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Swing: A Novel | [Rupert Holmes]

Swing: A Novel

Two-time Edgar Award-winner Rupert Holmes, author of the critically acclaimed Where the Truth Lies and creator of the Tony Award-winning musical whodunit The Mystery of Edwin Drood, now fuses gripping suspense and evocative music in an innovative novel of intrigue set in 1940, during the very heart of the Big Band era.
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Publisher's Summary

Two-time Edgar Award-winner Rupert Holmes, author of the critically acclaimed Where the Truth Lies and creator of the Tony Award-winning musical whodunit The Mystery of Edwin Drood, now fuses gripping suspense and evocative music in an innovative novel of intrigue set in 1940, during the very heart of the Big Band era.

Jazz saxophonist and arranger Ray Sherwood, touring with the Jack Donovan Orchestra, is haunted by personal tragedy. But when a beautiful and talented Berkeley student named Gail Prentice seeks his help in orchestrating a highly original composition called "Swing Around the Sun", which is slated to premiere at the Golden Gate Exposition on the newly created Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, Ray finds himself powerfully drawn to the beguiling coed. Within moments of first setting eyes on her, Ray also witnesses a horrifying sight: a young woman plunging to her death from the island's emblematic Tower of the Sun.

As the captivated Ray learns more about Gail and her unusual family, he finds himself trapped in a tightening coil of spiraling secrets, some personally devastating, all dangerous and deadly, in which from moment to moment nothing is certain, including Gail's intentions toward him and her connection to the dead woman who made such a grisly impact upon the stunning island. As events speed toward a shocking climax, Ray must use all his physical daring and improvisational skills to unlock an ominous puzzle whose sinister implications stretch far beyond anything he could imagine.

Swing is a brilliant historical thriller.

©2005 Rupert Holmes; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A clever, original mystery that's pure fun....A tour de force of style and erudition, Holmes's second novel will delight mystery readers of any sort." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (77 )
5 star
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4.2 (34 )
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4.2 (34 )
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  •  
    Becky Grapevine, TX, USA 08-01-05
    Becky Grapevine, TX, USA 08-01-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Grab this one at the highest resolution"

    The music will make you want high quality audio to match the high quality mystery.

    A minor nit is that I'd like for the narrator to slow down a bit; leave some pauses for dramatic enhancement, but that's not even enough to cost a star.

    I hope we see more multimedia novels of this quality. The somgs are a part of the story, not just extra production.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jane Mcdowell Muncie, IN, United States 04-27-12
    Jane Mcdowell Muncie, IN, United States 04-27-12 Member Since 2000
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    "Novelty of Music Doesn't Save the Plot"

    The plot was verrry sloooow to get established. Only about half of the musical interludes made the story more interesting, the other interludes bogged the action down. The "mystery" wasn't revealed until the second half of the book. There were lots of loose ends that had to be accounted for and tied up during the second half, which made this audiobook somewhat tedious to listen to.
    I'm sorry this very ambitious project didn't turn out better.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carmela08 San Antonio, TX 08-10-05
    Carmela08 San Antonio, TX 08-10-05 Member Since 2003
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    "Great mix of music and story"

    This is one of the best novels I have listened to in a long time. The narrator is great, the plot is thick enough to satisfy but not too much to confuse, and the main character is flawed but admirable. Adding the music from the Big Band era truly enhances the book, and it makes you want to download a buy a bunch of CDs from that period. If you like historical mysteries, a fast-paced and mostly believable plot and likeable characters, then I highly recommend this book.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara Marietta, GA, United States 04-03-09
    Barbara Marietta, GA, United States 04-03-09 Member Since 2004
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    "Another hit from Rupert Holmes"

    I didn't enjoy this AS much as "Where The Truth Lies", but it was pretty close. Holmes has created another assortment of rich and real characters, and the witty dialogue keeps me running for a pencil to jot things down. This is a less-complicated, sometimes harrowing account of a troubled man in troubled times. There are some wild plot twists and some brow-furrowing action, but all beautifully told, and the accompanying original music is a terrific plus!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karyl-Lynne King George, VA, United States 10-19-07
    Karyl-Lynne King George, VA, United States 10-19-07 Member Since 2002
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    "Loved It!"

    This story seemed a bit slow to get going -- for most of the first section I felt that there were several questions, but no real 'mystery'. The big mystery really appeared in part 2 and made me appreciate the detail and background that led up to it. This is a richly detailed story with some fascinating twists, and the music is the icing on the cake. I have a new favorite author!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth PALM DESERT, CA, United States 10-02-05
    Ruth PALM DESERT, CA, United States 10-02-05
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    "Wonderful"

    Both previous listener reviews are dead on : this is a treat to listen to, as both the music and the writing are very high-quality!
    The descriptive narrative is superb and I wonder where the author or audio programmers got the music (?) Listening to this was like seeing a night flower unfold...

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Littleton, MA, United States 01-27-14
    Brad Littleton, MA, United States 01-27-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Noir Mystery at the Golden Gate Exposition"

    "Swing" by Rupert Holmes kept me engaged from the beginning to the end. Frankly it was hard to tell how the mystery would resolve itself to the very end. Like any good Noir, it slowly descends to a final violent and unforeseen conclusion.

    Rupert Holmes has previously won a pair of Edgars, a Grammy and three Tony Awards. He writes very thoughtfully with an abundance of period information. Set in 1940 during the Golden Gate International Exposition on the manmade Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, the noirish fictional historic thriller is narrated by sax player and arranger Ray Sherwood. He is part of the Jack Donovan Orchestra of Note...playing an extended gig at the upscale Claremont Hotel in Oakland. Holmes uses real locales throughout this novel. His descriptions of various key elements of the architecture, Pacifica statue and carillon at the fair make this an atmospheric production.

    A college student entices Ray into helping her arrange an orchestral score for her prize winning piano piece. Part of the prize is a performance by Japan's Pan Pacific Orchestra. The music, the student and the orchestra are not what they seem.

    This book is rich with details of swing music. scoring music, and the details of touring bands. Set in that strange world's fair that World War II was soon make immemorable, it highlights the final gasp of large world's fairs that time had already past. You get much more than a murder plot in this book, you become immersed in 1940, the music and the fair.

    This audible book is appended with original big band music composed by Mr. Holmes.
    No matter...the story is about something more ominous and disturbing than a murder, but to tell more would diminish the pleasure of the denouement.

    "Swing" is right on key and not to be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    donareader Moorpark, CA, United States 08-06-13
    donareader Moorpark, CA, United States 08-06-13 Member Since 2010
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    "History, mystery, and music"

    History, mystery, and music combined to make an entertaining story. I was totally unaware of the 1939 San Francisco World's Fair and the man-made island in the bay, so I found that part of the story intriguing. I loved the musical interludes which enhanced the plot and emphasized the 'swing' theme of the story. I enjoyed trying to put all the pieces of the plot together to solve the mystery. It is well worth the listening. Actually, the music alone was well worth the listen, the charming characters made it come to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. J. Melton OKC 06-27-13
    R. J. Melton OKC 06-27-13 Member Since 2008

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Big Band Swing Era Mystery"
    Would you listen to Swing again? Why?

    Yes, I adored the music interludes!


    What other book might you compare Swing to and why?

    I think it is unique, maybe a Mickey Spillane orchestrated?


    What does Patrick Lawlor bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His dead-on innocence in the lead character allowing for a leisurely awakening and reveal of the mystery...loved it! I've already listened to it twice!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    If only, but I measured it out for more enjoyment.


    Any additional comments?

    I wish there would be more orchestrated books celebrating Vaudeville, Ragtime. Broadway,
    Rockabilly, etc. I would buy them all!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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