Broken Harmony

Broken Harmony by Roz Southey. With a musician in 1730s Newcastle, England as the main character, I had hoped that this debut mystery would be similar to Beverle Graves Myers’ wonderful Tito Amato series. Instead, this strange story contains elements of several television shows and movies. First, the ability of certain sensitive characters to cross into a parallel dimension is reminiscent of Quantum Leap, Sliders, or The Butterfly Effect. Also, in the universe in which most of the action takes place human spirits do not leave their temporal bodies upon death, but instead inhabit the vicinity of their demise for a century or so. They communicate normally with the living population and with other spirits in the general area, often providing assistance to investigators ala The Ghost Whisperer or Pushing Daisies. It is difficult to get past all the science fiction in the tale, but the core is a traditional mystery with jealousy between rivals and blackmail as the underlying causes for strife. The setting is well-described and the pace is sufficiently quick. The plot has several twists and our hero-narrator finds himself in increasing danger as he gets nearer to the center of the web. There are two more titles in the ongoing series, but I think I’ll keep my enjoyment of science fiction to other mediums.

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