One Fell Swoop, by David Linzee: Deadly Deeds in London and St. Louis

one_fell_swoopOne Fell Swoop ($15.95, 288 pp, 5×8 Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60381-577-2), is a work of mystery/suspense by David Linzee. When Renata and her boyfriend Peter attempt to discover the identity of her brother Don’s London billionaire employer, they find their lives in danger.

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“Linzee’s enthusiasm for St. Louis current events, opera and London are evident in the details scattered throughout this twisty tale. [….] This fast-paced tale will have readers rooting for Renata Radleigh and wondering what kind of trouble she will stumble into next.”  Read more….

—Jennifer Alexander for The West End World

“Intriguing from the start, One Fell Swoop is fast paced and action packed [….] The drama, the secrets, the scandals and the unfolding of the mystery are so sublime, one will want to read the book again and again!”  Read more….

—Chantel Hardge for InD’Tale Magazine

“Linzee is a dedicated craftsman who uses his tools with special rare talent and truth. One Fell Swoop is one you don’t want to miss. The word ‘superb’ comes to mind.”

—John Lutz, author of Slaughter

“The second entry in this delightful series moves effortlessly back and forth between the UK and the US.”

—Albert Ashforth, author of On Edge

The Renata Radleigh Opera Mystery series began with Spur of the Moment:

“Mystery lovers will enjoy the intelligent writing, the mix of light and dark, the astute psychology and biting social satire, and the satisfaction of a traditional (but not formulaic) mystery that’s a bit of a classed-up romp.”

—St. Louis Magazine

“An entertaining mystery, full of intriguing backstage details about opera productions and introducing an appealing heroine who is feisty, funny, and deeply loyal to her shallow sibling. Recommend for fans of Blair Tindall’s memoir Mozart in the Jungle and anyone who enjoys crime served up with an aria.”

—Library Journal

“An entertaining novel full of St. Louis references, British slang, and a dab of commentary on the state of medical research. Readers will enjoy this light, quirky tale of fictional intrigue set in our own backyard.”

—West End Word

“A thoroughly enjoyable read and you might just fall in love with Renata[….[ I look forward to Mr. Linzee’s next production starring Ms. Radleigh.”

—David Prestidge,

David Linzee is the author of several other critically acclaimed mysteries published in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s: Final Seconds (as David August), Housebreaker, Belgravia, Discretion, and Death in Connecticut.

When mezzo-soprano Renata Radleigh stumbles over a corpse on London’s Hampstead Heath, she suspects the death has something to do with her brother Don’s boss, a billionaire speculator who will go to any lengths to keep his identity secret. Don is acting as his front-man in far-off St. Louis, Missouri, buying up a borderline slum called Parkdale. Don has an apartment in Parkdale and claims he wants to save the neighborhood. He’s even having a romance with a local community gardener, the sturdy Hannah.

Tipped off by a long-distance call from his girlfriend Renata, Peter Lombardo tails the slippery Don and discovers he really lives in the fashionable Central West End, where he seems to have a more glamorous lover. Peter is not buying Don’s new image. Not even the drug dealers trust the man.

Between singing engagements at a London mansion and a prison, Renata tries to find out the truth about Don’s employer and ends up pursued by his thugs, fleeing for her life. She flees all the way to St. Louis to join forces with her beloved Peter. Why is the powerful and charismatic chancellor of Adams University interested in Don’s dealings? What is Don up to? Does he know himself, or is he nothing but a patsy who could well pay for his cluelessness with his life, as well as the lives of Renata and Peter?

Says Linzee, “One Fell Swoop is a globalization thriller, about how schemes laid by high-rollers in London have deadly consequences in a rustbelt city in the American Midwest. Readers may note echoes of the visionary endeavors recently launched by leaders of some of America’s greatest universities. That part of the plot was informed by my years at a PR man for one such university. Other ideas came from my experiences as a resident of, and newsletter editor for, an urban neighborhood striving toward gentrification. Residents of St. Louis and London will find themselves on familiar ground. Every location I describe is real, including the neighborhood of ‘Parkdale,’ though it isn’t called that.”

David Linzee was born in St. Louis, where he and his wife currently reside. Besides writing novels and short stories, he has worked in PR, and as a journalist, a science writer, and a teacher. For more information, click here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Renata smiled but kept her silence. He’d almost talked himself ’round. But abruptly he tossed away the cigarette and sat up straight, giving her a hard, sidelong glance. “Look here. How do I know you’re not one of that anti-Putin lot?”

“The demonstrators? No.”

“We’ve had them in front of the house, waving their signs and shouting all sorts of rubbish.”

“Neal, all I want is the guest list.”

“Maybe that’s not what you’re after at all. You know I bring the dogs in here. Now you’re trying to get something else on me. What’s your game?” His chin had sunk into his collar and he was blinking rapidly.

“I’m a singer. Looking for a job. That’s all.”

“Sing something then.”

“No. That’s ridiculous. I can show you ID—”

“What’ll that prove? You say you’re a singer. Prove it.”

“Oh … very well. What would you like to hear?” She searched her memory for the shortest aria she knew that would sound passable sung a capella. “How about ‘Voi che sapete’?”

He wrinkled up his nose. “None of that foreign muck. Sing ‘Memory.’ That’s a good one.”

Her heart sank. She had never seen Cats. Like everyone, she’d heard ‘Memory’ countless times in cars and waiting rooms. But she didn’t really know it. All she could do was an imitation of Betty Buckley, or Barbra Streisand, or whoever was singing it in her head. And it wouldn’t sound like them. She was a trained singer, and had never really figured out the crossover thing—not that anyone else had done it totally successfully, except maybe Frederica von Stade or Dawn Upshaw.

Neal lit another cigarette. Folded his arms and looked at her. Impatiently. Suspiciously.

Renata stood up, faced him squarely, breathed in, and launched into “Memory.”

It was acutely painful. Her breathing was off. She couldn’t quite recall where the key modulations happened. Sometimes she even failed to remember a word and had to slur her way through. And, unable to shake the voice of Barbra Streisand in her head, she could hear herself doing strange pop singer swoops that would make any other classical singer shudder. She hoped he would be satisfied and tell her to stop. But he made her go on to the last note. Perhaps she was butchering the number so badly he didn’t believe she was a professional.

She’d ended up gazing heavenward, which she hoped was an appropriate bit of characterization. Lowering her eyes, she found that Neal was standing with his back to her, shoulders hunched, both hands gripping the balustrade, like a passenger about to be sick over the ship’s rail.

“Sorry,” she said.

Neal turned to her. His eyes were full of tears. A moment passed before he was able to choke out, “That was … beautiful.”


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