Monday, March 28, 2011

The Lost Stradivarius

This was the first book I read on my new e-reader, and the dictionary-at-my-fingertips feature was much used and appreciated. It is written in elegant Victorian -era English. The book is billed as a ghost story or a horror story, but I would categorize it more along the lines of a mystery. Victorian horror stories bear no resemblance to the modern horror genre !

An English gentleman finds a fine Stradivarius violin,  along with the diary of its former owner, hidden in a secret cupboard. He becomes obsessed with duplicating the music and lifestyle of the past owner, even to the point of being snagged into the Neo-Platonistic and pagan philosophies that he practiced. Sadly, this constituted the demise of the new owner, from which he never recovered. There was no "happily ever after" but yet there was a satisfying conclusion that drew meaning from sordid events.

This is a short book, with well drawn characters and a moral point. The point is that music has power over the human spirit, and as such can be an instrument to lead one into temptation.

I had never heard of this book or its author; I downloaded it as a freebie because I liked the evocative title. It was a little gem of a find and I have now scouted out 2 other titles by  this author that I plan to read.

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