Book: The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb
Publication date: 2022
Source: E-book borrowed from the library
Summary: The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb starts with an instrument case that is missing its violin, replaced with a white Converse Chuck tennis shoe and a ransom note for five million dollars. The novel takes us through the investigation, but also back in time to see how we got here.
Ray McMillian is a young black violinist who succeeds, in spite of no support and some hostility from his high school. He gets little support from his family, either, with one beautiful exception, his Grandma Nora. Grandma Nora gives him a special fiddle — the one that her grandfather, who was born into slavery, played.
Ray’s opportunity to pursue his passion doesn’t come until his senior year in high school, when his talent is finally recognized by a professor of music.
Thoughts: That’s as much of the story as I want to tell, because this is a thrilling book to read, both as a coming-of-age novel about a black man in the closed-off world of classical music and as a mystery about how and why the violin was taken.
The Violin Conspiracy was this month’s selection for the Community for Understanding and Hope Book Group. I didn’t mention the title in my post about our selections because we were sworn to secrecy in the hope that Brendan Slocumb would be the One Author, One Kirkwood guest for 2024. Now, we can announce that he will be in our community next month!
Our book group had a terrific discussion about The Violin Conspiracy on Thursday evening. We loved the intricacies of the plot, the variety of the characters’ experiences and worldviews, and the amazing descriptions of what it is like for a musician to play when he is caught up in the music.
We are very much looking forward to meeting Brendan Slocumb next month. He’s currently on a book tour to promote his latest book, Symphony of Secrets. We’re all looking forward to reading that book, too.
Appeal: The Violin Conspiracy illuminates the black experience in the world of classical music while providing a page-turner plot.
Have you read this book? What did you think?