I love classical music, but honestly I know very little about it. Merry Wynter, the main character of the Merry Muffin Mystery series, knows a lot more, not because she grew up listening to it, but because her late husband and best friend/mentor Pish Lincoln introduced her to so much. She knows a fair bit about classical music, and is starting to understand opera.
And so it is that each Merry Muffin novel has a bit of a soundtrack to go with it. In Bran New Death, (Book 1) when Merry first sees her magnificent inheritance, Wynter Castle, she stands in the great hall and hears the haunting strains of Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy, the piece to which she walked down the aisle in a castle wedding with her late husband. When she comes home one day and hears Erik Satie’s deeply romantic piano piece Gymnopédie No. 1, she is overwhelmed with memories of making love with him on a rainy New York Sunday just before he died.
This shifts as Aaron Copland’s Hoedown from Rodeo comes on the music system and she does a wild jig with her friends. Even the enigmatic and sometimes dour sheriff Virgil Grace is drawn into the dance.
Copland is again featured in Death of an English Muffin. Merry hears in her head the strains of Appalachian Spring as she ventures out into the woods on her inherited land in upstate New York. In this book there is a shift, somewhat, from memories of her beloved late husband to thoughts of what this land and Wynter Castle mean to her, and how she has been so closed off from living life until coming here.
And I have a confession; Death of an English Muffin also features opera, Mozart’s Magic Flute. No, don’t cringe! I know opera is not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m not much of an opera buff, but having listened to more and more as I researched this book, I have to say… opera rocks! The Queen of the Night’s aria as sung by Diana Damrau sends shivers down my spine.
This is all kind of funny, because I’m more of a Joni Mitchell/James Taylor fan than anything. And yet… and yet. There is so much out there to hear and experience, and among those things, classical music and opera deepens my understanding of what it is to be human. It’s what makes us important as a species. No money can replace art, and wealth is of little lasting value compared to it.
We live in a glorious age to be exploring classical music and opera, I must say. Because of the internet we have access to the world’s best orchestras and opera companies. All of these pieces can be listened to on YouTube, and I have, on occasion, thought of posting on Facebook a kind of playlist of sorts for each Merry Muffin Mystery. Take a moment and find them; listen, if you don’t already. Many of you have a far deeper knowledge than I of these composers, but I feel that being at the beginning of a journey of exploration is a glorious thing.
Now… I’ll be writing Merry Muffin Mysteries Book 4 soon… what classical pieces shall I incorporate? Do you have any suggestions? Any favorites?
From the national bestselling author of Muffin but Murder, baker Merry Wynter returns with a fresh tray of muffins and a case that has authorities stumped…
They say one’s home is one’s castle, but when it comes to Wynter Castle, Merry would like it to belong to someone else. But until a buyer bites, she could use some extra dough, so she decides to take in renters. The idea pans out, and Merry’s able to find a handful of tenants eager to live in a real castle. The only problem is most of them are crumby, tea-swilling old biddies.
The Legion of Horrible Ladies, as Merry calls them, is led by the terribly nasty—and fabulously wealthy—Cleta Sanson. The abrasive Englishwoman keeps everyone whipped into a frenzy—until she meets an embarrassing end behind a locked door. Evidence reveals that Cleta was murdered, yet no one is privy to how the deed was done. Merry knows she must quickly find the killer before another of her guests gets greased…
About the author:
Victoria Hamilton is the national bestselling author of three bestselling series, the Vintage Kitchen Mysteries and Merry Muffin Mysteries as Victoria, and the Teapot Collector Mysteries as Amanda Cooper. She is also the bestselling author of Regency and historical romance as Donna Lea Simpson.
Victoria loves to cook and collects vintage kitchen paraphernalia, teacups and teapots, and almost anything that catches her fancy! She loves to read, especially mystery novels, and enjoys good tea and cheap wine, the company of friends, and has a newfound appreciation for opera. She enjoys crocheting and beading, but a good book can tempt her away from almost anything… except writing!
Learn more about her:
Merry Muffin Mysteries Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MerrysMuffinsMysterySeries