Life, Death and Cellos

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 27 Feb 2019

Member Reviews

Bad seafood leads to a corpulent conductor—I love alliteration—suffering a heart attack in the musical saddle. Then the orchestra’s problems really start. There’s a Strad involved. The new conductor is having an affair with more than one cellist.
There’s a lot of musical explanations, intended to teach us non-musicians, but even this is too technical, so it came across as boring. Listed as a mystery, but it really isn’t. Told in a tongue-in-cheek style that tries to be like Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but despite some humor it’s nowhere near that level.
My fave characters are Erin and the cop who gets obsessed by the Strad. We’ll probably be seeing more of him in the sequels, which are sure to come.
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A must-read for anyone active on the amateur music scene!

This is a light-hearted, stereotype-driven piece which will appeal to those familiar with amateur music making, whether orchestral, choral or band.  The writing, at times, leaves a lot to be desired and character development is limited.  However, with a bit of imagination and projection, the gaps can easily be filled and before long I could but help myself attributing characters to real life friends and acquaintances in my own circles.

Suitable as a beach or bedtime read, this is escapism.  If developed a little more I think the author could have had a class work here - as it is is it'll put a smile on your face and a flutter of recognition.

With thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the ARC.
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A light read, the plot is full of musical references and I actually learned something new about the pieces involved. The book is full of humour from almost the first moment when a rich benefactress is squashed by the body of an overweught guest conductor who dies on the podium.
In return for her continnued patronage, she insists on performing with the orchestra in their next major concert..sadly she is tone deaf! How can the orchestra save their reputation and build on this on....
This is the story of the underdog, of a Stradivarius, of theft and of intrigue all delivered with a tongue in cheek humour. Its a nice light read and sounds like there are more to come in the series.
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I actually thought this was a murder mystery in the English style. Not.

However, it was enjoyable up to a point. I adore anything written across the pone. Well, almost anything. This was a LOT like a soap opera, even though there was a stolen cello -- and what a cello!

The characters are very British, quite deliciously staid and a little stiff -- but not all of them. If you like character-driven stories that are well written, you'll like this book.

This review is tweeted and facebooked.
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Tour de Farce

	A warm, witty, wickedly funny Tour de Farce; a skewering of musicians and a love affair with music.  If you've ever played an instrument or sung in a group you will instantly recognize the various stereotypes.  Delicious!  Okay, couldn't resist sharing a few of the bon mots:

	"Why play in an amateur orchestra? The answer is usually either to have sex, gossip about who else is having sex, have a crush on the conductor, pretend to read Proust in the trombone or timpani rests or wait for the pint after the rehearsal. There are those who join for a love of music or a desire to expand their cultural knowledge, but frankly they are usually at the back of the violas and nobody talks to them much."

	"Mendelssohn has that dubious honour of being popular without ever quite being admired . . ."

	"Class interaction in Britain is as vibrantly layered as it has ever been."

	And that last is to remind us that this is a British novel, full of biscuits and flats and lorries to charm you as you hold your sides laughing uproariously.
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This is a comfy read with good characters ... if you've ever played in amateur orchestras then you'll recognise many of them I"m sure.  Looking forward to meeting some of the other players in the rest of the series.
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I read this book after having given up on another which I had been reading for a few weeks and could not get into, so was looking for a bit of light relief and easy reading - which this certainly was. The story developed quite quickly and you did not need to be a music technician to understand the more specific references. They appeared with other parts of the story between them so you were not put off by references to musical terms although a couple of times I thought the author got close to losing herself in explaining orchestral niceties - but thankfully realised and cut herself short. The ending was amusing and made me smile making the whole read worthwhile. Overall a book to read yourself or give to a friend with a slight classical musical bent - having sung in a choir I could relate to the process described!
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This story did not immediately grab me.  I kept reading for a bit and became totally engrossed in the story.  The characters were well drawn and believable.  
The story revolves around a planned concert, the first after a guest conductor dies mid-concert.  There is the typical in-fighting/rivalry between musicians - that is very true to most community orchestras and choirs.  
The addition of  a Stradivarius cello coming into the possession of one of the less talented musicians adds a great jolt of energy to the story.   The story is complex enough to be compelling, yet not so overdone as to feel you need a scorecard.   Having been in a few choirs and being an amateur musician, I enjoyed the descriptions of the music as well as the musicians. 
The surprises toward the end of the story will bring a smile to your face.
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A lovely, lighthearted story about an amateur orchestra and its woes.  I loved the description of the different parts of the orchestra and their idiosyncrasies, and the light-hearted plot including a dead conductor, lack of money, and a stolen Stradivari cello.
I felt it a little sad that the main characters were not developed a little more, but I see, now I review this book, that it is the first in a series so that may be overcome as the series progresses.
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An interesting insight into amateur orchestras and choirs. It may be too technical in places for anyone with no musical knowledge but for anyone involved in amateur orchestras or choirs it is a good, light read with plenty of amusing insights.
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I enjoyed this story about an orchestra. I have very little knowledge of how these things work, so enjoyed the little insights.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for allowing me to read a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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An amusing little foray into the life of an amateur orchestra dealing with different characters that interact in the course of its preparation for a concert.
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My opinion may be coloured by the fact that I mistakenly thought I was going to read a mystery, but I found this book a bit slow to get going. It was well written and had a lot of musical knowledge interspersed throughout which I found generally quite interesting, but I wasn’t really engaged with the story until at least half way through. The characters developed as we went along and I did find myself thinking more about some of the individuals, like Ann and Eliot, and wondering how their stories may be progressed in future books. By the end of the book I found that I had enjoyed it on the whole but I wouldn’t have called it a mystery.
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Erin plays cello in a community orchestra, and she's in a relationship with the conductor. Her personal life and her musical experience both are just about what you would expect... until some very surprising events shake things up. A very public death, an amazing inheritance,  a sudden job loss, an international logistics mix up, a mugging, and a life-changing connection -- and Erin finds herself on a very different path.

Don't expect a mystery. This is a straightforward novel which happens to have a detective as a minor character and is apparently kicking off a series. Will there be murder and mayhem in future books? I hope so, actually. The characters are intriguing and their relationships have plenty of room for development. 

In this first installment, we're getting to know them and the orchestra. If you're a musician, you'll feel right at home.  If you're not a musician, the details of music and musicians will give you insights into what it's like. Either way the witty descriptions poke gentle fun at community organizations and musicians.

Why does Erin find herself at the center of so many startling events as she moves through her ordinary days? That's not clear. Maybe the plot was intended to go in a different direction, or maybe it's just a reminder that life can be surprising. It's an enjoyable read, gracefully written.
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A delightful and funny story about a struggling south London amateur orchestra.  Although essentially the story of Erin, a cellist becoming the star of the orchestra, it shows the humour, bitchiness and general mayhem that goes on when the said orchestra is both trying to prepare for a concert and raise funds to survive.  Every character has their place, and the story feels very true to life.

I am not a musician by any means, so a lot of the music information was beyond my understanding, but the story still flowed along nicely.  I am sure we have all met prima donna’s like Fenella, Mrs Ford-Hughes and Joshua, as well as characters like Ann, who has seen it all before, and injects just the right amount of cynicism and encouragement into the story. Well worth reading, a great start to a series.
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It had potential, but I found it quite a frustrating read at times. This is not a mystery by any means, there is pretty much no detective work involved. It's more of a light hearted book about an orchestra.
I think the most frustrating thing is the sheer amount of exposition about pieces of music and orchestras and choirs. It's obvious that the author knows a great deal about it, but at times this really slows the story down. The characters are okay but other than Erin, don't really develop or have personalities, I think perhaps this was due to the number of people to service and all that exposition. The author never seems to show when telling is available.
I didn't hate it, I'd probably pick it up as a Kindle Unlimited and I did think the author had promise.
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I rather thought I was getting a thriller with the blurb. That is not the case. It's a story about musicians. A pleasant and readable story that doesn't take long to read. The protagonist is a female musician, but the story is told from various points of view. I enjoyed finding out about what it is like to be an orchestra member and all the pros and cons that go with that.
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I really appreciated reading Isabel Rogers’ debut novel, “Life, Death and Cellos.” Sadly, I am no musician, however, I was still able to relish the orchestral elements that were so much a part of this hilarious novel.

I loved the highly original story of Stockwell Park Orchestra, which is having a difficult time, complete with a dead conductor, love affairs, a stolen cello and no money. Can Stockwell Park Orchestra possibly beat the odds to play another season?

For me, Isabel Rogers has written a wonderful and highly amusing masterpiece, complete with a brilliant, fast-paced plot and delightfully engaging characters. I loved the straightforward and easy to read writing style - can't wait to see what happens in book two!

“Life, Death and Cellos” is an ideal read for some great laughs, a bit of escapism and a touch of mystery.

My heartfelt thanks to NetGalley and Farrago for my free ARC, in exchange for my voluntary review, and my full applause to the author.
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Fun read an orchestra the characters in it come alive.Full of humor  very enjoyable look foward to next in series,
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3 stars

You can read all of my book reviews on my blog at

This was a cute book about musicians in a small community orchestra. The conductor is a philanderer who is not afraid to use seduction to further his career. When he gets food poisoning after a date with one of the cello players and misses the concert, a guest conductor is brought in. The guest conductor drops dead in the middle of the performance, landing on one of the orchestra's most generous benefactors, injuring her. The benefactor withdrawals her financial backing from the orchestra, leaving it broke and desperate. 

Cellist Erin suggests a plan to recover the lost finances, but the plan has a lot of moving parts and is risky. Part of the plan hinges on a less than talented cello player who inherits a Stradivari cello and the diva benefactor whose vocal skills are questionable. 

The story is kind of all over the place. The book delves into the life of musicians in a small orchestra. It has a variety of characters, but we don't learn much about them other than superficial generalities and stereotypes. The story also includes a small story arc about the Stradivari cello being stolen and recovered. This storyline was odd and out of place and I'm not sure why it was included, unless it was to set something up for the next book in the series.

Overall the book was a light, fun read. It is well-written, but isn't a book that I will think twice about now that it's read. 

 I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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