________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 21. . . .February 3, 2012


Orchestrated Murder. (Rapid Reads).

Rick Blechta.
Victoria, BC: Raven Books/Orca, 2011.
122 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-55469-885-1.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.

Review by Christina Pike.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



The coast was till clear as they pulled up at the backstage entrance.

Surprisingly, the media hadn't arrived yet. A beat cop Pratt recognized was standing next to the door, looking bored.

"Glad to have you aboard, sir," he said. "It's a mad house in there, I hear."

"It's going to be a madhouse out there too. Don't let anyone in and don't tell them anything."


Pratt was very sorry later that he had just rushed by. He might have retired on the spot if he'd known about the unholy mess he was walking into.

At the vacant security desk just inside, a sergeant Pratt knew was waiting. Next to him stood a man wearing a suit and tie even though it was Saturday morning. He looked to be in his late thirties, medium height, slightly overweight.

"Glad they sent you, Pratt," the sergeant said as they shook hands. "This is Michael Browne. He's the symphony's manager. He's the one who called the murder in."

Pratt knew Browne had to be competent to have this sort of job. At the moment, he looked pretty rattled and on edge.

More hand shaking as Pratt introduced Ellis.

"This situation is a real mess," the sergeant added.

"Blood?" the detective asked. He hated the bloody ones.

"No, no. It's the suspect list."

"What about it?"

"The entire orchestra has confessed."


Rick Blechta has wound a murder mystery with twists, turns and on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. The storyline moves quickly. Although the characters are typical, the older experienced officer partnered with the rookie trying to prove himself, it works. The message that Blechta is trying to deliver isn't just about how to solve a murder but also about human nature and first impressions not always being right.

     Orchestrated Murder opens with the murder of the conductor Luigi Spadafini and the entire orchestra's confessing. As the story unfolds, it becomes evident that Spadafini, although talented, gifted perhaps, was not well liked. It is up to Detective Lieutenant Pratt and his partner to figure out the true killer. There is pressure form all sides to move quickly.

     A good, fast-paced read.

Highly Recommended.

Christina Pike is the principal of St. Paul's Junior High in St. John's, NL.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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