Spur of the Moment ($16.95, 322 pp, 5×8 Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-1-60381-341-9) is a work of mystery/suspense by David Linzee. When her opera-fundraiser brother is charged with the crime of killing a donor, mezzo-soprano Renata Radleigh takes it upon herself to clear his name. Her investigation will pull her outside the small world of grand opera and into the big-money, high-risk pharmaceutical development game.
Spur of the Moment is Book 1 in the Renata Radleigh Opera Mystery series.
** Order the 5×8 paperback online by clicking the cover image **
“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.” Read more….
—Jeannette Cooperman for 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, April 1, 2016
“Spur of the Moment is 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.” Read more….
—Jennifer Alexander, West End Word
“The book sits fairly comfortably in the cosy bracket. This is by no means a criticism, but the gentle humour and thoroughly urbane style of writing point Spur of the Moment in that direction. Blood is shed, certainly, but not dwelt upon. It’s 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.” Read more….
—David Prestidge, Crimefictionlover.com
“Written with his usual elegant precision, author Linzee brings alive his city and its characters in ways that nail the reader to the page. Don’t miss this one. St. Louis is undergoing a renaissance, and Spur of the Moment is an important part of it.”
—John Lutz, author of Frenzy
David Linzee is the author of several other mysteries published in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s: Final Seconds (as David August), Housebreaker, Belgravia, Discretion, and Death in Connecticut.
Blackstone Audio version, Final Seconds: “Their seamless collaboration is notable for the efficiency of the plotting and the unusual credibility of the story.” —Publishers Weekly
Housebreaker (Dutton, 1987): “Breathtaking.” —Library Journal
Belgravia (Seaview, 1979/Dell, 1979/Robert Hale, 1981) “Bright… fast-paced… Belgravia is highly recommended.” —People
Discretion (Seaview, 1978/Dell, 1979/Robert Hale, 1981/Droemer Knaur 1979); “Smoothly written, full of action, clever in its plotting.” —NY Times
Death in Connecticut (McKay-Washburn, 1977/Dell, 1978) “A totally believable first novel reminiscent of The Catcher in the Rye. The author has caught the zeitgeist of the times with measured accuracy.”—Publishers Weekly
A lifelong rivalry between opera singer Renata Radleigh and her younger brother Don takes an unexpected turn when Don is accused of murder. He is Saint Louis Opera’s star fundraiser after procuring a last-minute underwriter for its avant-garde production of Carmen. Don is accused of seducing his donor to get the contribution, then killing her after her husband finds out. His alleged victim, Dr. Helen Stromberg-Brand, had invented a vaccine that was expected to earn billions and win her a Nobel.
The scandal shocks Saint Louis and pushes the opera company to the brink. No one cares about defending Don. Only Renata believes he is innocent. Her attempts to clear him lead to warnings of dismissal, threats of arrest, and a brutal assault. She finds an unexpected ally in Peter Lombardo, a former journalist who does PR at the medical center where Helen had made loyal friends and bitter enemies. Peter believes that the trail leading to Helen’s killer begins with the vaccine, not the opera donation. Together they discover that the search for the next wonder drug can inspire greed and vengefulness beyond any opera plot. As their feelings for each other deepen and more corpses turn up, an onstage mishap elevates Renata to the role of Carmen. But the greatest moment of her career may be the last moment of her life.
Says Linzee, “Spur is based on my experiences as a PR man at Washington University Medical School and a volunteer at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, where I chauffeured singers in from the airport and was a supernumerary. The worlds of higher education and opera are rife with over-sized egos and underlying drama. Plenty of fodder there for a whole raft of mystery novels.”
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:
She stopped and looked up. In her preoccupation she had given no thought to which way she was walking, and she found herself not at the Ritz-Carlton, but the County Justice Center. The name was etched over the locked front doors. There was a window display touting the attractions of St. Louis County’s parks. She ran her eye up the ten-story building. Behind these tan-orange bricks and opaque green windows was her brother. She could hear men shouting. A riot? No, there was also the regular, hollow beat of a basketball being dribbled. So that was one way the prisoners passed time. It wouldn’t do Don any good; basketball was one American enthusiasm he’d never managed to embrace.
Tomorrow afternoon she would be able to visit him, Samuelson had said. He seemed to have little hope that Don would qualify for release on bail, so she would have to come back here and enter this building tomorrow. She had never visited anyone in jail, and her memory could produce only movie scenes: actors sitting on either side of a thick pane of glass, talking to each other on telephones. She shuddered. In real life it couldn’t be that bad, could it?
Even if there were no pane of glass or phones it would be hard. Her brother’s life had been smashed to bits. He wasn’t just in jail but in disgrace, and he was the sort of person to feel disgrace keenly. How was she to console him? If only they loved each other. Even liked each other a bit. If only he hadn’t been so beastly to her the last time they had talked. She knew why, of course: she had been questioning him about his affair with Helen, and Don often got angry when forced to lie. Still she couldn’t forget that last shaft of his, “aging journeyman mezzo-soprano.” It hit too close to home. No, it hit home squarely.
She touched the $50 bill Congreve had given her for cab fare. It was tucked into her bra, because the blue silk dress had no pockets. Tomorrow would come soon enough. Now it was time to head for the Ritz-Carlton and home.
Home? No doubt the police had turned the whole house over by now. They might still be there. Even if they weren’t, the phone would be ringing. Reporters. A few might even come to the door. Congreve had made it crystal-clear she wasn’t to talk to them.
Renata started walking. But not toward the Ritz. Samuelson had mentioned that Helen Stromberg-Brand had been killed in her house on Linden Avenue. That was only a few streets away, an easy walk even in her pinching party shoes. She wanted to take a look at the scene of the crime.