This is the second in a British mystery series by Scottish author Morag Joss, who won a Silver Dagger Award for her novel, "Half Broken Things." Cellist Sara Selkirk is secretly in love with, and on the brink of an affair with, Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Poole, so it is perhaps understandable that she can't resist poking about into a recent letter bomb murder that killed an unloveable retired headmistress who lived in the same building as two of Sara's closest friends. A local group of opera buffs has decided to put on a 'community opera' and are enlisting the help of anyone with talent, so of course Sara ends being dragged into it. But the famous composer's work in strangely unplayable, the female lead is being sung by a young autistic woman who is being preyed upon by more than one of the men in the group, and soon an 'accident' results in another death. Morag has been well received and widely read in Great Britain, and her mysteries are gradually catching attention in the US.
I've decided I don't like Sara Selkirk personally. She's a snob! I found it revolting the way she and the retired opera singer belittled another character's taste... and in her Manolo Blahnik shoes she has no empathy for Valerie's Marks & Spencer outfits (notwithstanding that Valerie is running a household with two kids on a policeman's salary, while Sara is an international star). Overall the mystery is quite sturdy with a nice assortment of characters and possible motives. I wondered why in Chapter 1 the reader is informed of a crucial part of the mystery which Sara doesn't figure out until Chapter 36.
I was pretty psyched to read a mystery set in Bath, but found I just couldn't get into this one. Somehow the writing is just a bit too clever. The characters are a pretty unsympathetic bunch; it is difficult to care very much what happens to them. Maybe if I could have stuck with the book longer than the first 50 or so pages, I might have found the mystery more engaging, but find I just can't keep ploughing on.