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Death and Transfiguration

(Daniel Jacobus Mystery #4)

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3.43  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The fourth book in the series featuring the irascible but loveable amateur sleuth Daniel Jacobus

Vaclav Herza, the last of a dying breed of great but tyrannical conductors, has been music director of Harmonium for forty years. The world famous touring orchestra was created for him when he fled Czechoslovakia for America during the political turmoil in Eastern Europe in 19
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Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 19th 2012 by Minotaur Books
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Average rating 3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  108 ratings  ·  23 reviews


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Karen
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels
I have read both, The Devil's Trill and Danse Macabre, by Gerald Elias. I liked them both. This one, however, totally misses the mark. I was disappointed that with all the investigative information discovered about the famous and dictatorial tyrant orchestra director, Vaclav Herza, not much of it mattered in the end. Jacobus, the protagonist, who in earlier books is portrayed as a likable curmudgeon, seemed to be experiencing varying levels of a nervous breakdown. For some reason, Elias diminish ...more
C.C. Yager
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title of this mystery novel set in the world of classical music refers to the Richard Strauss tone poem of the same title. The conductor in this story, Vaclav Herza, studied with Strauss and is a respected "interpreter" of his music. Herza is also a tyrant, a borderline psychopath who uses "only the music is important" to explain away his bad behavior. While there have been domineering conductors in America in the past, it would be professional suicide for a conductor to behave like Herza no ...more
Victoria Dougherty
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
Death and Transfiguration by Gerald Elias
I think I’ll never look at a Thursday the same way again. Not after reading Death and Transfiguration by Gerald Elias. The story begins on a Thursday, when Daniel Jacobus, retired violin virtuoso and sometime sleuth, receives a visit from an up and comer at a world-famous touring orchestra. She’s being tormented by her Maestro and asks for his help, but he largely dismisses the young woman’s complaints. The legendary Vaclav Herza, one of the last gr
...more
Dan Downing
Jul 26, 2014 rated it liked it
I need to start with a disclaimer, or a waffling. As advertised, this book, in my opinion, rates Three Stars. For a few readers, and I am one, it could receive Four Stars. It is a dicey path to walk, because the factors which elevate the rating for some would depress it for others. But I do not read Two Star books, life is too short and I am too flush with books.
All this because Elias spends a great deal of paper and ink describing the workings or a Symphony Orchestra. For me, who first wi
...more
Maddy
Aug 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012-reads
PROTAGONIST: Daniel Jacobus, blind violin teacher
SETTING: Tanglewood Music Festival
SERIES: #4 of 4
RATING: 3.5

Daniel Jacobus is a classical violinist who was about to assume the role of concertmaster for a major orchestra when he became blind. Since that time, he has been a violin teacher. The image that may come to mind is that of a gentle, grandfatherly figure—nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, Jacobus is cantankerous and difficult. And those are the trai
...more
Virginia
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this as a fast, fun airplane read. I had not read the first three books in the series but will add them to my to-read list after enjoying this one!

Pros and cons:
* Daniel Jacobus is definitely a unique protagonist. His acerbic wit and determined independence despite blindness were refreshing. He's someone it would be fun to know.
* I found the orchestra insider information fascinating. I played violin through college and totally related to the poor fellow au
...more
Becky
Jul 20, 2012 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars
All is not as congenial or collegial among musicians, conductors and other orchestra personnel as audiences at a classical music concert might think. The author mines the personalities, jealousies, rivalries, love-hate relationships among these professionals to create a mystery that involves a renowned (fictitious) symphonic orchestra, a tyrannical conductor and murder.

This is the fourth book in the Daniel Jacobus mystery series involving the blind, crotchety, amateu
...more
Michelle
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is the 4th book in the Daniel Jacobus series. Daniel’s protege, Yumi is planning to audition for the concertmaster position at the famed orchestra, Harmonium, conducted by the mercurial Vaclav Herza and seeks out Daniel’s feedback prior to her audition. To his surprise, the current acting concertmaster, Scheherazade (Sherry) O’Brien) also seeks his aid. He finds an unexpected connection with Sherry and when she is summarily dismissed from the audition proceedings by Herza and then is found ...more
Dave
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
An interesting way for a reader to get exposed to some Classical music 'inside baseball.' Not a bad story, but a good editor would not have gone amiss. Pedantic early chapters are followed by several interesting plot threads about halfway through. Unfotrunately, because the author got such a late start, these subplots are rushed and the subcharacters are just names on a page. Then, the threads all come together in a series of phone calls to the protagonist all in one night. Puh-leeze.

If you lov
...more
Robin
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued by the title and have not read the earlier books in the Daniel Jacobus series. I was fascinated by the blind violin teacher hero and his various connections with musicians around the world--the two young women vying to be concert-mistress of a professional orchestra, a nasty director, prima donnas and musicians just trying to make a living, contemporary life, post-W.W. II Europe, and bits of Japanese culture. I'm looking forward to reading the earlier books in the series and appr ...more
Susan
An inconclusive ending bumps this to a two-star rating. Famous conductor Herza is known for mistreating his orchestra. When a violinist comes to blind teacher Daniel Jacobus for help, he tells her he can't do anything for her. So naturally he feels guilty--his default mode--for the ensuing tragedy. He decides that he must research Herza's background, as she had asked him to, and finds unexpected flaws in the conductor's respectable facade. This series is a strange combination of depressing and h ...more
Nathalie S
Dec 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
I've enjoyed all of Gerald Elias's books so far. This one started out great as I learned more about the inner workings of orchestras and such but it turned out as the least favorite of mine after all. Still extremely well written but I just didn't care for this one as much--maybe because it took me so long to finish it or maybe the bad guy was just too nasty a piece of trash and I was glad of his comeuppance.
Laura
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
The ending wasn't quite as satisfying as I would have liked, but still enjoy the orchestral insights in the book.
Marvelle Morgan
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2012
The only thing I liked about this book was the inside information on the behind-the-scenes machinations of orchestras. Learning more about their inner workings was fascinating.
Kate
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Excellent, but as with Elias' other books this is particularly interesting if one is a musician or is very interested in classical music.
Margaret1358 Joyce
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it
A remarkably clever plot with lively dialogue and interesting content, this book was a fast read.
Jeff
Jul 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
The protagonist is a bit of a curmudgeon, even by my standards, but otherwise a pretty good mystery.
Mary Barry
A really slow start but better during the last third.
Joyce
Nov 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Interesting hero dealing with his blindness. Fascinating background of symphony music an politics. Mystery is so so.
Ruth
May 06, 2012 rated it liked it
I felt compelled to finish the series--
Kathleen
Jul 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Such a slow beginning I couldn't stay with it see if it was any good.
Ellen Dark
Mar 23, 2015 rated it liked it
The book was good, but I found the ending a letdown.
Cindy
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Mar 10, 2018
Jill Henson
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Feb 21, 2013
Craig
rated it liked it
Nov 08, 2012
AM
rated it it was ok
Jul 17, 2012
Carolyn Hubbard
rated it really liked it
Aug 04, 2012
Judy Roehm
rated it it was amazing
Jun 07, 2013
Jim Graham
rated it liked it
Jul 11, 2012
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Terrible ending 1 3 Jul 10, 2013 11:34PM  
32 followers
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

Other books in the series

Daniel Jacobus Mystery (6 books)
  • Devil's Trill (Daniel Jacobus Mystery, #1)
  • Danse Macabre (Daniel Jacobus Mystery, #2)
  • Death and the Maiden (Daniel Jacobus Mystery, #3)
  • Playing with Fire (Daniel Jacobus Mystery, #5)
  • Spring Break (Daniel Jacobus Mystery, #6)
“Most people, including yourself, apparently, think The Moldau is about a river. It is not. It is a metaphor. It is about the progress of life, from its fragile beginnings through its joys and turbulence and on to its end, its magnificent end.” 1 likes
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