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Staff Picks - Music in Fiction

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All titles can be found in the fiction section alphabetically by auther's last name unless otherwise noted.

Nashville Noir (MYSTERY)
by Donald Bain
Jessica Fletcher investigates when an aspiring young singer is sent to Nashville on scholarship, becoming the main suspect in the cold-blooded murder of a brash country music publisher.

The Noise of Time
By Julian Barnes
Dedicated to Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, a first novel since the author's Man Booker Prize-winning The Sense of an Ending reimagines the young musician's difficult creative compromises in the aftermath of his denouncement by Joseph Stalin.

Saks & Violins (MYSTERY)
by Mary Daheim
When world-famous musician Dolph Kluger drops dead of rhubarb poisoning at the Hillside Manor B&B, proprietor Judith McMonigle Flynn launches her own investigation to uncover a killer, but her case is complicated by the disappearance of her violinist neighbor Rudi Wittener's valuable bow.

The Dollhouse
By Fiona Davis
Arriving at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952 where she is instantly rendered a misfit, a plain, self-conscious secretarial school student is befriended and introduced by a hotel maid to the city's jazz and drug counterculture and is involved in a deadly skirmish that reverberates half a century later in the life of an obsessed journalist.

Half-Blood Blues
by Esi Edugyan
Sid, the only one to witness his band mate's disappearance at the hands of the Gestapo, breaks his silence on the incident over fifty years later when the men are reunited at a documentary premiere.

The Little Book
by Selden Edwards
The exiled scion of a prominent Boston banking family, forty-seven-year-old Wheeler Burden is living in 1988 San Francisco until he is mysteriously transported to fin de siècle Vienna, a city that he finds strangely familiar, where he finds a mentor in Sigmund Freud, falls in love with a young American woman, and gains insight into the war-hero father he never knew.                           

A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan
Working side-by-side for a record label, former punk rocker Bennie Salazar & the passionate Sasha hide illicit secrets from one another while interacting with a motley assortment of equally troubled people from 1970s San Francisco to the post-war future.

Standing in the Rainbow
by Fannie Flagg
Captures the humorous and complex realities of ordinary people living in Elmwood Springs, Missouri, including Neighbor Dorothy, a radio hostess, her son Bobby, the Oatman Family gospel singers, and hotshot salesman Hamm Sparks.

by William Gibson
In a story set in twenty-first century Tokyo, a singer pursues a beautiful media superstar--called an idoru--who does not really exist.

The Music Teacher
by Barbara Hall
Accepting the limitations of her musical ability, a violinist seeks fulfillment by instilling her passion for music in others, in which role she encounters Hallie, a young girl of prodigious talent, but in her goal to shape Hallie into the artist she cannot be, she makes a terrible mistake that forces her to reevaluate her entire life.

by Jane Hamilton
Chicago private school student Henry stumbles onto the e-mail account he set up for his mother and inadvertently discovers she is having an affair with a violin maker wholly different from Henry's socialist history teacher father.

Available Dark (MYSTERY)
by Elizabeth Hand
Fleeing for her life after she is shown photographs of ritual killings during a mysterious job in Helsinki, Cass Neary encounters a former lover and exiled musician in Iceland only to be inundated by a series of unsolved murders.

Beautiful Maria of My Soul, or The True Story of Maria Garcia y Cifuentes, the Lady Behind a Famous Song
by Oscar Hijuelos
In a part sequel and part retelling of "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love," the inspiration for the Mambo King's biggest hit, Maria, now 60 years old, reminisces about her days and nights in Havana, offering a completely different perspective on the Mambo Kings' story.

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
by Oscar Hijuelos
It's 1949 and two young Cuban musicians make their way up from Havana to the big arena of New York, where they are workers by day, stars of dance halls by night. Hijuelos's marvelous portrait of the Castillo brothers, their families, their fellow musicians and lovers, their triumphs and tragedies, re-creates the sights and sounds of an era in music and an unsung moment in American life.

Heart-Shaped Box
by Joe Hill
A collector of obscure and macabre artifacts, unscrupulous metal band musician Judas Coyne is unable to resist purchasing a ghost over the Internet, which turns out to be the vengeful spirit of his late girlfriend's stepfather.

High Fidelity
by Nick Hornby
Praised by critics for its wit and contemporary edge, this novel follows the love affairs and belated growing up a "Generation X” pop music fanatic and record store owner.

Juliet, Naked
by Nick Hornby
Ending her relationship with a man who turns out to be in love with a reclusive singer, Annie initiates an e-mail friendship with the musician that reveals their mutual loneliness, his concerns about his young son, and his plans to release an acoustic version of his most successful album.

by Kazuo Ishiguro
Five interconnected stories in which music is an intrinsic theme follow the struggles of a once-popular singer desperate for a comeback, a songwriter who is unwittingly involved in a failing marriage, and a jazz musician who wrongly believes that plastic surgery will secure his career.

The Jewels of Paradise (MYSTERY)
by Donna Leon
Caterina Pellegrini, a native Venetian with a doctorate in baroque opera, must determine the rightful ownership of two locked trunks belonging to a famous composer who has been dead for centuries.

Be Cool
by Elmore Leonard
Chili Palmer plunges into the seediest, most dangerous corners of Hollywood's music business.

You Don’t Love Me Yet
by Jonathan Lethem
An employee at The Complaint Line who listens to anonymous callers air their random grievances, Lucinda Hoekke falls in love with one of her frequent callers, but her romance has unexpected complications for Lucinda and her fellow members of an alternative rock band.

The Tooth Tattoo (MYSTERY)
by Peter Lovesey
Investigating the murder of a young woman who’s only identifying mark is a tattoo on one of her teeth, British criminal investigator Peter Diamond teams up with violinist Mel Farran, who is being scouted by a mysterious and elite classical quartet that reveals frightening truths about fandom and the cutthroat world of professional music.

If Not for You
by Debbie Macomber
Moving away from her oppressive parents in hopes of taking charge of her own life, Beth takes a job as a school music teacher and initially resists her attraction to a tattooed mechanic who is the epitome of everything her conservative parents fear.

The Mozart Conspiracy
by Scott Mariani
After a world-famous opera star--and ex-flame--asks him to investigate her brother's mysterious death, British Air Service officer Ben Hope gets caught up in a centuries-old web of intrigue surrounding the death--and possible murder--of Mozart.

La’s Orchestra Saves the World
by Alexander McCall Smith
A stand-alone work by the author of the Isabel Dalhousie series finds divorcee Lavender fleeing World War II London and organizing an amateur orchestra that includes a talented Polish refugee who rekindles long-buried feelings.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
by Carson McCullers
Mick Kelly, a quiet, sensitive, and wise-beyond-her-years young girl, searches for beauty in her music in a small, but damned Southern town in the 1930s, as she develops a relationship with deaf-mute John Singer, in this classic American novel.

The Song is You
by Arthur Phillips
Julian Donahue, separated from his wife after the death of his son, becomes drawn to an Irish rock singer, but delays meeting her, communicating only through email and on websites, until his attraction turns into an obsession with music and fame.

Sing You Home
by Jodi Picoult
Ten years of infertility issues culminate in the destruction of music therapist Zoe Baxter's marriage, after which she falls in love with another woman and wants to start a family, but her ex-husband, Max, stands in the way.             

The Time of Our Singing
by Richard Powers
A richly textured generational tale of love, allegiance, loyalty, race, and music follows the marriage of David Strom, a German Jewish emigre scientist, and Delia Daley, an African-American singer, as they, along with their extraordinarily gifted children, struggle to overcome the racial injustices of the 1960s.

Accordion Crimes
by E. Annie Proulx
A button accordion brought to New Orleans in 1890 by a Sicilian immigrant finds its way into the lives, dreams, fantasies, sorrows, and intimacies of men and women of other immigrant groups in South Dakota, Texas, Montana, Maine and elsewhere.

The Ground Beneath Her Feet (LARGE PRINT)
by Salman Rushdie
Photographer Rai narrates the epic romance between his childhood friend, Ormus Cama, and singer Vina Apsara, Rai's sometime lover, revealing--with wisdom and humor-- a world of passions, truths, death, and rock 'n' roll.                                   

The Chilbury Ladies Choir
by Jennifer Ryan
Letters and journals reveal the struggles, affairs, deceptions, and triumphs of five members of a village choir during World War II.

Some Sing, Some Cry
by Ntozake Shange & Ifa Bayeza
The story of emancipated slave Elizabeth Mayfield traces her rise as the matriarch of a family of musically gifted Southern women who overcome brutal obstacles while witnessing key moments in American history.                                        

Small Town Girl
by LaVyrle Spencer
Country music superstar Mac McPhail returns to her hometown of Wintergreen, Missouri, where she learns to appreciate her family and to open her heart to love and commitment with the man next door.

By Danielle Steel
After the death of her husband, Stephanie Adams, a devoted stay-at-home mother, meets country music megastar Chase Taylor, who opens his whole world to her.

Red Hook Road
by Ayelet Waldman
Traces the lives of the Tetherly and Copaken families in the aftermath of a child's tragic death, which results in a broken marriage, a bonding between bereaved siblings and healing in the form of an adopted girl's prodigious violin talent.               

Peter & Max
by Bill Willingham
Long ago, in the deepest dark of the Black Forest, Peter Piper and his older brother Max encountered ominous forces that changed them both irreparably, in an epic tale of sibling rivalry, magic, music and revenge that spans medieval times to the present day.