Book Review: Murder Mezzo Forte

14 Jul

51FFdJqPxAL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_He is a reclusive history professor with musical hallucinations, she a headstrong professor of religion, a converted Wiccan. Earlier, they solved a campus murder, but now police say they formed two-thirds of an illicit love triangle with a newly-murdered female colleague and they’re probably guilty of her murder. A leak of the alleged scandal to the college administration threatens their jobs. Their desperate attempt to prove themselves innocent of the triangle and the murder plunges them into a tangle of unsavory corporate relationships among college trustees. And it puts their lives in danger from a mysterious criminal organization that seems to have tentacles everywhere.

Can this ill-matched pair’s stumbling efforts succeed against the entrenched forces of the police, the college’s incompetent administration, and that powerful but unseen criminal organization? If not, they may end up unemployed, in prison, or suffering a fate much worse . . .



DTaylor-384Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in Renaissance literature and taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His publications include three suspense novels, one historical novel, and a book of poetry. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.

Find out more about Donn at


My Impressions:

History professor Press Barclay and former Wiccan Mara Thorn are back to investigate in the second book in the Preston Barclay Mystery series by Donn Taylor. In Murder Mezzo Forte, the two are on the verge of losing everything — their jobs, their reputations and their lives — as they try to find out who killed friend and colleague Mitra Fortier. This professor seems to have known too much and that’s what got her killed.

Taylor brings back old characters and introduces new in his college community based novel. He does a good job of covering back stories from the previous book, so this one can easily be read as a standalone. It has all the classic elements of a cozy mystery — quirky characters, humor, and intrepid amateur sleuths. But Taylor adds a bit extra as he explores the roles of reality and fantasy in our lives. Many of the characters indulge in the fantastical, making up scenarios that just don’t fit the facts. As Press gets further into his investigation, he recognizes his own lapses as well. Both Press and Mara struggle with faith issues as they deny their growing attraction. In the end, the two make a good team, a fact I hope is explored in future books.

A good choice for fans of cozies, Murder Mezzo Forte combines a puzzling mystery with deeper issues to think about. I’m looking forward to more in the series.


Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

(Thanks to LitFuse for a review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)


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