Cover Image: The Devil's Harmony

The Devil's Harmony

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Member Reviews

I stuck with this title until the 2/3 mark and didn't go further. I liked the characters, but the mysteries layered upon mysteries and the historical coincidence of the Romanovs and the Nazis just didn't ring true. It does make me want to try another title in the series.
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Another excellent mystery featuring Phineas Fox, this series is becoming a favorite.
The plot is gripping and entertaining, the historical background well researched and vivid, the characters are fleshed out.
I loved the solid mystery, full of twists and turns, that kept me guessing.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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This fifth book in the Phineas Fox series from Sarah Rayne is my favorite yet. Using the same format which has been successful in the previous episodes, we find Phin becoming involved in an investigation of old music and the mysteries of the lives lived along side or embroiled with that music. Here it is a history that goes back to 1918, though it is possible that the music itself goes back further, and the early Russian Revolution. The next historical setting is early 1940s Warsaw, Poland during Nazi occupation. In the present, Phin and Arabella are introduced to a Polish woman who grew up orphaned in Warsaw. And to a recently discovered scrapbook of music related information having connections to the almost mythic Chopin Library of Warsaw.

I don’t want to go deeply into the plot here, for it is complex and should be read. At times it may often seem too much plot! But I encourage sticking with it as it does come together well in the end. Actually, in this book, the plot and many other characters take the lead over Phin and Arabella, who shape the process but don’t drive it.

I recommend this book and believe it could be read as a standalone by those new to the series

A copy of this book was provided by Severn House through NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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The Devil's Harmony is the 5th Phineas Fox historical mystery by Sarah Rayne. Due out 2nd Feb 2021 from Severn House, it's 256 pages and available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

This is a masterfully rendered historical mystery wrapped around a framework of actual historical occurrences across several timelines: 1918 Russia, WW2 Warsaw, and modern day England. The author is adept at weaving fiction and history seamlessly, it's not always clear where real history shades over into fiction. The author's characterizations are believable and three dimensional. The story is poignant and compelling. 

Although it's the 5th book in the series, it works quite well as a standalone. Though occasionally characters refer to things which happened in earlier books, there aren't any major spoilers. This was my first foray into the series, and I've added the previous books to my TBR pile. 

Four and a half stars. I recommend it highly, especially to fans of historical mystery featuring academic sleuths, and music/classics. Very well done.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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I admit up front to being a fan of tis series, which features Phineas Fox, a music researcher who somehow always finds himself wrapped in a historical mystery and murder.  Don't worry if you haven't read the earlier ones - this is fine as a standalone.  This time, Phineas and his fiancee Arabella  are asked to look at a scrap book which echos back to 1918 Russia and then to Nazi occupied Warsaw.  How was it rescued from the Chopin Library before it burned and how does Thaisa who lives in a small village in the UK relate to it?  This is a very complex tale for such a slim novel but it's easy to follow.  Raine has an ability to bring a character to life with quick brush strokes.  I also appreciate these novels for the opportunity to learn more about music and the lives of musicians-I always do a little more research- and that, to me, is a plus.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  A good read for fans of historical mysteries (and classical music).
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Phineas Fox is employed to verify a document that was find at the site of the destroyed Chopin Library in Warsaw. But is there a link between the Library and the music discovered in the document, known as the Dark Cadence. But what are the connections to the past, and how will it reflect on the present.
An interesting well-written story starting in 1918 and concluding in the present day with the revelations of buried secrets.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is good old-fashioned (and I mean that as a compliment) story-telling of the highest order. The novel is a mystery thriller. At times it reminded me of the writings of Wilkie Collins, Edgar Wallace and John Buchan - or perhaps a clever combination of the three.
The plot is intricate and engaging, shifting from present day England, to Warsaw in the hands of the Nazis, to Katerinburg and the execution of the Romanovs. It's full of suspense and poignant moments.
A book I would highly recommend to everyone who appreciates the quality of traditional writing values.
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This is a wonderful historical fiction novel that was entertaining to conclusion. I enjoyed the writing and the suspense of the mystery  . Thank you to Net Galley and to the publisher. My review opinions are my own. 

The Devil’s Harmony is the latest in the Phineas Fox series . I have not read his previous books however I was able to catch up easily with the charcters and who they are . This can be read as a stand alone. 
 Phineas Fox is a multi talented person who is both a  music researcher, a avid well educated historian and author .  I found this protagnist fascinating  with his varied interest . 

 This mystery seamlessly traverses timelines .  It begins in Russia in 1918 . The story then goes to Nazi  times in  Warsaw Poland  with a fascinating piece of history reveled that was both shocking and deadly in its time. As the author brings us back to Mr. Fox who now is investigating this  historical item and finding out that some may want it to stay buried. 

A fun read that I highly recommend.
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Music researcher, Phineas Fox and his friend Arabella are asked to help research a mysterious scrapbook that was found at a building site in Warsaw. The scrapbook contains copies of old documents, a music score and a possible concert programme.
The novel is set mostly in the present time, 1918 and the 1940’s. Phineas Fox and Arabella help a team of professionals research the scrapbook. They uncover forgotten histories and lost memories. In the background is the memory of an old building full of secrets, hidden spaces and fragments of music long forgotten and thought lost. 
I love the way history, music and musicians are interwoven into the story.
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A gripping read where the past and present collide with plenty of twists and turns along the way,  Highly recommended, I love this series!
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Sarah Raynes' Phineas Fox series just keeps getting better and better. Rayne has a remarkable ability to spin a new and intriguing story around familiar characters, using pieces of music history to create suspense and engage the reader. The concept introduced here, the "Dark Cadence," music played only at the execution of traitors, chilled me as I read about the Chopin Library and the murders of the Russian royal family. I still don't know if it was a real thing

I often find mystery and suspense stories to be somewhat shallow, with predictable plots and common characters. Rayne's plots are *never* common, and her characters pop off the pages. I frequently recommend Sarah Rayne and will continue to do so.
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The Devil’s Harmony is the latest in the Phineas Fox series (with assistance from his  girlfriend/fiancée Arabella Tallis). Phineas Fox is a music researcher/historian and author and is, I suspect reading interviews about the author’s interests, Sarah Rayne’s fictional alter ego. You don’t have to read the Fox novels in order, though there are occasional references to past plots and conspiracies.
As is usual with Rayne’s history/mysteries she spins her dark web across several different time-lines, countries and characters – though they often are shown to be linked in ways which become clear as you read on. 
The narrative kicks off in Tsarist Russia, in the crucial year of 1918, when an anonymous child (later their identity is revealed) witnesses more than they should of a piece of lethal history. Rayne is very adept at expressing characters’ different points of view and handling the limited understanding but quicksilver intelligence of children. 
The story moves to wartime, Nazi-occupied Warsaw, and specifically focusses on the Polish musicians working at the Chopin Library (now lost to history due to a mysterious all-consuming blaze) and of course, we move into the present day as the ongoing research of Fox and Arabella heats up, and which takes them to an obscure English village and a  life and death meeting with a spinster, Thaisa, who guards deadly secrets.
Running through all of these different times/locations is the tuneful thread of an infamous piece of music known as the Dark Cadence, only ever played at a traitor’s execution and now lost to history – or is it? 
Another brilliantly researched, touching and entertaining history/mystery thriller off Rayne.
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This is excellent.  It is the latest in the mystery series featuring Phineas Fox, a music researcher. He is asked to look at an old scrapbook rescued from the Chopin Library in Warsaw, a building burned down during the Nazi occupation of Poland the Second World War and about which surprisingly little information survives. He discovers too a piece of music known as the Dark cadence and rumoured only to be played or heard at the execution of a traitor.

But this is only part of the story, which involves the terrible execution of the entire Russian royal family, Nicholas and Alexandra and their children  in 1918, and which moves in time from the first, to the second world war and to England in the present day.

The references to famous composers neither require a knowledge nor love of music, but are woven into a complex series of poignant love stories mingled into the trauma of two world wars and a moving conclusion and revelation set in the present time. 

Both a mystery and a love story, The Devil's Harmony is easily one of the best books I have read all year..
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What would you do if you found a mysterious scrapbook containing a sheet of music that was always rumored to be so dark that no one ever attempted to write it down? As Phineas Fox delves into the contents of this scrapbook with his colleagues and those tied to the information within the book, the story begins to unravel with ties to several different families that never knew that the information existed.

The journey carries the reader from 1918 Russia where the Romanov Family was assassinated, to the present day, and to 1940s Warsaw where the beautiful Chopin Library is a splendor to be seen, with many brilliant composers of the time period having held concertos within its halls. Who was there when the Romanovs were killed and who was able to carry on with the horrors that happened within those walls? A most of Polan is ravaged by Nazi's and buildings were destroyed, why were the documents and items within the scrapbook of such importance? As Phineas begins to piece things together and gets a group of peers together to travel to a quaint little town in England, the pieces of the puzzle start to fall in place and strangers start to become closer to family. 

It's a wonderfully quick read that I found was a beautiful blend of historical fiction and a mystery/thriller. If you are a reader of either genre, you will certainly appreciate this book!
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256 pages

4 and 1 / 2 stars

Music researcher Phineas “Phin” Fox, along with his girlfriend the lovely Arabella, go on another music-related adventure in this latest installment of the series. They receive notice from two irascible elderly music professors about a folio that was recovered in Poland that contains an interesting quest. 

The four of them gear up for an investigation into the possibility of the existence and destruction of the Chopin Library in Poland. Along the way, they discover war crimes – and the Dark Cadence.

Several time lines are present in this book. We have 1918 in Russia, 1930's and 1940's in Poland and of course, present day England. Several people, in Poland, in England and Wales, lives are still affected by the crimes. 

Their stories are very interesting and the characters are well drawn. Ms. Rayne has such a talent with words that it is very easy to imagine being in the same rooms with these people. This book is very well written and plotted. There were a couple of spots where I became confused with t he timeline, but it all worked out. I truly enjoy Md. Rayne's Phin Fox novels, and can barely wait for the next to come out. Keep up the very good work, Ms. Rayne! 

I want to thank NetGalley and Severn House for forwarding to me a copy of this delicious book for me to read, enjoy and review.
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Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
This is the 5th Phineas Fox in the series.  Phin and Arrabella, his significant other, are fascinated by a scrapbook that was found in the ruins of the Chopin Library in Warsaw, which was destroyed during WWII.  It proves extremely difficult to find information on the Library, but they find a link between the Library and an infamous piece of music called the Dark Cadence, which was purported to have been played at the execution of traitors.
The book takes us to Warsaw during WWII, and also to Russia in 1918, the night the Tsar and his family were murdered.  Along with a group of other people involved with the scrapbook they set out to discover the secrets the book holds.
This story is full of haunting historic events, likeable (and not so likeable) characters and a hint of gothic atmosphere; i.e. a really good read that I definitely recommend.
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