A crumbling, haunted hotel, a boatload of rising teenage musical stars and a massive snowstorm combine to create a most enchanting mystery.
The minute I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it: a music prodigy, a murder-suicide and a creepy, snowed-in hotel á la The Shining. What more could I possibly ask for?
The Bellweather Hotel's tragic past casts a pall over a high school music festival held there when a student goes missing from the very same room where, 15 years before, a bride murdered her new husband and then hanged herself. The student, a flute prodigy, is found hanging from a pipe-- presumed dead-- and vanishes a few minutes later. What happened is anyone's guess.
Oh, and it's set in 1997. Did I mention that I live for anything set in the '90s? I seriously live for descriptions of people with scrunchies in their hair; it just makes my heart happy. You might ask yourself, "How can she have such a happy heart when reading about such a terrible thing?" Well, I'll tell you. For all of its tragedy and suspense, Bellweather Rhapsody is surprisingly lighthearted, with plenty of quirky detail and an eccentric cast of characters, from shy closeted bassoonist Rabbit Hatmaker to the missing prodigy's exceptionally heartless mother.
It's kind of like the literary equivalent of a Wes Anderson film, and with a nod to Ellen Raskin in the acknowledgements, it definitely does bring to mind that wonderful mystery of my younger days, The Westing Game. Don't think you're getting an imitation, though. Kate Racculia has her own distinct voice, and it's delightful.
I am adult services librarian who also does teen librarian business, and I love to read all kinds of books. Other things I love include my dog, beans (seriously, show me a bean and I will eat it and love it), camping, playing music and little baby succulent plants. The plants are slowly taking over my apartment, and that's just fine.