BRINGING MURDER AND MUSIC TOGETHER
Opera can kill you.
That’s what young violin prodigy Julia Kogan discovers on the night of her debut in the orchestra at the Metropolitan Opera.
Julia is the protagonist in my Opera Mystery novel series. I know her very well. She is my alter ego, my clone: myself at that age, when I first started out as a newbie in the Met Orchestra.
How did a Met Opera violinist morph into a writer of mysteries? The answer lies in a sad story with a happy outcome.
When I was in my twenties, I had the good fortune to be playing in the pit at the Met, where I was privileged to watch and learn from some of the most glittering celebrities ever to grace the opera stage. Rehearsing and performing with the likes of Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo was an almost daily occurrence, and dreamlike in its splendor. Night after night I watched the dazzling Austrian crystal chandeliers rise to the ceiling, heralding another first act curtain about to rise at the world’s most prestigious opera house. It was hard work but rewarding.
Alas, after 21 years of opera spectacles from Mozart to Verdi to Wagner, injuries suffered in a car accident forced me to give up my Met career. What new creative outlet could I replace it with? It was writing that saved me.
I had always written, since I was a kid in grade school and was placed in an after-school program for Creative Writing. That was when I discovered my love for the art: inventing characters and plot lines and weaving them together to tell stories. Even when I was at the Met, I took writing classes whenever I could fit them into my schedule. That passion for telling stories has not faltered. I never expected it would one day become the key to my artistic survival. Nor did I anticipate that the Met itself would be a source of inspiration for future novels.
While I was at the Met, I had learned something surprising about the venerable institution. When I observed the backstage intrigues that went on behind that famous “Golden Curtain,” I found that in every department of the company, from the biggest onstage stars to the orchestra musicians to the stagehands and more, egos and rivalries ruled the day. These people were always at odds with each other. The place was a musical Tower of Babel.
Take the orchestra, for instance. 100 neurotic musicians thrown together in a hole in the ground, with no light and no air, 7 days a week. You see more of these people than your own families. Sooner or later, someone’s going to want to kill someone. And there were some nefarious goings-on as well. True events that would curl your ears.
How could I not write about this place? I let my wicked imagination take over, and before I knew it, I had created my Julia Kogan Opera Mystery series. Book One, Aria for Murder, takes place at the Met, where neophyte Julia becomes entangled in a murder investigation. When she realizes her probing has placed her in danger of becoming the killer’s next victim, she must use every shred of her inner strength to save her own life.
I could never be as brave or as plucky as Julia. But I have gotten limitless vicarious thrills from concocting jeopardy for her as she survives the Met and, in upcoming sequels, finds danger lurking in the dark corners and hidden hallways of other opera houses. The violinist in me continues to provide the background for my novels. But I consider myself doubly blessed to be a violinist who writes.
Erica Miner, the Agatha Christie of the opera world, continues the genre with a wickedly wonderful, brand-new thriller, Aria for Murder. Mystery and opera lovers alike will be fascinated to move beyond the famous “Golden Curtain” and glam atmosphere of the world’s most prestigious opera house to the dark hallways and hidden stairways of a theatre rife with danger and intrigue.
Excitement mounts as the moment arrives for brilliant young violinist Julia Kogan’s debut in the orchestra of the world-renowned Metropolitan Opera. But the high-stakes milieu of this musical mecca is rocked to its core when, during an onstage murder scene, Julia’s mentor, a famous conductor, is assassinated on the podium.
Julia is paralyzed with grief, but when her closest colleague in the orchestra is named chief suspect, Julia is thrown into high gear and teams up with opera-loving NYPD detective Larry Somers to solve the murder. As the investigation escalates, Julia and Larry are shocked to discover that the venerable opera house is rife with a web of secrets, intrigue, and lethal rivalries.
But when Julia finds threatening notes attached to her music and barely misses being crushed by falling scenery, she suddenly realizes she may be the real killer’s next victim. Then she is forced to act to save her own life—before it’s too late.
Erica Miner is the award-winning author of the Julia Kogan Opera Mystery series. Aria for Murder, her recent release from Level Best Books, has garnered 5-star reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.