“The captivating southwestern Irish countryside adds a delightful element to this paranormal series launch. Gethsemane is an appealing protagonist who is doing the best she can against overwhelming odds.” – Library Journal (starred review on Murder in G Major)
Gethsemane Brown, African-American classical musician and expatriate to an Irish village, solved a string of murders, led a school orchestra to victory in a major competition, and got used to living with a snarky ghost. She can rest easy over the Christmas holiday. Right? Wrong. The ghost has disappeared, her landlord's about to sell her cottage to a hotel developer, and her brother-in-law is coming for a visit—with one day’s notice.
She scrambles to call her spectral roomie back from beyond and find a way to save the cottage from certain destruction. But real estate takes a backseat when her brother-in-law is accused of stealing a valuable antique. Gethsemane strikes a deal with a garda investigator to go undercover as a musician at a charity ball and snoop for evidence linking antiques to a forgery/theft ring in exchange for the investigator’s help clearing her brother-in-law. At the party, she accidentally conjures the ghost of an eighteenth-century sea captain, then ends up the prime suspect in the party host’s murder. With the captain’s help, she races to untangle a web of phony art and stolen antiques to exonerate herself and her brother-in-law. Then the killer targets her. Will she save herself and bring a thief and murderer to justice, or will her encore investigation become her swan song?
Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), British mysteries, book club recommendations, amateur sleuth books, paranormal mysteries, Irish cozies, ghost mysteries, music mysteries.
Books in the Gethsemane Brown Mystery Series:
MURDER IN G MAJOR (#1)
DEATH IN D MINOR (#2)
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all…
A writer since childhood, Alexia Gordon won her first writing prize in the 6th grade. She continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. She established her medical career then returned to writing fiction. Raised in the southeast, schooled in the northeast, she relocated to the west where she completed Southern Methodist University's Writer's Path program. She admits Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. She practices medicine in North Chicago, IL. She enjoys the symphony, art collecting, embroidery, and ghost stories.
Cozy mystery with a ghost story on the side
Gethsemane Brown is an amateur sleuth / musician / ghost whisperer. She’s out solving crimes, sometimes getting into hot water, and doing her best to rescue herself. She is a heroine without any romantic entanglements, which I seriously appreciated. I’m ok with some romance as a secondary plot in my mystery books, but I am more interested in the mystery. I’m happy to report that Ms. Gordon’s characters focus on solving the crimes.
One aspect of Gethsemane that I find very interesting is the fact that music is tied to so many aspects of her life. She hears Tchaikovsky when she’s in danger and conjures a ghost by playing a sea shanty. I’m now regretting all the time I spent in school not practicing my clarinet. Death in D Major is full of fun and well-developed secondary characters as well. I especially enjoyed the local pastor with the occult book collection and Gethsemane’s co-worker, math teacher Frankie.
I am impressed with Ms. Gordon’s writing style and world building. I learned that ghosts, at least in Ms. Gordon’s universe, are associated with certain smells. (I find this a very nifty character trait; it’s clearly my allergies preventing me from smelling any paranormal beings in my world!) The quaint small Irish setting is excellent, though, initially I was confused about the time period in which the book is set — classical music, modern setting, but seemed historical? But then, the mention of cars and a lost cell phone set me straight.
I must admit to struggling with this book at the beginning. D Major is the second in the series and I haven’t read the first (shame on me!). I read the first paragraph a number of times, as it’s full of Irish town names that meant absolutely nothing to me. The central mystery also wasn’t apparent at first. Is this an art forgery/theft mystery? Murder mystery? What do ghosts have to do with anything? But after the first third of the book, all the aspects began to fit together, and I really began to enjoy reading D Major. As such, ideally, I recommend reading the first book before starting this one, but it does stand alone.
The plot is fast-paced and kept me interested and guessing throughout the book; it’s a solid mystery with a side of paranormal. Overall, I enjoyed Death in D Major and main character Gethsemane in particular. I’m excited to read more of this series!