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<<  -- 2 --  Kelly Ferjutz    ALARMS INCLUDED


Without being aware of exactly what he hath wrought, William had innocently purchased a cello from an auction house. Strange things begin to happen -- occasionally -- to those in the vicinity of the cello whenever it is played, most notably the conductor of the Sinfonia, Leszek Zemitsky. The appearance of a new trial cellist, Janice, seems somehow connected, which makes no sense at all. Unless once can suspend disbelief to include ghosts. For it does seem as the cello is indeed haunted.

The presentation of the story line about the cello and how it interacts with each person with whom it shares any space -- close-up or across a concert hall -- is breath-taking, and eminently believable. The steady decline of the persons most effected by it, whether physical or emotional, is heart-breaking and confusing to those who are not so affected.

Eventually, William comes to the conclusion that the cello must die, but that is not so easily accomplished as one might think. With the connivance of Pete Hegel, the orchestra manager, he traces the cello's history, digging out the necessary background information that might help the cause. Or maybe not. In the meantime, however, the two major orchestras of London -- the one William did play for, and the one in which he now plays -- are having funding crises. A haunted conductor who collapses on stage would appear to be the final blow, except for yet another thread in the overall tapestry. Piotr, the Russian cellist from William's old orchestra suddenly discovers his temporarily misplaced loyalty to reveal a dastardly plot. And then ...

Really, this book needs to be read, not just reviewed. I've read it three times, and still can't get it out of my head.

My particular favorite line is on page 55, when describing the cacophony subsequent to the Duke's rendition of Siegfried's horn call in the ornate, fake-marble lobby of a Madrid hotel at 2:45am, which set off the fire alarms. 'The alarm merged with Wagner in a fashion that only Charles Ives devotees could truly have relished.' Brilliant. And absolutely perfect! (PS I believe I might have heard just such a piece of music, alarms included, not so long ago. Or maybe it was just a wannabee ...)

Copyright © 9 September 2004 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA





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