Murder A Capella by James R. Callan & Diane Bailey
James R. Callan & Diane Bailey
Murder Amid the Music
When the Sweet Adelines International Barbershop Competition brings Tina’s chorus to San Antonio, she kicks back. For a week, she can forget about her career as a police officer. Time for fun, glitz, and as much a cappella singing as she wants-and she wants to hear it all.
Who knows, there may even be four winners’ crowns for their local quartet! But when two members die singing “Mister Sandman” in front of the Alamo, Tina discovers that bullets and barbershop are anything but a harmonious combination.
Although police work was the last thing on her mind, Tina sifts through racks of sequined costumes and whispered gossip, desperate to discover who might want the lead and bass singers dead. Could it be the protesters who hate that the Sweet Adelines turned the Alamo into a theater backdrop?
The rival quartet that lost a contract because of their group? The director with a reputation as a ladies’ man and a bad habit of poaching the best singers? As the notes and the stakes rise higher, it becomes obvious that the killer has more on his mind than a song, and Tina may be next in the crosshairs.
Amazon Review by Stephen Woodfin: Murder A Capella is a tightly crafted cozy murder mystery, a fun book with a big twist at the end.
Set in exotic, historic San Antonio, Texas, during the International Convention of the Sweet Adelines, the story chronicles a double homicide at the Alamo, the seat of Texas Independence.
The main character, Tina Overton, a contestant at the convention and also a police officer with the Fort worth police department, witnesses the murders and volunteers to assist the San Antonio PD in its investigation. That investigation leads her to drill deep into the inner workings of the international organization.
James R. Callan co-wrote the book with his daughter, Diane Bailey, who joined the women’s musical group Sweet Adelines in the 1990s and competed at her first international competition in San Antonio. The inside track Bailey’s personal knowledge of the world of such competitions provides gives an authentic base for the novel’s plot. The book is filled with references, direct and oblique, to the world of music and of close harmony singing in particular.
I highly recommend Murder A Capella for mystery and thriller fans.
Amazon Review by Lelis Rose Foreman: What a hoot this novel was!
I would love to see this made as a movie with all the music provided by Sweet Adelines and Barber Shop Quartets. There are so many quotable lines, such as those in Princess Bride and UHF. (What? Mine are the only kids who memorized those movies?)
quote: Shutting down the speculation was about as likely as teaching armidillos not to become roadkill. quote: Some of the habits I’d developed as a single working mother clung to me like staticky clothes from the dryer.
Delightful paragraph: They say being famous is not as easy or glamorous as it looks. As the afternoon stretched on, I believed it. Dozens of women approached to compliment our performance. I accepted their congratulations with as much grace as I could muster, but after several hours my graciousness had leaked out. I squirmed in my seat, hot, and hungry for something better than another hotdog. . . . By the end of the day, the only things holding me together were bobby pins and the vice grip of my makeup.
I love books that show me another world, another process, another way that I would never see on my own. I know I did not learn the whole of the world of the Sweet Adelines, but what I did see was fascinating. There was little blood to the murders, but there was lots of police investigation told from the viewpoint of a singer at a Sweet Adeline competition, held at the Alamo, who was also a policewoman.
I can recommend this book to anybody who doesn’t need a lot of explosions in their literature to stay happy.