Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge by Patricia Duncker

The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge: A Novel

The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge: A Novel by Patricia Duncker is released stateside in July but is already released in the UK--here's the link--where I found a review by Eilis O'Hannon explaining that:

References to Orpheus and Eurydice, Bluebeard's Castle, and many other myths, fairy tales and Bible stories, litter the book; images of entrapment trip over one another in giddy succession. Even the title of the book, while ultimately loaded with different layers of significance, sounds half-fabulous.

Well then, that means the book merits mention here on the SurLaLune blog. Although the regular description wouldn't have ever made it into my search results.

Book description from publisher:

The bodies are discovered on New Year's Day, sixteen dead in the freshly fallen snow. The adults lie stiff in a semicircle; the children, in pajamas and overcoats, are curled at their feet.

When he hears the news, Commissaire André Schweigen knows who to call: Dominique Carpentier, the Judge, also known as the "sect hunter." Carpentier sweeps into the investigation in thick glasses and red gloves, and together the Commissaire and the Judge begin searching for clues in a nearby chalet. Among the decorations and unwrapped presents of a seemingly ordinary holiday, they find a leather-bound book, filled with mysterious code, containing maps of the stars. The book of the Faith leads them to the Composer, Friedrich Grosz, who is connected in some way to every one of the dead. Following his trail, Carpentier, Schweigen, and the Judge's assistant, Gaëlle, are drawn into a world of complex family ties, seductive music, and ancient cosmic beliefs.

Hurtling breathlessly through the vineyards of Southern France to the gabled houses of Lübeck, Germany, through cathedrals, opera houses, museums, and the cobbled streets of an Alpine village, this ferocious new novel is a metaphysical mystery of astonishing verve and power.

I have to admit despite fairly warm reviews, mass suicides, cults and conspiracy theories are not in my usual reading interests. I'll probably give this one a pass myself, but I wanted those of you who would find this interesting to know about it...  It does sound intriguing...


  1. This might have to go om my wish list, it seems intriguing.