The Orchestra Murders by Rena Fruchter
Crime Fiction*ebook, 356 pages
Published October 11th 2012 by Auk Authors
Superstar conductor Sir Gregory Langhorne and his globe-trotting, violin-soloist son Jonathan Langhorne are the best of friends-until a brutal murder shatters their lives and Jonathan becomes the prime suspect.
Six years later, Sir Gregory is now the music director of the world famous Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and has finally reconciled with his son Jonathan, just as members of the orchestra are being killed off one by one.
The challenge for brilliant young hotshot Philadelphia Detective Cynthia Masters is to solve not only the orchestra murders, but the question of why murder seems to follow the Langhornes. Has Masters finally met her match-a case that cannot be solved? Set in London and Philadelphia, this dramatic story of murder, infidelity, and the abuse of money and power establishes Cynthia Masters as a world-class detective in this thrilling and unusual mystery.
First Chapter reveal:
Philadelphia Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The last two minutes of his life were the longest. As Richard Warren reached for the door, the masked stranger grabbed his wrist firmly. The bass player was supposed to be onstage at the very moment he was stopped in the rehearsal room by a man wearing a rubber mask of a smiling old man with long white hair.
“I’ve chosen you,” he said, “from all the competition.”
“Look,” Warren said. “I’m sure it’s all a great prank, but I’m due onstage right now.” He took his bass and bow, moved swiftly toward the door, and was an arm’s length away when the stranger pulled a small pistol from his pocket. “Stop,” he said, motioning Warren back to the middle of the room. “Down on your knees. Now!”
Warren moved back a couple of feet, and then froze in place, unable to catch his breath. “Who...are you? What...do you...want?” he asked, struggling to say each word, his own voice echoing inside his head. He put down his bass very gently and knelt on the hard wood floor.
Until a few minutes earlier, it had been a day like any other - without a hint that it could be his last. “Please,” he said, putting his hands together as in prayer. “I’ve got a wife, children. Please.... let me go. I won’t say a word about this to anyone. I promise. Please don’t hurt me.”
“Oh don’t worry, Mr. Warren. It’s not my intention to hurt you. I just need a small favor.”
Warren took a deep breath, feeling a flood of relief. Maybe there was still some hope. “Anything. Anything you want.” His knees were aching, burning. He was afraid to move. The room started spinning, as the man moved closer, holding the gun inches from his head. Richard felt hot and cold. Sweat was dripping from his forehead. He thought of his wife, Janet--of never seeing her again. “Just tell me what you need.”
“Oh, you’re upset. I won’t hurt you,” he said, putting the pistol back in his pocket. “That would be too easy - much too easy. Now the first thing, Mr. Warren, is to close your eyes and relax.”
“OK,” Warren said. He was glad to close his eyes. They were stinging. He could barely see, from the sweat pouring down, mixing with tears and blurring his vision. It felt soothing to close them.
Lifting a heavy pair of pliers from the table, the masked man brought them down onto the back of Warren’s head with all the force he could muster. Everything went dark. Warren didn’t feel a thing; he never saw the stranger cut the horsehair from his bow before securing it tightly around his neck and finishing the job.
“Damn, I meant to tell him the favor,” he said to himself. “I guess he might have figured out I needed him to be my victim.”
© Rena Fruchter, 2012
About the author:
Rena Fruchter is the author of three books—two critically acclaimed books in the biographical genre—Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, and I’m Chevy Chase…and you’re not. And now, her exciting and soon to be released book: The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery.
Ms. Fruchter is a renowned pianist, writer and educator, and director of an arts organization. Her performances have taken her throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and the Far East in both solo and ensemble appearances. She made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of six, performing the Haydn Piano Concerto in D Major. Appearances with other orchestras and on radio and television followed. At age eleven, she gave her first performance with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler at the Esplanade, later returning to perform the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall.
For twelve years, Rena Fruchter was a music columnist for the New York Times. She was also a music critic and an arts commentator for New Jersey Public Television, the London Music Correspondent for the Boston Herald and a contributor to many other publications. Her radio interview series, “Backstage Portraits,” was broadcast throughout the United States.
A graduate of Brandeis University, Rena also holds degrees in both piano performance and pedagogy from the Royal College of Music in London, England, where she studied with Louis Kentner and Lamar Crowson. She also studied with two distinguished Nadias–Nadia Boulanger in France and Nadia Reisenberg in New York.
Rena is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Music For All Seasons, an organization that presents musical programs for people confined in institutions including hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and special facilities for children. The organization also runs “Voices of Valor,” which provides workshops for veterans to write and record their own songs. The organization was co-founded by Rena and her husband, Brian Dallow. Dudley Moore was the Founding Advisory Board President of Music For All Seasons, which is now in its 21st year.
Rena is CEO of Martine Avenue Productions, a company co-created with Dudley Moore to bring his musical works to the public. The company has produced seven CDs, the latest, the two-CD set Dudley Down Under—unabridged, the complete live Dudley Moore Trio concert at Sydney Town Hall (Australia) on May 2, 1978. This CD is produced in honor of Dudley on the tenth anniversary of his death.
The company donates a portion of its proceeds to two charities designated by Dudley—the international research fund of the US-based “Cure PSP” and “Music For All Seasons, Inc.”
With long-time friend and colleague Dudley Moore, Rena toured the United States and Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East in two-piano performances.
Rena Fruchter is the author of the critically acclaimed book Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, published in 2004 by Ebury/Random House/UK and subsequently published in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Her popular book I’m Chevy Chase…And You’re Not, an innovative biography presenting the American comedy icon in a fascinating and revealing look at his life and work, was published in the UK and US. The only authorized biography of Chevy Chase, it provides a comprehensive view of the brilliant and complex actor, comedian and writer.
Her new book has just been published and is called The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery.
Rena is married to Brian Dallow, and they are the parents of four adult children, including a set of triplets. They live in New Jersey.