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Death and the Maiden

(Daniel Jacobus Mystery #3)

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3.50  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  25 reviews
As the New Magini String Quartet prepares for a performance of Schubert's masterpiece, "Death and the Maiden," which it hopes will resuscitate its faltering career, someone starts picking off members of the string quartet à la Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

Dogged by internal dissension and by a potentially devastating lawsuit from its fired second viol
...more
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published (first published August 16th 2011)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
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Jann Barber
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Our library mystery book club members were to read one of Gerald Elias' four books with Daniel Jacobus as protagonist. I selected this one when a review likened it to Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians."

I learned so much about classical music and string quartets from this book. I'm sure people with a more musical background than I would appreciate things I missed.

Jacobus is a former violinist who now teaches violin lessons because he is completely blind. He is a bitter man, but there is still
...more
Caroline Mathews
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
I thought it would be fun to read a book with a blind hero, lots of music appreciation, and a good mystery. That would be one star for each category and a fourth if the story was compelling.

I rated Death and the Maiden two stars for music commentary alone. Elias's knowledge and interpretation of Schubert's work of the same name was enjoyable and rewarding.

I liked the idea of Jacobus, my age and blind with a remarkable concert violinist career behind him, but found his character contrived and n
...more
Ruth
May 06, 2012 rated it liked it
for his 3rd try, the author attempts a more complicated plot and ends up explaining too much at the end--still don't see why Jacobus has to be so crass and why there has to be so much bad language and so many negative images of people involved in the music world
Michael
Jan 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Astonishingly bad. If you enjoy being talked down to and a blind protagonist who is such an ass you would love to throw him out of a moving car on the 405 during rush hour then this is the book for you. Terrible.
C.C. Yager
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Because the string quartet in which Yumi Shinagawa plays will be performing Schubert's magnificent "Death and the Maiden" quartet at Carnegie Hall, Daniel Jacobus becomes involved as the ensemble rehearses and deals with their missing first violinist, Aaron Kortovsky. The quartet is also dealing with a former second violinist whom they fired. He's suing them, and the lawsuit could destroy the quartet as well as the careers of each musician, including Shinagawa, a former student of Jacobus'. So, ...more
C
Ultra specific murder mystery involving a string quartet.
The main character Jacobus was not likeable. I'm not sure why he was even solving crimes since he wasn't a police officer - just a cranky former violinist.
Loads of minute detail regarding concert playing and the personality conflicts that occur when talented people play together.
Brandon Harbeke
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The descriptions of music and performance are still phenomenal. It was a little hard to swallow that important events near the end were not heard by Jacobus, given his proximity to them and general good hearing.
Beth
Aug 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


“A good conductor has enough sense to basically let the orchestra play on its own, guiding it along a path without imposing his will upon it. Both the great conductor and the lousy conductor try to control all the details. The difference is that the great conductor knows how to do it; the lousy one thinks he knows.”

Daniel Jacobus is not a conductor and it is only in the past few years that he has been willing to interact with other human beings. That does not stop him from believing that he know
...more
K. T.
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
From the standpoint of a professional string quartet player, this book impressed me on many levels. And as a reader who enjoys a good yarn, it did its job as well, without question. I haven't read a great number of murder mysteries and have little to compare it to, but the book was successful in that it kept me guessing, and to its credit, had me laughing out loud at moments.

As a note to other musicians: it's easy to find books that paint us as these ethereal creatures whose brains function on
...more
Michelle
Nov 08, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
In the third installment in the Daniel Jacobus series, Jacobus is working with his protege, Yumi, who is preparing for performing "Death and the Maiden" with her quartet at Carnegie Hall as part of a multimedia extravaganza. The quartet has been fraught with problems after being sued by a former member after being very publicly dismissed. While Yumi was not a member at the time, she may end up with serious financial consequences from the lawsuit. There are also serious internal tensions in the q ...more
Suzanne Fox
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Despite the author's intelligence and impressive musical knowledge, this one didn't work for me. Daniel Jacobus's relentless negativity feels merely unpleasant rather than quirky or interesting; similarly, sentences like this are not artful but just plain overdone: "Jacobus knew it was a dream, not from anything as poetic as the peach-colored glow of sunlight magically transforming forested steeples of maple, ash, and cherry from dormant gray to radiant green, but rather from the increased traff ...more
Alan
Nov 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The third mystery by musician and former String Quartet violinist Gerald Elias. The first violinist of a dysfunctional and world class quartet has disappeared and may well have been murdered. Cranky and blind, violin teacher Daniel Jacobus and his insurance investigator and cellist friend Nathaniel Williams are dragged into the investigation. Meanwhile the deadline for a performance of Schubert's Death and the Maiden string quartet with multimedia dance and film addition is looming, as is the po ...more
Bonnie
Jan 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Death and the Maiden is a Daniel Jacobus Mystery by Gerald Elias who has a background in music which is a good thing since the novel is about nothing but music. The New Magini String Quartet is preparing for a performance of Schubert's masterpiece Death and the maiden which it hopes will resuscitate its faltering career. Two negative events have happened lately: a former member who was fired has sued and the first violinist is missing. The remaining members are caught in a deadly limbo as the ho ...more
Carole
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, 2016-read
This is not as enjoyable as his other books. Jacobus is very ornery. I guess that's the definition of curmudgeon. The rest of the members of the Magini Quartet are not very pleasant people. I wouldn't want to be a member of their Quartet. They are all Russians and comment why Soviet Russia is an oxymoron. They spend a lot of time arguing. They consider themselves very superior musicians because their interpretations come directly from the Masters. Time moves very slowly in this book. They have m ...more
Jennifer
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Gerald Elias' books began as a guilty pleasure for me, starting with Devil's Trill, and then Danse Macabre--but with Death and the Maiden, it was all of the guilt without the pleasure. When main character Daniel Jacobus is talking about music itself, one is almost inspired by his insights. But too soon, the beauty is interrupted by vulgar jokes, unlikable people, and far-fetched (or incomplete) resolutions. I know that the author is speaking from experience--the musical world is rife with unsavo ...more
Susan
Blind violinist Daniel Jacobus is drawn into the affairs of the New Magini String Quartet when the job of the second violinist, his star pupil, is endangered by a law suit. When the first violinist doesn't show up for an important rehearsal, Jacobus realizes there is something really dysfunctional about the quartet, which is to perform Schubert's famous "Death and the Maiden" at a multi-media celebration of the Schubert bicentennial. The unhappy Jacobus is his usual irascible self, but the endin ...more
Shannon
This book is filled with snarky, sarcastic comments and lots of knowledge of the classical music world and string quartets in particular. Enjoyable read but probably not something I would recommend highly.
Two or three of the characters are well defined, the rest are vague descriptions. There is a lot that not explained and then wrapped up quickly at the ending. The mystery doesn't even seem that compelling because there are so many side stories taking place.
So, not the most solid of stories b
...more
Doug
Jan 07, 2016 added it
I liked the way Elias told the story through Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" as well as his insights into the world of classical music and string quartets. Many reviewers did not like the characters and gave the book a lower rating. While in real life they would not be my favorites in book they added to the story.
Janet
Dec 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
The depth of musical knowledge and passion was the most interesting and redeeming aspect of the book. The dynamics of a quartet were interesting. . The plot started well but became silly after four, Or was it five, murders. Jacobus was overdrawn; his scarcasm became tiresome.
Gail
This is the third in a series, all centered around the world of classical musicians, particularly violinists. The first two were brilliant, this the third only slightly less so. A bit dark but an author I keep going back to.
Vai
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Plot not well organized nor compelling. Fell like the talk on music is not as natural, too much for show. Jacobus's character not connected with reader. Just feel like he's a grumpy old man. No characters in the book are well developed or attractive to me , the reader.
Linda
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
If you love good music you will enjoy this engaging mystery featuring renowned "blind caustic pedagogue" Daniel Jacobus. A behind the scenes view of the world of a string quartet was brilliantly depicted. Highly recommended.
Susan
May 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Corny, not so much a mystery as a tedious exposition of a puzzle.
Kelly
Dec 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
VEry good. Very interesting setting within the workings of the modern string quartet. I will be looking for more of Elias' books.
Sandra
Apr 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Pretty good story.
Kathryn
rated it it was amazing
Jul 30, 2012
Nancy
rated it really liked it
Feb 21, 2015
Robert Stevenson
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Sep 03, 2015
Anne
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Dec 31, 2018
John Gibbs
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Jul 26, 2020
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Shhh! I'll let you in on a little secret. I've been leading a double life. My award-winning Daniel Jacobus mystery series is set in the dark corners of the classical music world, of which I am intimately familiar as a former violinist with the Boston Symphony, associate concertmaster of the Utah Symphony and as a conductor, composer, and teacher. The first novel in the series, “Devil’s Trill,” was ...more

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