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Aria to Death by Nupur Tustin
A Joseph Haydn Mystery #2
Foiled Plots Press • December 1, 2017
When Monteverdi’s lost operas surface, so does a killer desperate to possess them. . .
Preoccupied with preparations for the opera season at Eszterháza, Kapellmeister Joseph Haydn receives a curious request from a friend in Vienna. Kaspar, an impoverished violinist with an ailing wife, wishes Haydn to evaluate a collection of scores reputed to be the lost operas of Monteverdi.
Haydn is intrigued until Her Majesty, Empress Maria Theresa, summons him with a similar request. Skeptical of the value of Kaspar’s bequest, Haydn nevertheless offers to help. But before he can examine the works, Kaspar is murdered—beaten and left to die in front of a wine tavern.
The police are quick to dismiss the death as a robbery gone wrong. But Haydn is not so sure. Kaspar’s keys were stolen and his house broken into. Could his bequest be genuine after all? And can Haydn find the true operas—and the man willing to kill for them?
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Kapellmeister Joseph Haydn’s friend Wilhelm Kaspar has just received a disappointing bequest—a chest of old scores. He’s on his way home when. . .
A sudden streak of light flared briefly in the darkness and a jolt as of lightning ran through Kaspar’s gaunt frame. Good God, what was that? Rough voices could be heard outside as the carriage came to an abrupt halt, the horses neighing loudly.
The carriage door burst open. A man in a black mask thrust his head in.
“What is the meaning of this?” Herr Anwalt’s voice rang out in loud outrage. “Who are you? What—”
“Quiet, you old fool!” the masked robber cut him off. He turned toward Albrecht, his dagger pressing into the young violinist’s arm. “The chest. Hand it over, my good man. Now!” he barked when Albrecht hesitated. A thin streak of blood slid onto the edge of the blade where it dug into the young man’s arm.
Albrecht grimaced. “If it is money you want. . .” He attempted to reach for the purse fastened to his waist.
“Not so fast!” the masked man snapped, slicing so deep into the wound, Albrecht yelped out in pain, simultaneously clasping his arm to stem the blood that spurted forth from the gash.
The suddenness of the attack had stupefied Wilhelm Kaspar, but the sight of the blood gushing freely from his young friend’s arm galvanized him. “Oh, give the man what he wants. It is pointless to resist,” he cried, lunging forward to grasp the chest. “Take it, then! And much good may it do you.”
He was about to push the heavy case toward the coach door when an explosive sound assailed his ears. Through the gray smoke he saw the bandit clutch his arm and fall back, cursing vociferously. He had barely grasped the situation when he felt the lawyer’s hand thrusting him back into his seat.
Herr Anwalt drew forth a second pistol and surveyed the men outside. “Unhand the coachman or the next shot will be directed at your head.” He opened his coat to reveal three more pistols in his belt. “And think not to persist in your dastardly act. I have lead aplenty for each of you.”
Growled imprecations greeted the threat, but the ruffians fell back at once. Satisfied that they were gone, the lawyer resumed his seat.
“It is just as well I thought to accompany you,” he continued once they were underway again.
“Indeed, it was.” Wilhelm Kaspar was attempting in vain to staunch the blood still spurting from Albrecht’s wound. “Who would have thought a parcel of old music would bring such trouble upon our heads?”
About the Author
A former journalist, Nupur Tustin relies upon a Ph.D. in Communication and an M.A. in English to orchestrate fictional mayhem. The Haydn mysteries are a result of her life-long passion for classical music and its history. Childhood piano lessons and a 1903 Weber Upright share equal blame for her original compositions, available on ntustin.musicaneo.com.
Her writing includes work for Reuters and CNBC, short stories and freelance articles, and research published in peer-reviewed academic journals. She lives in Southern California with her husband, three rambunctious children, and a pit bull.
Free Haydn Mystery at Taste of Murder: http://www.ntustin.com/tasteofmurder
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