It is late March 1868. In Munich, composer Richard Wagner is completing his new opera Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg. It has been a difficult few years for him, and much depends upon the success of this new work. Following the tense auditions, an anonymous note warns Wagner that the premiere will be the date of his ruination.
Enter Inspector Hermann Preiss, who discovers a complication. Her name is Cornelia Vanderhoute, and she claims to have been made pregnant after a typical, brief Wagner fling. A series of murders of people involved in the new production suggests Cornelia is carrying out a deadly program of revenge.
Even Wagner and his wife are threatened. Will Preiss succeed in discovering the writer of the note? Will he manage to prevent the murder of Wagner, and what will happen on the night of the premiere?
In book two of Morley Torgov's Inspector Hermann Preiss Mystery series, German composer Richard Wagner is completing Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg when he receives a letter that predicts his downfall during his opera's debut. A string of murders occur against members of the production as Preiss attempts to solve the mystery behind the letter and save Wagner's life. Jason Culp has an impressive acuity with Torgov's characters, portraying Wagner as obstinate and paranoid while giving Preiss a composed and unflappable steadfastness, and his ability to heighten the tension as the fateful day approaches makes this historical mystery a suspenseful delight.
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