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The Quartet Murders

by J. R. Ellis

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504396,948 (3.45)None
A priceless violin. And a dark secret someone is prepared to kill for. Revised edition: This edition of The Quartet Murders includes editorial revisions. DCI Oldroyd has seen his fair share of victims, but he has never witnessed a murder--until now. When world-famous violinist Hans Muller is shot and killed during a concert, the detective is faced with a case beyond logic. The culprit is nowhere to be found--and the victim's priceless violin has disappeared too. As Oldroyd investigates the mystery of the murderer's identity and the motive for the killing, he enters the ruthless world of wealthy instrument collectors and stumbles upon a dark path where shocking secrets have been buried in the past. But the secrets will soon take centre stage. Oldroyd must use all his cunning to recover the priceless instrument. But can he also solve the mystery of a murderer who vanished in front of his own eyes?… (more)
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One of a quartet is murdered at a Halifax musical performance, at which DCI Oldroyd is coincidentally present, and their valuable Stradivarius goes missing. Despite witnessing the crime, Jim Oldroyd puzzles as to how it was done and by whom. Although there are a number of cliched plot elements, it is a genuinely clever plot with several twists and red herrings before the reveal at the end. It also throws interesting light on the Stradivarius violin maker, which we've all heard of but know little about. I also enjoyed reading about Haifax's Piece Hall which I've visited and the Hebden Bridge area. ( )
  edwardsgt | Feb 7, 2021 |
Oldroyd's offsider is again DS Carter, the new man from London, But I think his character was better drawn than in the first novel in the series.

I liked the further fleshing out of Oldroyd's character and I thought the mystery was better plotted.
Narrator Michael Page again does a good job of his voice presentation.
This series is engaging enough for me to look for another audio book. ( )
  smik | Mar 16, 2019 |
I truly hope you take the time to seek out this little treasure. It is jam packed full of suspects so you might want to take notes along the way if you like to try and figure out the "who dun it" or just sit back and watch it unfold. Great trilogy so far! ( )
  whybehave2002 | Oct 6, 2018 |
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Oldroyd is thoroughly enjoying a concert of chamber music in a chapel in a small Yorkshire town when one on the quartet members is shot while performing onstage by an unseen assailant and the musician’s irreplaceable Stradivarius violin goes missing. No one is seen leaving the building, yet the murderer and thief aren’t found. Is this the work of a gang of art thieves with whom some of the locals are involved? A few of the local well-heeled gentry are known for their private collections of rare and priceless musical instruments. Before long another member of the quartet is killed, and his murder linked to the stolen violin. DCI Oldroyd assists his old friend, DCI Sam Armitage of the local Halifax police force, in unraveling the knotted strings of these mysteries. The police assume the two deaths and the theft of the violin are committed by the same group of criminals. But are they connected or are they separate cases?

The main characters, Armitage, Oldroyd and Oldroyd’s associate, Detective Sergeant Andy Carter, are well-defined. Armitage “was a jovial character famously renown for his unhealthy lifestyle. A heavy smoker, he was fond of lunching on pork pies laced with brown sauce and his consumption of beer outstripped Oldroyd’s.” Oldroyd is a dedicated policeman as well as a classical music lover who’s longing to reunite with his ex-wife. DS Carter, who gets on well with Oldroy, his superior, is falling in love with Yorkshire as well as one of his co-workers, DS Stephanie Johnson.

The setting is well conceived. The town, down on its heels after the closure of its textile mills, is still lively with weekly market days and Christmas decorations. The red-brick chapel where the concerts are held is an eccentric venue for classical music concerts, according to Oldroyd.

Although the characters are likable, sometimes their personal lives get in the way of the story. Oldroyd’s contact with his sister furthers the plot as they discuss the deaths and theft, but his interaction with his ex-wife and daughter does nothing except slow the plot and drop readers out of the mystery. His daughter is usually off doing her own thing, except for cadging money from Dad. His wife is a downward drag on the story because of her somewhat defeatist attitude.

The plot moves along at a slow but steady pace; one wonders why a few more modern techniques of police investigation were not used, such as checking fingerprints at the two crime scenes. Sometimes, it seemed as if Oldroyd and Armitage were just scratching their heads and ignoring subtle clues from Alison, Oldroyd’s sister, and Miss Dobson. “Have you got anything, Jim? We’re banging our heads against a brick wall with this one,” Armitage says at one point.

The Quartet Murders is the second book in a series about DCI Oldroyd. Based on the plot of this book, I might or might not read the others. The main characters were likable and believable enough to create some interest in the other books in the series. This plot, however, could have use more punch. Overall, a rating of 3.5 stars for The Quartet Murders. ( )
  janecairns | Aug 12, 2018 |
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It is said that Count Munsterhaven’s messenger arrived at his famous destination in Cremona –No. 2 Piazza San Domenico –dusty and exhausted on a hot August afternoon in 1709.
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A priceless violin. And a dark secret someone is prepared to kill for. Revised edition: This edition of The Quartet Murders includes editorial revisions. DCI Oldroyd has seen his fair share of victims, but he has never witnessed a murder--until now. When world-famous violinist Hans Muller is shot and killed during a concert, the detective is faced with a case beyond logic. The culprit is nowhere to be found--and the victim's priceless violin has disappeared too. As Oldroyd investigates the mystery of the murderer's identity and the motive for the killing, he enters the ruthless world of wealthy instrument collectors and stumbles upon a dark path where shocking secrets have been buried in the past. But the secrets will soon take centre stage. Oldroyd must use all his cunning to recover the priceless instrument. But can he also solve the mystery of a murderer who vanished in front of his own eyes?

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