Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon takes place in Ireland, where Dr. Gethsemane Brown has ended up, broke and with no possessions. Her suitcase has been stolen, after the job as assistant conductor of the Cork Philharmonic for which she spent all her money to get to is suddenly given to the mistress of the music director. Thus, stranded and too proud to go home and admit her defeat, Gethsemane takes on a job directing the orchestra of a boys’ school, but the catch is that their major competition is in six weeks, and the school expects her to do miracles and turn this miserable group into the best in the competition. Gethsemane stays at the home of Eamon McCarthy, the greatest composer of the late 20th century and her personal inspiration in music, who was known to have killed his wife, the great poet Orla, by pushing her off a cliff, and then killed himself a week later. But what Gethsemane does not know is that the house comes with the ghost of Eamon McCarthy. She is the first person to be able to see and hear him, so he prevails upon her to prove his innocence, of both murder and suicide.
Initially hesitant about getting involved in this investigation, Gethsemane gradually gets more and more deeply immersed in the case. Trying hard to get Detective O’Reilly, the man in charge of the new cold-case division, to reopen the case, she digs into the world of 25 years earlier and those who knew Eamon and Orla. But doing so is not free of danger to herself.
This book is extremely creative. There is a recent trend of cozy mystery books that feature a single ghost visible to just one individual, but this book gives a unique relationship to Gethsemane and Eamon. The pair banter back and forth, both in fun and in anger, and their witticisms are a lot of fun to read. The major characters in the book all have a degree of roundness, but with Gethsemane and Eamon, we truly feel that we know the pair. Gethsemane works hard to prove herself to be a successful African American woman, and Eamon has many angles to his volatile but charming character.
While the characters are what make this book extra special, the setting and plot delight too. The setting of rural Ireland suits the plot, and clearly the author knows the area well or else did good research. There are plenty of Gaelic words, and the names of the characters clearly come from Ireland, giving a strong flavor of the region. The plot is very interesting too, but what moves this book from good to terrific is the life of the characters and cultural detail.
I really loved the narration of Jessica Carroll for most of the book. While reading the book with a London accent, she effectively uses an Irish accent for the local characters. At first the American accent that she gives Gethsemane felt wrong, but either she improved or I got used to her further as I went. But there were a couple times when a character sounded strange. However, overall, I still give the narrator five stars because she really impressed me with her depiction of everyone.
I recommend Murder in G Major to anyone, but I think it’s one that readers of Fangirl Nation will particularly enjoy. The strong woman character, along with the clever details of the plot and the ghost will give everyone something to enjoy. I give this book five stars!
Disclaimer: I received this audiobook for free from the publisher, but that in no way influenced any detail of my review.
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