In Brendan Slocumb's sophomore novel, “Symphony of Secrets,” a professor is tasked with deciphering a rediscovered opera, only to uncover a historical betrayal. Brendan Slocumb's first novel, “The Violin Conspiracy,” displayed his deftness at crafting character-driven stories featuring amateur sleuths with a deep reverence for music history — and everything to lose. With his pitch-perfect follow-up, “Symphony of Secrets,” he firmly establishes himself as a maestro of musical mystery. Prof. Bern Hendricks is, to put it mildly, obsessed with a disgraced early-20th-century composer (of Slocumb's invention) named Frederic Delaney. It's an enduring fascination, fueled by admiration and an imagined sense of kinship. He's memorized every song, pored over every available factoid and channeled his reverence for Delaney into his field of study. So when he receives a summons from the powerful and prestigious Delaney Foundation, he already has his suspicions as to why. The foundation has discovered the holy grail of American music — the original draft of Delaney's lost opera, “Red.” It's the final piece in his “Rings Quintet,” an Olympic-flag-inspired series that became an international sensation and redefined modern opera. Bern's job is to verify the draft's authenticity and prepare it for a debut that will forever alter the landscape of music. For Bern, the request is an honor that will solidify his standing as a scholar and allow him to repay the […]
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