Symphony of Secrets

Books on Tape. Apr. 2023. 13:47 hrs. ISBN 9780593668306. $95. F
There is no sophomore slump for Slocumb in this fantastic follow-up to The Violin Conspiracy. Expertly balancing two intricately plotted timelines, Slocumb, a violinist and educator, highlights the struggles that Black musicians and composers face in the classical music realm, just as he did in his highly praised debut. Fictional Jazz Age composer Frederick Delaney established a foundation to help impoverished young musicians, so when professor Bern Hendricks, a Delaney Foundation beneficiary, is asked by the organization to work on a special project, he jumps at the chance. The foundation believes it has found a missing Delaney masterpiece, and they want Bern to prepare it for performance. When something seems off to the musicologist, he hires his friend Eboni, an IT whiz who has also worked on Delaney musical analysis. Narrator Chanté McCormick expertly distinguishes Slocumb’s delightful and varied cast of characters, especially shining in her depictions of the reserved Bern and feisty Eboni. She also smoothly navigates the 1920s flashbacks where Delaney first helps, then exploits, neurodivergent Black composer Josephine Reed.
VERDICT All mystery fans should enjoy Slocumb’s musical thriller, which is heartwarming as well as thought-provoking, especially given the outstanding characterizations and perfect pacing of narrator McCormick.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing