Music is Murder
In her debut novel, MUSIC IS MURDER, B.J. Bowen invites readers into the insular and compelling world of an orchestra shaken by the murder of its bassoonist. Second flute Emily Wilson finds herself the prime suspect and begins her own investigation, determined to find the truth.
The author grabbed me from the beginning with her unique setting: a Monroe, Colorado orchestra full of vivid personalities that don't always get along. These are passionate people working in close quarters where the mistakes of one affect the whole. I knew basically nothing about orchestras before reading this and found the insider’s perspective fascinating. It’s an excellent setting for a novel, and especially for a murder. Considering the victim's headstrong and self-centered personality, her death isn't surprising, and it certainly isn't straightforward.
My favorite element of this novel is the characters. Protagonist Emily Wilson is the sort of person I want as my next-door neighbor--she's kindhearted with a dash of internal snark that keeps her narrative fun to read. She also has a sense of humor that made me chuckle out loud a few times. (Musician humor!)
In addition to the heroine, there's an orchestra full of interesting characters/suspects for Emily to investigate. My favorite character, however, has to be KC, a fellow flutist Emily takes under her wing. Their dynamic is the heart of this novel. Oh, and Emily's adorable golden retriever gets an honorable mention.
The mystery component is twisty with a gratifying conclusion. For Emily, the stakes are high and rise as the story progresses. The homicide detective in charge of the case is either too lazy or inept to look past Emily as the prime suspect, which forces her well out of her comfort zone to find the true killer. Each development in the case kept me invested, and the way the novel's themes come together at the end delivers a surprising emotional punch.
MUSIC IS MURDER is a delightful cozy mystery that boasts an engaging setting, memorable cast, and satisfying whodunit. As this is the author's debut, I will be eagerly looking for more stories from her in the future.
--All Pikes Peak Writes Prize Winning Author, Leisel Hufford
MUSIC IS MURDER by B.J. Bowen delivers an engaging heroine with a serious ear for mystery.
Emily Wilson, a flutist with her town's symphony orchestra, is stunned when she learns her on-the-outs friend Olive is murdered with her own bassoon. Emily is even more aghast when she finds out she is the police department's number one suspect in the crime. Determined to clear her name, Emily pulls back the curtain on the fascinating world of concert musicians in a gripping mystery that's sharper than Joseph Haydn's "Symphony No. 46."
In B.J. Bowen's debut novel, she delivers action, romance, and intrigue, not to mention a twisting mystery that will have you puzzling right alongside Emily the entire time. A charming setting, the juicy drama of symphony life, and endearing characters make this novel sing. A standout is Emily's sidekick, K.C. a former escort looking to get her life back on track. Her wit, affable personality, and loyalty to Emily shine in every scene. It's a testament to Bowen's writing that she creates such delightful supporting characters that the reader roots for alongside the heroine.
Without giving too much away, the lengths Emily must go to are really refreshing and adventurous for the cozy mystery genre. This book delivered so many delightfully unexpected scenes and twists that it kept me on the edge of my seat to the very end.
It seems the symphony world is never short on drama, and I can't wait to read what happens to Emily next!
Sarah E. Burr, Author, Court of Mystery Series