notes, Mr Mozart

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The Mr Mozart of Bernard Bastable’s Dead, Mr Mozart was a German child prodigy who stayed on in England after his visit of 1764, cursing the luck that made him a despised hack in a foreign country, instead of being cherished and honoured in his native Austria. Then he found himself involved, willy-nilly, in the sordid business of George IV’s divorce from Queen Caroline.

Now, in 1830, with Wolfgang Gottlieb (he prefers the German form of his name) Mozart still remarkably spry for his age, it seems things are looking up: he is asked to give piano lessons to the young Princess Victoria.

He is less sure of his good fortune, however, when the princess, during her first lesson, makes a most unusual demand of him. And things go from bad to dangerous when she becomes Heir Apparent to the throne, and seems destined to be the victim of a tug-of-love between the new King, William IV, and her unwise mother, the Duchess of Kent.

When the King’s brood of illegitimate children, the FitzClarences, join in the situation rapidly gets alarming overtones, and when one of the guests at a Windsor Castle reception finds that drinking out of other people’s glasses can have fatal consequences, Mr Mozart has to face up to the fact that someone may have designs on his rather delightful new pupil.

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

Dead, Mr Mozart
Dead, Mr Mozart