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The Alto Wore Tweed (The Liturgical Mystery #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  724 Ratings  ·  131 Reviews
Hayden Konig is the police chief in the small Appalachian town of St. Germaine, North Carolina. His part-time job, however, is serving as the choir director and organist at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, but he’s also determined to write the next great hard-boiled mystery novel a la Raymond Chandler — a liturgical mystery novel with no real plot, but enough bad prose to ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by St. James Music Press
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Jul 03, 2011 Eric_W rated it really liked it
Our hero, Hayden, is a chief of detectives (the only detective in town) by day and the rest of the time choir director at the local Episcopal church with a master’s in music composition and a degree in law enforcement.. He drives a ‘62 Chevy that has rolled over the odometer four times, according to the notches he keeps on the steering wheel, and it’s fully equipped with blue lights, siren, and really expensive Marantz stereo speakers. He keeps his ticket pad in the office.

He had a standard way
Sep 07, 2011 Jon rated it liked it
I almost gave up on this one after 25 pages--the quality of writing seriously put me off. Then I noticed that most GoodReads reviewers gave it four stars, so I gave it some more time. I'm glad I did. Eventually I got on the author's wavelength and realized that he had the same off-beat sense of humor as Carl Hiaasen or Christopher Moore (The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove). The writing improved as it went along, and apparently it gets quite good, since a later book in the series (The Soprano Wor ...more
Dec 26, 2013 Cphe rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy, mystery, humour
There is a lot to like about this this light hearted cozy mystery. I very much enjoyed the homage to the wonderful noir detective stories of past years.

The mystery component was well presented but the main character Detective Hayden Konig was a mite too smug for my reading enjoyment and took a bit of gloss off this cozy mystery. I wasn't enarmoured with his "detecting" at times or with his ability to let some suspects off the hook.

But overall I did enjoy this light hearted cozy, often quirky mys
Apr 06, 2015 Helen rated it really liked it
There aren't many cosy mysteries written by men but this series shows great promise. This and a Christmas one were loaned to me by a friend after I told her about the Bach centred one I'd just finished. The titles for all the books in the series have a singer type noun followed by "wore" and what they wore. The story that goes with the title is the Raymond Chandler style mystery the narrator (police detective/choir master and organist) Hayden Konig is currently working on while a real mystery is ...more
Patricia Rockwell
Dec 17, 2011 Patricia Rockwell rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely the type of mystery I enjoy most. The main character spends his time attempting to solve a mystery--not trying to elude some bad guy. There are a lot of unique-even quirky--suspects from which to choose. The plot is complicated and there are a host of fascinating clues. And finally, there is humor! Lots of it!

In THE ALTO WORE TWEED (the first of many of Schweizer's liturgical mysteries, we meet Hayden Konig--police chief of the small North Carolina town of St. Germaine. He's a
Sep 05, 2011 Rosemarie rated it it was amazing
This is a flat-out, fall-down funny mystery!

When Willie Boyd, sexton at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, is found dead in the choir loft, having spewed all over the keyboards of the organ in the process; Chief Detective and Choir Director Hayden Konig suspects poison. It was poison, but the bottle of sacramental wine Willie had filched and drunk, the only thing he is known to have consumed, is not the source.

Many people disliked Willie, including the new priest, Mother Lorraine Ryan, whom many Ch
Karen Syed
Jul 28, 2011 Karen Syed rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries, ebooks, kindle
I found this book in an ad in the sidebar of Facebook. I was amused by the image of the author and the brief description of Liturgical Mysteries intrigued me. So, I clicked on the link which took me to Kindle and I bought the eBook.

As a publisher, I was surprised by the number of errors in this book. They range from mispelled words to grammar and punctuation. I was also surprised that I enjoyed the story so much I didn't care about them.

As a reader, I could hardly put my Kindle down. It was fast
Jan 26, 2012 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was predisposed to like The Alto Wore Tweed, the first in a series by Mark Schweizer. It's lighthearted crime novel, it's set against a musical background and it channels Raymond Chandler - what's not to like?

Well - here's a book which is bursting with great ideas and that's its problem for me. It's just trying too hard. Pastiche Chandler is fine except Chandler himself did it better. And the central figure being a choirmaster as well as a cop works, except he's also an author writing Chandle
Jul 24, 2013 Pauleta rated it really liked it
I love a cheesy mystery. And this is pretty cheesy. I'm also a church choir nerd. And this is...

about a small town church choir, a murder, a choir director and organist who doubles as the town sherriff and also happens to be independently wealthy with a computer degree and a not-so-useful music degree all while writing run-on sentences in his film noir books... oh, he also keeps a gun in the organ bench. (That's actually no big deal since at least one of the choir members keeps a flask in her c
Aug 04, 2011 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Since Edgar Allen Poe wrote "Murders in the Rue Morgue" in 1841, the murder mystery has been a literary genre. From it, numerous sub-genres have evolved: the cozy, the police procedural, the caper, the noir. "The Alto Wore Tweed: A Liturgical Mystery" by Mark Schweizer is in the sub-sub-genre of the Episcopal-musicological murder mystery. This is the first in a series of novels in which the protagonist, Hayden Konig, is both the organist-choir director at Saint Barnabas' E... (show more)
Jean Hontz
Dec 21, 2014 Jean Hontz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Rating: Good

I confess I missed a lot of humor in this book, since it is based on Episcopal church happenings. But I did enjoy what I understood and found the main character a hoot, literally, when he gets his owl.

The mystery was pretty convoluted and was hard to solve which is a plus especially for cozy mysteries.

If you get all the musical and religious humor you’ll enjoy it probably more than I did.
Feb 28, 2016 Elinor rated it really liked it
This is a classic cozy mystery, with the additional advantages of being witty and well-written. The main character is a police officer in a South Carolina town, who also happens to be the very irreverent musical director at the local church. Throw in the oddball characters who inhabit any small town, and it's a winning formula.
Jan C
Aug 16, 2013 Jan C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jan C by: Eric_W Welch
Shelves: mystery, south, humor, 2013
I've kind of gone back and forth on this book. Very funny. But I was a little distracted by the story the character is writung. It is a horrble story, but funny. Tries to emulate Raymond Chandler/Dashiell Hammett - "her eyes as narrow as Jimmy Swaggert's theology."

Both stories are entertaining.

I will probably give the second book in the series a chance.
Sarah Bollt
Apr 27, 2014 Sarah Bollt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
I am *so* glad my musical colleague/office coworker recommended this book to me. It had me in hysterics all the way through. The prose was both well-written and intentionally bad, all at the same time. That takes talent. And the whodunit plot had me guessing all the way to the end.
Jun 13, 2016 Linda rated it really liked it
What a funny, delightful book!! Recommended to me by a friend who said it has laugh out loud moments. And it does!!

The setting is a church in a smaller community. And the circumstances are hilarious!!

I am looking forward to reading more of this series/author!!
Jun 27, 2016 Jocelyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Off-beat characters, witty dialogue, an Episcopal church, sacred music, irreverent humor (lots), and murder. What's not to like?
Jul 04, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is a second read for me. A long bus ride and the Kindle made this book an easy treat. I love Mark Schweizer and it's fun to be reading these laugh-along, smart reads once again.
Jordan Wallace
Feb 27, 2015 Jordan Wallace rated it really liked it
I give this book a solid 3.5. I will certainly read more of this series.
Gloria Mccracken
Sep 10, 2013 Gloria Mccracken rated it it was amazing
It's a shame, really. I suspect that many of the people who might enjoy this book most will be the least likely to consider reading this, turned off by the subtitle "A Liturgical Mystery". It is true that the first person protagonist is the church organist in the Episcopal church in his fictional little town of St. Germaine. (Very amusing to see the small town I grew up in -- Wausau, WI-- referred to as the big city in the area, which I suppose it was and is, being about 30,000 people with no ...more
Aug 07, 2014 Ralph rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humor
The protagonist of "The Alto Wore Tweed," Hayden Konig, is a musicologist, the director of the choir at St Barnabus Episcopal Church in St Germain, NC, and the chief of detectives (hint, he's his own boss) for the town. He's also perhaps the worst mystery writer in the world, despite the fact that he's using Raymond Chandler's old typewriter, which he bought at auction. Fortunately for readers in the real world, Mark Schweizer is a much better writer, and in this first book of the series he ...more
Barbara M
Hilarious! The cover states "It's like Mitford meets Jurassic Park only without the wisteria and the dinosaurs." That's almost true but you'd have to throw in some Stephanie Plum. The goings-on are reminiscent to some of the situations that Ms. Plum gets into, laugh out loud funny.

There are two books in one. The main character is Hayden Konig, Head Detective of St. Germaine, NC a very small town in the mountains. Hayden is also the organist and choir director at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. Th
Catherine Leggitt
Sep 23, 2013 Catherine Leggitt rated it really liked it
As a lifelong church-goer, I'm somewhat ashamed to say I thoroughly enjoyed the THE ALTO WORE TWEED by Mark Schweizer. This mystery-within-a-mystery contains plenty of intriguing twists and turns, as well as a cast of quirky and memorable characters. Hayden Konig divides his time between chief police detective in the small mountain town of St. Germaine, North Carolina and organist/music director at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. He constantly butts heads with the new female Bishop, while ...more
Oct 03, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, anglophilia
This book is one long inside joke. If you have never been in a church choir, or to a liturgical based church, you likely won't get it. You should probably skip it.

If you have, you might find this so funny at points that you have to find someone to share it with, read it out loud, and then can't read anymore because you are laughing so hard you are crying. The Advent I service (with the incense) and the alto trying to get her sweater off without taking off her robe both had me in total tears. (Di
Apr 24, 2013 Julia rated it really liked it
This is not great literature, but definitely fun to read. It's light reading -- I read it in less than a day. It's a murder mystery -- but really more of a parody of classic detective stories. The lead character/narrator is a small town police chief whose first love is church music; he is also the organist and choir director for St. Barnabas Episcopal Church and a wannabe mystery writer. Sections of the story he is writing are interspersed throughout the book; they are printed in italics, so it ...more
Jul 07, 2010 Judy rated it liked it
This book about a detective (in a police force of three) and choirmaster of an Episcopal church, St. Barnabas, in a small moutain town near Boone, North Carolina. It is funny in a silly, silly way. I probably didn't get all of the musical jokes and it definitely helps to have had experience with an Episcopal church, the clergy--including a bishop or two--and the quirky characters that make up the congregation to fully appreciate the humor. Hayden Konig is a millionaire who has become a member of ...more
Jeannie and Louis Rigod
Aug 19, 2011 Jeannie and Louis Rigod rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book. It is listed as a 'Liturgical Mystery.' Yet, it was also mentioned to me by fellow readers that it was really funny. Well, this book is both!

A small town police chief dreams of being an author, so much in fact, that he purchases Raymond Chandler's Underwood typewriter. Hayden Konig is his name and he is also Choir master, and organist of St. Barnabas Episcopal church.

Hayden is well liked and rather famous for his liturgical service music. Thankfully,
Aug 29, 2011 Deb rated it really liked it
After my summer of George R.R. Martin, I needed a light, humorous read and this first "Liturgical Mystery" by Mark Schweizer fit the bill perfectly! Hayden Konig is the full time police chief of St. Germaine, NC AND the part-time volunteer organist and choir director at the local Episcopal church. He's also a would-be author in the style of Philip Chandler. When the unpopular sexton is found murdered in the choir loft, the investigation is on. Was the murderer Mother Ryan, the new, ...more
Mary Ronan Drew
Jul 20, 2016 Mary Ronan Drew rated it liked it
This first in a series of very funny mysteries that takes place in a North Carolina mountain town, is filled with puns, sly references to music and musicians, and satire aimed at the Episcopal Church, all done gently and with charm. Other titles by Mark Schweizer include The Baritone Wore Chiffon, The Soprano Wore Falsettos, The Bass Wore Scales, and The Mezzo Wore Mink.

Hayden Konig is not just the police chief of St Germaine and an aspiring mystery writer, he is also the holder of a degree in
Sep 23, 2015 Cheryl rated it liked it
If I could have given this book 2.5 stars, I would have.

I didn't hate this book at all -- - in fact, it was a cute little read. However, I am not sure I would recommend it.

While it's clear the author knows his stuff regarding classical music, I tired of the constant references to them. It almost felt like a "look at me! This is what all of you peons should be listening to!" And I'm a vocal music major. Yikes.

Likewise the humor - - while clever at times, there were instances when it was a litt
Feb 17, 2013 Ngnadig rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in Mark Schweizer's Liturgical Mystery series. I discovered the series before Christmas when I stumbled upon The Christmas Cantata, his Christmas offering that is a departure from the series. I enjoyed the sweet, funny, engaging work enough to check out the series. Each book became increasingly more addictive. Hayden Konig, Police Chief and church organist/choir director,in St. Germaine, North Carolina, solves murders in between skewering (tongue-in-cheek) liturgical ...more
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In 1974, Mark Schweizer, a brand-new high-school graduate decided to eschew the family architectural business and become an opera singer. Against all prevailing wisdom and despite jokes from his peers such as "What does the music major say after his first job interview?" (answer: You want fries with that?), he enrolled in the Music School at Stetson University. To his father, the rationale was ...more
More about Mark Schweizer...

Other Books in the Series

The Liturgical Mystery (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Baritone Wore Chiffon (The Liturgical Mystery #2)
  • The Tenor Wore Tapshoes (The Liturgical Mystery #3)
  • The Soprano Wore Falsettos (The Liturgical Mystery #4)
  • The Bass Wore Scales (The Liturgical Mystery #5)
  • The Mezzo Wore Mink (The Liturgical Mystery #6)
  • The Diva Wore Diamonds (The Liturgical Mystery #7)
  • The Organist Wore Pumps (The Liturgical Mystery #8)
  • The Countertenor Wore Garlic (The Liturgical Mystery #9)
  • The Christmas Cantata (The Liturgical Mysteries)
  • The Treble Wore Trouble

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