Read Death and Transfiguration by Gerald Elias Online


The fourth book in the series featuring the irascible but loveable amateur sleuth Daniel JacobusVaclav Herza, the last of a dying breed of great but tyrannical conductors, has been music director of Harmonium for forty years. The world famous touring orchestra was created for him when he fled Czechoslovakia for America during the political turmoil in Eastern Europe in 1956The fourth book in the series featuring the irascible but loveable amateur sleuth Daniel JacobusVaclav Herza, the last of a dying breed of great but tyrannical conductors, has been music director of Harmonium for forty years. The world famous touring orchestra was created for him when he fled Czechoslovakia for America during the political turmoil in Eastern Europe in 1956. It is the eve of the opening of a dramatic new concert hall designed by Herza himself. It is also the eleventh hour of intense contract negotiations with the musicians that have strained relations within the organization. When the acting concertmaster, Scheherazade O'Brien, is summarily dismissed by the despotic Herza for the permanent concertmaster position, an audition she was poised to win, O'Brien slits her wrists and the orchestra becomes convulsed. Now, blind, cantankerous violin teacher Daniel Jacobus, who had shunned O'Brien's earlier plea for help against Herza's relentless harassment, investigates Herza's dark past not only in Prague, but in Tokyo and New York. With the help of his old friends Nathaniel Williams, Max Furukawa, and Martin Lilburn, he seeks not only revenge but redemption from the guilt of his own past....

Title : Death and Transfiguration
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312678357
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Death and Transfiguration Reviews

  • Karen
    2018-10-19 05:13

    I have read both, The Devil's Trill and Danse Macabre, by Gerald Elias. I liked them both. This one, however, totally misses the mark. I was disappointed that with all the investigative information discovered about the famous and dictatorial tyrant orchestra director, Vaclav Herza, not much of it mattered in the end. Jacobus, the protagonist, who in earlier books is portrayed as a likable curmudgeon, seemed to be experiencing varying levels of a nervous breakdown. For some reason, Elias diminished this strong endearing man to someone else I didn't want to know or care about. The story surrounds the death of Sherri O'Brien, a gifted violinist, who had been under continual abuse from Vaclav Herza. Her death was suspicious and Jacobus feels responsible because he didn't do enough to help her. Suspects abound, including the evil maestro, so there was a level of suspense that kept me involved. But the end left me with so many questions and loose ends that I wasn't sure what I was supposed to think! Elias's musical metaphorical references are one of the reasons I have liked his books in the past. I'm not sure I'll read another one, though.

  • Victoria Dougherty
    2018-10-20 05:20

    Death and Transfiguration by Gerald EliasI think I’ll never look at a Thursday the same way again. Not after reading Death and Transfiguration by Gerald Elias. The story begins on a Thursday, when Daniel Jacobus, retired violin virtuoso and sometime sleuth, receives a visit from an up and comer at a world-famous touring orchestra. She’s being tormented by her Maestro and asks for his help, but he largely dismisses the young woman’s complaints. The legendary Vaclav Herza, one of the last great conductors from the bygone era of classical music, is hardly the first brilliant Maestro to behave like a tyrant. Musicians usually put up or shut up. After listening to her play a nearly perfect score, and offering scant advice about her troubles with the Maestro, Jacobus sends her on her way.But it’s Thursday and no good news ever comes on a Thursday; at least where Daniel Jacobus is concerned. And Jacobus, despite his best efforts, can’t seem to get the girl and her story out of his head, or out of his life. When the young woman in question ends up fighting for her life after an apparent suicide attempt, Jacobus throws himself into an investigation of Vaclav Herza’s tawdry secrets and cruel nature. It is an investigation that may well cost him his life.The fussy and self-satisfied world of classical music is one not many readers know much about and it’s delicious to dig in and explore the complex nature of such a small, elite society. Elias takes us hand in hand through the kind of vicious back-biting that becomes commonplace in a landscape where people of enormous talent and skill fight – sometimes to the death – for a meager handful of positions. To top it off, it’s a world that has been losing cultural and commercial ground for decades, so the stakes cut to the very core of every player. It’s not just about money and power or even love, the usual culprits in the majority of mysteries, but about the struggle for preserving excellence, tradition, innovation and commitment in a fast-changing, fast-food world.As a protagonist, Daniel Jacobus is counter-intuitive. Not only is he aged and blind – proving once again that old age and treachery can trounce youth and skill on any given day – but he’s cranky, fastidious, self-centered and a snob. He’s also brilliant, gloriously difficult and the kind of friend you want when you’re in trouble – even if he doesn’t play well at a dinner party anymore.Jacobus’ blindness, rather than limiting his efforts open him and the reader up to a whole new way of solving a crime. As a musician, and a superb one at that, he can derive more from what he hears than most of us can using all of our senses combined. It makes for wonderful suspense and an edge of your seat anticipation of events you as a reader are powerless to predict. So, it’s apt that Death and Transfiguration begins on a Thursday – the least predictable day of the week. The day that sits on the precipice of a wonderful weekend filled with conviviality, adventure, and even romance or a lonely block of time you just want to get through. And it can all hinge on a phone call or a visit or even a good book.Reviewed by Victoria Dougherty

  • Dan Downing
    2018-09-22 06:06

    I need to start with a disclaimer, or a waffling. As advertised, this book, in my opinion, rates Three Stars. For a few readers, and I am one, it could receive Four Stars. It is a dicey path to walk, because the factors which elevate the rating for some would depress it for others. But I do not read Two Star books, life is too short and I am too flush with books.All this because Elias spends a great deal of paper and ink describing the workings or a Symphony Orchestra. For me, who first witnessed such a group when I was fifteen, and am a 30 year subscriber to the local orchestra, this insight was a delight. Since Elias has a rock solid background in this area, I feel I can trust what he writes. "Once More, With Feeling', a Yul Brynner vehicle wherein he plays a conductor, seems to be lost to us, but here we have a conductor of steel and vitriol, a joy to hate, and a blind ex-violinist who has developed a habit of solving crimes. Not a thriller or a spy novel or a crime story, this is a Mystery, and as such follows certain rules and lacks certain frills and chills. For one looking for an interesting Mystery novel with fascinating characters and a musical bent, this is the book.Recommended.

  • Maddy
    2018-10-17 01:04

    PROTAGONIST: Daniel Jacobus, blind violin teacherSETTING: Tanglewood Music Festival SERIES: #4 of 4RATING: 3.5Daniel Jacobus is a classical violinist who was about to assume the role of concertmaster for a major orchestra when he became blind. Since that time, he has been a violin teacher. The image that may come to mind is that of a gentle, grandfatherly figure—nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, Jacobus is cantankerous and difficult. And those are the traits that serve to make him a very memorable character.In a symphony orchestra, the musical director’s right hand person is the concertmaster who serves as the link between the director and the musicians. For the past forty years, the conductor of the Harmonium touring orchestra has been Vaclav Herza, a tyrannical man who thrives on humiliating the members of his troupe but manages to extract the best possible performances from each of them. Herza has designed a concert hall which is scheduled to open in a few days. The current concertmaster, Scheherazade (“Sherry”) O’Brien, has been in an acting position for about two years. Auditions to fill the spot permanently are being held prior to the hall opening. Two people seek Jacobus’ help to succeed in the auditions—his former student and surrogate daughter, Yumi Shinagawa, and Sherry O’Brien.By rights, the job should go to O’Brien; but Herza treats her abominably. She is worried that she won’t get fair treatment at his hands and is planning to file a grievance. Jacobus feels that she is wrong to do so and refuses to help her beyond working with her for one session prior to the auditions. As it turns out, Sherry’s assumptions were correct. She doesn’t get a fair audition; afterwards, she is found with her wrists slit, close to death. Jacobus comes to believe that this is an attempted murder and the mastermind to be Herza. He enlists the help of several colleagues to dig up dirt on Herza, but it’s difficult to pin anything on him, despite circumstantial evidence that he has been guilty of several reprehensible acts. The characters of Jacobus and Herza are richly drawn, and their interactions are prickly and clever. The plot plays out well until the conclusion, which felt too convenient and forced.In addition to the main plot, Elias exposes the reader to the world of the classical symphony orchestra. Due to my own lack of knowledge of classical music, most of the musical allusions went right over my head. However, what I did find interesting was his descriptions of the inner workings of the orchestra, both the personal interactions of the group’s members and the professional environment that they worked in. The book spends a lot of time dealing with the negotiations for a contract between the musicians and their sponsor, and I found the explanations of the elements of the orchestral contracts to be quite illuminating.DEATH AND TRANSFIGURATION is the fourth in the Daniel Jacobus series. Although I really liked the lead character, it is highly unlikely that I will read other books in this series. I found my lack of classical music knowledge was a barrier to totally enjoying this book.

  • Virginia
    2018-10-08 04:05

    I thoroughly enjoyed this as a fast, fun airplane read. I had not read the first three books in the series but will add them to my to-read list after enjoying this one!Pros and cons:* Daniel Jacobus is definitely a unique protagonist. His acerbic wit and determined independence despite blindness were refreshing. He's someone it would be fun to know. * I found the orchestra insider information fascinating. I played violin through college and totally related to the poor fellow auditioning for concertmaster whose bow shook so badly he couldn't play! Been there. * The mystery was present but not overwhelming. The story of the players and how they related to Jacobus was just as interesting to me - a satisfying combination of plot and character. * The ending was a little odd, or maybe I was expecting something more definite after a book filled with precision. This may be normal for the author's books - i'll find out in the next one. * Although I enjoyed the orchestra detail, I wonder if it would be as interesting for a non-musician. That's not a criticism - many books have specialized detail - but I can see where I would put aside a book whose detail just wasn't that engaging for me. * I had to keep reminding myself that the book was set during the Clinton administration though written recently. I'm not sure why this was disconcerting but it was. Overall, a recommended read.

  • Becky
    2018-09-29 04:30

    3 1/2 starsAll is not as congenial or collegial among musicians, conductors and other orchestra personnel as audiences at a classical music concert might think. The author mines the personalities, jealousies, rivalries, love-hate relationships among these professionals to create a mystery that involves a renowned (fictitious) symphonic orchestra, a tyrannical conductor and murder.This is the fourth book in the Daniel Jacobus mystery series involving the blind, crotchety, amateur detective, Daniel Jacobus, former virtuoso violinist--but the first that I have read. According to the author, all titles are "excursions into the dark side of the classical music world".The author is an insider. He has been a violinist with professional symphonies, a professor of music and a professional chamber group player. His behind-the-scenes knowledge about life in the classical music world adds much to his novel.

  • Michelle
    2018-09-28 02:29

    This is the 4th book in the Daniel Jacobus series. Daniel’s protege, Yumi is planning to audition for the concertmaster position at the famed orchestra, Harmonium, conducted by the mercurial Vaclav Herza and seeks out Daniel’s feedback prior to her audition. To his surprise, the current acting concertmaster, Scheherazade (Sherry) O’Brien) also seeks his aid. He finds an unexpected connection with Sherry and when she is summarily dismissed from the audition proceedings by Herza and then is found dead by apparent suicide, Daniel begins to dig into Herza’s past and the current status of Harmonium, leading him on a dark path into the underside of the the music business and Eastern Europe.

  • Dave
    2018-09-27 00:07

    An interesting way for a reader to get exposed to some Classical music 'inside baseball.' Not a bad story, but a good editor would not have gone amiss. Pedantic early chapters are followed by several interesting plot threads about halfway through. Unfotrunately, because the author got such a late start, these subplots are rushed and the subcharacters are just names on a page. Then, the threads all come together in a series of phone calls to the protagonist all in one night. Puh-leeze. If you love classical music, and you love mystery novels, you will like this book. If you don't love both, don't bother.

  • Robin
    2018-09-26 03:28

    I was intrigued by the title and have not read the earlier books in the Daniel Jacobus series. I was fascinated by the blind violin teacher hero and his various connections with musicians around the world--the two young women vying to be concert-mistress of a professional orchestra, a nasty director, prima donnas and musicians just trying to make a living, contemporary life, post-W.W. II Europe, and bits of Japanese culture. I'm looking forward to reading the earlier books in the series and appreciate that the author has also made performances of the music available on his website.

  • Susan
    2018-10-11 00:27

    An inconclusive ending bumps this to a two-star rating. Famous conductor Herza is known for mistreating his orchestra. When a violinist comes to blind teacher Daniel Jacobus for help, he tells her he can't do anything for her. So naturally he feels guilty--his default mode--for the ensuing tragedy. He decides that he must research Herza's background, as she had asked him to, and finds unexpected flaws in the conductor's respectable facade. This series is a strange combination of depressing and humorous, with lots of information about the world of classical music.

  • Nathalie S
    2018-10-12 04:09

    I've enjoyed all of Gerald Elias's books so far. This one started out great as I learned more about the inner workings of orchestras and such but it turned out as the least favorite of mine after all. Still extremely well written but I just didn't care for this one as much--maybe because it took me so long to finish it or maybe the bad guy was just too nasty a piece of trash and I was glad of his comeuppance.

  • Laura
    2018-10-10 07:08

    The ending wasn't quite as satisfying as I would have liked, but still enjoy the orchestral insights in the book.

  • Marvelle Morgan
    2018-10-02 07:06

    The only thing I liked about this book was the inside information on the behind-the-scenes machinations of orchestras. Learning more about their inner workings was fascinating.

  • Kate
    2018-10-14 01:11

    Excellent, but as with Elias' other books this is particularly interesting if one is a musician or is very interested in classical music.

  • Margaret1358 Joyce
    2018-10-15 05:24

    A remarkably clever plot with lively dialogue and interesting content, this book was a fast read.

  • Jeff
    2018-09-27 04:07

    The protagonist is a bit of a curmudgeon, even by my standards, but otherwise a pretty good mystery.

  • Mary Barry
    2018-10-08 02:27

    A really slow start but better during the last third.

  • Joyce
    2018-10-14 04:15

    Interesting hero dealing with his blindness. Fascinating background of symphony music an politics. Mystery is so so.

  • Robert E.Kennedy Library
    2018-10-07 06:06

    Find it at Kennedy Library

  • Ruth
    2018-10-12 06:01

    I felt compelled to finish the series--

  • Kathleen
    2018-10-19 04:25

    Such a slow beginning I couldn't stay with it see if it was any good.

  • Ellen Dark
    2018-09-26 23:03

    The book was good, but I found the ending a letdown.