Wednesday, 5 July 2017

The Hills are alive... with The Music of Sound

Bernard Quist is a Consulting Detective from the ancient city of York and he returns in the second supernatural mystery thriller from Ian Jarvis The Music of Sound...

The prologue has our man Quist aboard an exclusive liner in 1912, in the mixed company of a Glaswegian music promoter on the make and an English Lord. The Glaswegian's 'niece' Sarah is rescued by Quist after an unfortunate incident involving ice and whilst he gets her aboard a lifeboat, there is no room for him. After all, hat-boxes and luxury luggage aren't cheap...

The action then moves to the present day with the escape of Sebastian Moran, en-route to Broadmoor for multiple murders, to say nothing of his dubious taste in recreation. Sprung by a mysterious outfit, Moran is free to kill again...

And we're off on another Bernie Quist adventure; once again the city of York makes an enchanting cameo appearance, with Quist's sidekick John Watson returning to join the fun. Quist is – and you have, I take it already read Cat Flap, ( or ) haven't you? - a werewolf, albeit one with scruples. And he's a vegan. Also back, thankfully, is Rex Grant, the rich playboy and now fellow werewolf, as amusing as ever.

Ian Jarvis fans take note; he hasn't lost the sense of humour – every page drips with gags and one-liners ranging from the funny to the laugh-out-loud hilarious. As with Cat-Flap, this lifts the story and takes the edge off the tension and terror. I should point out this is definitely a book for grown ups, the language is R-rated at times, though it's not out of place or in your face in this reviewer's opinion. Back to the plot...

Rex is in Edinburgh with a girl from the McNulty Caledonian construction firm, he's there to seal a deal for Grant Homes, his father's firm and by chance they bump into music star Ligeia and her entourage. After a quick dance the singer makes Rex the sort of offer I'd slap a puppy for, but her behaviour is odd, to say the least – and when a gruesome murder is committed in his hotel room, Rex vanishes.

But who is Colonel Irana Adler?, Ligeia's Chief of Security – or something far more sinister?.

Investigating both murder and disappearance make for a welcome break from divorce work and investigating benefit cheats, being an occasional wolf has its benefits, not least the ability to analyse crime scenes and Bernie is soon on the scent – literally. Look out for the usual nods and winks to Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle – the author peppers these books with amusing Holmesian references and The Music of Sound is no exception. Speaking of which – where does a serial killer names Alistair Ramson fit in to all this?...

What lies behind the inexplicable spell Ligeia casts over people?.

What is the secret of her success?.

What is 'Tromboning'?.

The mystery thickens and the plot deepens with Red Globe, the management company behind the singing superstar. Run by the mysterious Colonel Adler and the truly warped Sergeant Gruner, they provide a wall of steel around Ligeia, who lives in an oddly-childlike dreamworld with only a mute Irish girl named Elva for company.

Rex Grant is a guest of Ligeia – albeit unwillingly – his lycanthrope's magnetism making him both irresistible to the singer while rendering him immune to her uncanny charm. Only a Haitain Houngan named Lafont can discover Rex's secret and control his power. But why are Laurel and Hardy going around killing people?; in one of many clever twists, Jarvis has re-imagined not only the world of the World's most famous Consulting Detective, but also two of Hollywood's most beloved comedy stars.

Events take a turn for the worse when Quist and his erstwhile assistant gatecrash a PR even at Ligeia's palatial Thameside mansion and are captured. While in their makeshift cell, Quist makes an incredible discovery that sheds new light on the captivating singer, one that places her in a completely different light... but to say any more about the latest Bernard Quist mystery risks giving too much away – to learn more you'll just have to pay your £11.99 (Or £6.99 for the Kindle edition )  - suffice to say, Colonel Adler is harbouring dark family secrets of her own and although normally playful as a kitten, Ligeia herself may pose a terrible risk.

The action takes us from Scotland to York and then London, with a climactic encounter at – and above the O2 Arena. And that, folks, is really all I'm saying...

So, should you, with bold certainty, reach for your credit card and splash out the cost of a few beers or a rather limp hamburger and fries for this book?. Yes; I've been waiting for a Bernie Quist sequel for a while now and Ian Jarvis doesn't disappoint with this outing. A must for fans of both Sherlock Holmes and decent horror-thrillers everywhere, but with the comic touch to take the edge off. Highly recommended.

For more about Ian Jarvis, visit his website at;

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this review, Mark - a man with good looks AND good taste. Keep up the good work in the volcano.