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Amid the glitter and glamour of musical and court life in 18th century Vienna, fifteen-year-old Theresa Maria Shurman is trying to solve a brutal mystery. Who killed her father, an acclaimed violinist, and stole his valuable Amati violin? When Haydn himself offers her a position as his assistant, it gives Theresa access to life in the palace-and to a world of deceit. Theresa uncovers blackmail and extortion even as she discovers courage and honor in unexpected places: from a Gypsy camp on the banks of the Danube, to the rarefied life of the imperial family. And she feels the stirrings of a first, tentative love for someone who is as deeply involved in the mystery as she is.
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Susanne Dunlap graduated from Smith College and later earned a PhD in music hiatory from Yale University. She has taught music history at the college level, and is the author of two historical novels for adults. This is her first novel for young readers.From School Library Journal:
Grade 7 Up—After Theresa's father is murdered on Christmas Eve, his body is discovered in a Gypsy camp, his precious violin missing. Her mother is with child and not well, so it is up to Theresa to make funeral arrangements and to figure out how their family will survive without Papa's income. Theresa has had an unusual upbringing for a young woman in 18th-century Vienna: she has been taught to play the viola. Even so, it is unlikely that anyone would hire a 15-year-old girl, so she seeks the help of her father's friend and employer, the composer Franz Joseph Hayden. He reveals a secret to her: he is going blind and needs her assistance putting his compositions to paper. While working for him, the teen is also intent upon solving the mystery of her father's death, and she discovers that Hayden's blindness is not the only secret Papa had been keeping. Despite a slow start and an ending that wraps things up a bit too tidily, this book is a rip-roaring adventure with music, murder, and espionage. It's clearly well researched, and the level of detail in the narrative makes readers believe that this story might have actually happened. Theresa's first-person narrative reveals her to be a quick-thinking, courageous, and likable individual. Pair this book with Philip Pullman's "Sally Lockhart" series (Knopf) for some entertaining historical mysteries with plucky heroines.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
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Book Description Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 2010. Paperback. Condition: New. Later Printing. Seller Inventory # DADAX1599904527
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