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Gerald Elias leads a double life as a critically acclaimed author and world-class musician.
His award-winning Daniel Jacobus mystery series takes place in the dark corners of the classical music world. In 2020 he penned The Beethoven Sequence, a chilling political thriller. Elias’s prize-winning essay, “War & Peace. And Music,” excerpted from his insightful musical memoir, Symphonies & Scorpions, was the subject of his 2019 TED presentation. In addition to self-published books, Elias’s short stories and essays have appeared in prestigious journals ranging from Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine to The Strad. Roundtree Days is his first full-length Western mystery, though its protagonist, Jefferson Dance, made his dramatic debut in the most recent Daniel Jacobus mystery, Cloudy With a Chance of Murder.
A former violinist with the Boston Symphony and associate concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, Elias has performed on five continents and has been the conductor of Salt Lake City’s popular Vivaldi by Candlelight chamber orchestra series since 2004. He recently made the first complete recording, available on Centaur Records, of the Opus 1 violin sonatas of the Baroque violinist-composer, Pietro Castrucci. Elias divides his time between the shores of Puget Sound in Seattle, and his cottage in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts, close to the two furthermost points in the continental U.S., where he maintains a vibrant concert career while continuing to expand his literary horizons.
The Daniel Jacobus Mystery Series
Devil's Trill (2021)
Greed, lust, power, and murder are words not commonly associated with the world of classical music. Yet this is the setting into which blind Daniel Jacobus, a reclusive, cantankerous violin teacher living in self-imposed exile in rural New England, is inexorably drawn. For Jacobus, who spends his time chain smoking, listening to old LPs, and berating students in the hope they will flee, the evils of that world are epitomized by the “Piccolino” Stradivarius, a uniquely dazzling violin that has brought misfortune to all who possessed it over the centuries.
After the Carnegie Hall debut of nine-year old Grimsley Competition winner Kamryn Vander, who is managed by the ruthless Musical Arts Project (MAP), the priceless “Piccolino” is stolen with Jacobus at the scene of the crime.
But that's not the end of his problems. Haughty Victoria Jablonski, Vander's teacher and Jacobus's rival, is brutally murdered, and Jacobus becomes the primary suspect in both crimes. With the help of his musical partner Nathaniel Williams and his intriguing new student Yumi Shinagawa, Jacobus sets out to rid the world of MAP and prove his innocence against all odds.
Roundtree Days (2022)
Simmering just under the surface of the levity of Roundtree Days, an annual festival celebrating the sensational hit television series, Roundtree, a clash of cultures between traditional and progressive values threatens to tear apart a proud Western town surrounded by an unforgiving desert environment. In a single day, Jefferson Dance, acting sheriff of Loomis City, Utah, confronts a suspected kidnapping, a surreal hostage situation, arson, and murder, while fending off his popular fictional double, who the public perceives as a real life hero. In a setting in which fantasy and reality become blurred, Dance unearths the town’s dark secrets as he brings the culprits to justice in the course of twenty-four hours.
The Beethoven Sequence (2020)
What if the president was a political outsider with no experience in government?
What if he was mentally unstable?
What if he started eliminating his political opponents, one by one?
What if the President of the United States was insane?
It was as terrifying as it was implausible. Layton Stolz, a humble laborer, concealed a burning core of monomania and suppressed violence. Against all odds, Stolz is swept into the presidency of the United States. Coverup leads to murder as he consolidates authoritarian power.
Ballard Whitmore, a young teacher falsely imprisoned for sexual misconduct, narrowly escapes assassination. Will high-spirited female reporter Sandy Duckworthy’s desperate exposé, laying bare the corruption of a president who lost his grasp of reality, save him in time?
News and Reviews...
“Captivating and wholly originally debut...A good choice for mystery fans wanting something new and music lovers who do not usually consider crime fiction.”
- Library Journal, Starred Review for Devil's Trill
“The refreshingly caustic Jacobus, a cast of superbly drawn supporting characters, an interesting classical music milieu accessible to aficionados and neophytes alike, an unexpected twist or two, and a unique murder method combine for an engrossing read.”
- Publisher's Weekly for Danse Macabre
“Elias serves up a feast of music, music lore, and diabolical modus operandi. Well conducted.”
- Booklist for Death and the Maiden
“Brilliant and captivating on every level.”
- Booklist, Starred Review, for Death and Transfiguration