Murder in C Major: A Joan Spencer Mystery

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Poisoned Pen Press, 2000 - Fiction - 183 pages
2 Reviews
Oliver, Indiana. Quiet streets. Deep roots. Families and neighbors. Young widow Joan Spencer returns, wondering if anyone can really go home again. She finds few familiar faces, but from those old friends spring connections—and reminders of what long memories exist in small towns. Actually Oliver is not so small. It has a busy college where Joan’s son grows fascinated with biological research. A senior center, where she lands the director’s job. An amateur orchestra where she settles into the viola section—and right next to an unpleasant oboist who drops from his chair during rehearsal. Rushed to the hospital, the man dies, if not to universal applause, then to a general sense of relief. A young Japanese violinist is puzzled: the victim displayed all the symptoms of fugu poisoning. The autopsy confirms he’s been murdered. Enter police lieutenant Fred Lundquist. Investigation determines more than one source for the poison, not necessarily the deadly puffer fish, and a wide circle of suspects. He and Joan gradually make connections until—not quite to crashing chords and drum rolls—she realizes they’ve looked at it all the wrong way round...

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - polywogg - LibraryThing

BOTTOM-LINE: Nice light read for a Sunday afternoon . PLOT OR PREMISE: Joan Spencer, widowed, moves back to Oliver with her son Andrew and joins the local orchestra in her spare time. The second week ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Bjace - LibraryThing

I found this book a pleasant surprise. I thought it would be basically a regional mystery with a somewhat cheesy story, but Frommer has some fairly serious game. Joan Zimmerman Spencer, returning to ... Read full review

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About the author (2000)

Sara Hoskinson Frommer is a charter member of the Bloomington Symphony Orchestra in Bloomington, Indiana, where she has lived for more than 30 years after growing up mostly in northern Illinois, with a few years in Hawaii. Like Joan Spencer, her amateur detective, she plays viola, and like Joan, she also has played in the pit for Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. But both Joan and Sara have a life beyond music, including adult children. "A good thing, too," Sara says. "Fortunately, I write better than I play !" She prepared for her career as a mystery writer by studying German (of all things !) at Oberlin College (Ohio), in Tübingen (Germany) and at Brown University. Joan manages the senior citizen's center in Oliver, Indiana, the imaginary college town in Murder in C Major, Buried in Quilts, Murder & Sullivan, and The Vanishing Violinist. Since the beginning of Buried in Quilts, she has also been managing the orchestra, a job Sara says she would never take on. "I gave it to Joan to frazzle her," she says. Sara has also written 16 short, easy-to-read books for adult new readers. Published by New Readers Press, the publishing division of Laubach Literacy International, they are known as the Kaleidoscope Collection of Stories. Five of them are mysteries: Stop That Woman !, Dear Mary Ellen, I Didn't Do It !, No Hunting, and Help Me !. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

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