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The discovery of an old scrapbook in a Warsaw library leads researcher Phineas Fox to uncover evidence of a devastating wartime atrocity. "We had no choice. But it was a bad way for them to die." When music researcher Phineas Fox is asked to verify the contents of an old scrapbook, rescued from the site of the historic Chopin Library in Warsaw, he is initially sceptical. The discovery of an old scrapbook in a Warsaw library leads researcher Phineas Fox to uncover evidence of a devastating wartime atrocity. "We had no choice. But it was a bad way for them to die." When music researcher Phineas Fox is asked to verify the contents of an old scrapbook, rescued from the site of the historic Chopin Library in Warsaw, he is initially sceptical. But he soon discovers an intriguing link between the Library and an infamous piece of music known as the Dark Cadence. Legend has it that the Dark Cadence was only performed at a traitor's execution - and it has never been written down. It is believed to have last been played on the night the Chopin Library was destroyed during the Nazi occupation of World War II. What really happened that terrible night in October, 1944? What is the connection with an equally dreadful night in Russia in 1918, the night the Tsar and his family were executed? And what are the repercussions for the present . . .?


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The discovery of an old scrapbook in a Warsaw library leads researcher Phineas Fox to uncover evidence of a devastating wartime atrocity. "We had no choice. But it was a bad way for them to die." When music researcher Phineas Fox is asked to verify the contents of an old scrapbook, rescued from the site of the historic Chopin Library in Warsaw, he is initially sceptical. The discovery of an old scrapbook in a Warsaw library leads researcher Phineas Fox to uncover evidence of a devastating wartime atrocity. "We had no choice. But it was a bad way for them to die." When music researcher Phineas Fox is asked to verify the contents of an old scrapbook, rescued from the site of the historic Chopin Library in Warsaw, he is initially sceptical. But he soon discovers an intriguing link between the Library and an infamous piece of music known as the Dark Cadence. Legend has it that the Dark Cadence was only performed at a traitor's execution - and it has never been written down. It is believed to have last been played on the night the Chopin Library was destroyed during the Nazi occupation of World War II. What really happened that terrible night in October, 1944? What is the connection with an equally dreadful night in Russia in 1918, the night the Tsar and his family were executed? And what are the repercussions for the present . . .?

42 review for The Devil's Harmony

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This fifth book in the Phineas Fox series from Sarah Rayne is my favorite yet. Using the same format which has been successful in the previous episodes, we find Phin becoming involved in an investigation of old music and the mysteries of the lives lived along side or embroiled with that music. Here it is a history that goes back to 1918, though it is possible that the music itself goes back further, and the early Russian Revolution. The next historical setting is early 1940s Warsaw, Poland durin This fifth book in the Phineas Fox series from Sarah Rayne is my favorite yet. Using the same format which has been successful in the previous episodes, we find Phin becoming involved in an investigation of old music and the mysteries of the lives lived along side or embroiled with that music. Here it is a history that goes back to 1918, though it is possible that the music itself goes back further, and the early Russian Revolution. The next historical setting is early 1940s Warsaw, Poland during Nazi occupation. In the present, Phin and Arabella are introduced to a Polish woman who grew up orphaned in Warsaw. And to a recently discovered scrapbook of music related information having connections to the almost mythic Chopin Library of Warsaw. I don’t want to go deeply into the plot here, for it is complex and should be read. At times it may often seem too much plot! But I encourage sticking with it as it does come together well in the end. Actually, in this book, the plot and many other characters take the lead over Phin and Arabella, who shape the process but don’t drive it. I recommend this book and believe it could be read as a standalone by those new to the series A copy of this book was provided by Severn House through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally posted to my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Devil's Harmony is the 5th Phineas Fox historical mystery by Sarah Rayne. Due out 2nd Feb 2021 from Severn House, it's 256 pages and available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a masterfully rendered historical mystery wrapped around Originally posted to my blog: Nonstop Reader. The Devil's Harmony is the 5th Phineas Fox historical mystery by Sarah Rayne. Due out 2nd Feb 2021 from Severn House, it's 256 pages and available in hardcover and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. This is a masterfully rendered historical mystery wrapped around a framework of actual historical occurrences across several timelines: 1918 Russia, WW2 Warsaw, and modern day England. The author is adept at weaving fiction and history seamlessly, it's not always clear where real history shades over into fiction. The author's characterizations are believable and three dimensional. The story is poignant and compelling. Although it's the 5th book in the series, it works quite well as a standalone. Though occasionally characters refer to things which happened in earlier books, there aren't any major spoilers. This was my first foray into the series, and I've added the previous books to my TBR pile. Four and a half stars. I recommend it highly, especially to fans of historical mystery featuring academic sleuths, and music/classics. Very well done. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alyson Rhodes

    The Devil’s Harmony is the latest in the Phineas Fox series (with assistance from his girlfriend/fiancée Arabella Tallis). Phineas Fox is a music researcher/historian and author and is, I suspect reading interviews about the author’s interests, Sarah Rayne’s fictional alter ego. You don’t have to read the Fox novels in order, though there are occasional references to past plots and conspiracies. As is usual with Rayne’s history/mysteries she spins her dark web across several different time-lines, The Devil’s Harmony is the latest in the Phineas Fox series (with assistance from his girlfriend/fiancée Arabella Tallis). Phineas Fox is a music researcher/historian and author and is, I suspect reading interviews about the author’s interests, Sarah Rayne’s fictional alter ego. You don’t have to read the Fox novels in order, though there are occasional references to past plots and conspiracies. As is usual with Rayne’s history/mysteries she spins her dark web across several different time-lines, countries and characters – though they often are shown to be linked in ways which become clear as you read on. The narrative kicks off in Tsarist Russia, in the crucial year of 1918, when an anonymous child (later their identity is revealed) witnesses more than they should of a piece of lethal history. Rayne is very adept at expressing characters’ different points of view and handling the limited understanding but quicksilver intelligence of children. The story moves to wartime, Nazi-occupied Warsaw, and specifically focusses on the Polish musicians working at the Chopin Library (now lost to history due to a mysterious all-consuming blaze) and of course, we move into the present day as the ongoing research of Fox and Arabella heats up, and which takes them to an obscure English village and a life and death meeting with a spinster, Thaisa, who guards deadly secrets. Running through all of these different times/locations is the tuneful thread of an infamous piece of music known as the Dark Cadence, only ever played at a traitor’s execution and now lost to history – or is it? Another brilliant history/mystery thriller off Rayne, with twist and turns by the fistful and surprises in store.

  4. 5 out of 5

    April

    Thank you to Severn House and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review! What would you do if you found a mysterious scrapbook containing a sheet of music that was always rumored to be so dark that no one ever attempted to write it down? As Phineas Fox delves into the contents of this scrapbook with his colleagues and those tied to the information within the book, the story begins to unravel with ties to several different families that never knew that the infor Thank you to Severn House and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review! What would you do if you found a mysterious scrapbook containing a sheet of music that was always rumored to be so dark that no one ever attempted to write it down? As Phineas Fox delves into the contents of this scrapbook with his colleagues and those tied to the information within the book, the story begins to unravel with ties to several different families that never knew that the information existed. The journey carries the reader from 1918 Russia where the Romanov Family was assassinated, to the present day, and to 1940s Warsaw where the beautiful Chopin Library is a splendor to be seen, with many brilliant composers of the time period having held concertos within its halls. Who was there when the Romanovs were killed and who was able to carry on with the horrors that happened within those walls? A most of Polan is ravaged by Nazi's and buildings were destroyed, why were the documents and items within the scrapbook of such importance? As Phineas begins to piece things together and gets a group of peers together to travel to a quaint little town in England, the pieces of the puzzle start to fall in place and strangers start to become closer to family. It's a wonderfully quick read that I found was a beautiful blend of historical fiction and a mystery/thriller. If you are a reader of either genre, you will certainly appreciate this book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    256 pages 4 and 1 / 2 stars Music researcher Phineas “Phin” Fox, along with his girlfriend the lovely Arabella, go on another music-related adventure in this latest installment of the series. They receive notice from two irascible elderly music professors about a folio that was recovered in Poland that contains an interesting quest. The four of them gear up for an investigation into the possibility of the existence and destruction of the Chopin Library in Poland. Along the way, they discover war c 256 pages 4 and 1 / 2 stars Music researcher Phineas “Phin” Fox, along with his girlfriend the lovely Arabella, go on another music-related adventure in this latest installment of the series. They receive notice from two irascible elderly music professors about a folio that was recovered in Poland that contains an interesting quest. The four of them gear up for an investigation into the possibility of the existence and destruction of the Chopin Library in Poland. Along the way, they discover war crimes – and the Dark Cadence. Several time lines are present in this book. We have 1918 in Russia, 1930's and 1940's in Poland and of course, present day England. Several people, in Poland, in England and Wales, lives are still affected by the crimes. Their stories are very interesting and the characters are well drawn. Ms. Rayne has such a talent with words that it is very easy to imagine being in the same rooms with these people. This book is very well written and plotted. There were a couple of spots where I became confused with t he timeline, but it all worked out. I truly enjoy Md. Rayne's Phin Fox novels, and can barely wait for the next to come out. Keep up the very good work, Ms. Rayne! I want to thank NetGalley and Severn House for forwarding to me a copy of this delicious book for me to read, enjoy and review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cozy Cat Reviews

    This is a wonderful historical fiction novel that was entertaining to conclusion. I enjoyed the writing and the suspense of the mystery . Thank you to Net Galley and to the publisher. My review opinions are my own. The Devil’s Harmony is the latest in the Phineas Fox series . I have not read his previous books however I was able to catch up easily with the charcters and who they are . This can be read as a stand alone. Phineas Fox is a multi talented person who is both a music researcher, a avi This is a wonderful historical fiction novel that was entertaining to conclusion. I enjoyed the writing and the suspense of the mystery . Thank you to Net Galley and to the publisher. My review opinions are my own. The Devil’s Harmony is the latest in the Phineas Fox series . I have not read his previous books however I was able to catch up easily with the charcters and who they are . This can be read as a stand alone. Phineas Fox is a multi talented person who is both a music researcher, a avid well educated historian and author . I found this protagnist fascinating with his varied interest . This mystery seamlessly traverses timelines . It begins in Russia in 1918 . The story then goes to Nazi times in Warsaw Poland with a fascinating piece of history reveled that was both shocking and deadly in its time. As the author brings us back to Mr. Fox who now is investigating this historical item and finding out that some may want it to stay buried. A fun read that I highly recommend.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hannelore Cheney

    Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC. This is the 5th Phineas Fox in the series. Phin and Arrabella, his significant other, are fascinated by a scrapbook that was found in the ruins of the Chopin Library in Warsaw, which was destroyed during WWII. It proves extremely difficult to find information on the Library, but they find a link between the Library and an infamous piece of music called the Dark Cadence, which was purported to have been played at the execution of traitors. The book Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC. This is the 5th Phineas Fox in the series. Phin and Arrabella, his significant other, are fascinated by a scrapbook that was found in the ruins of the Chopin Library in Warsaw, which was destroyed during WWII. It proves extremely difficult to find information on the Library, but they find a link between the Library and an infamous piece of music called the Dark Cadence, which was purported to have been played at the execution of traitors. The book takes us to Warsaw during WWII, and also to Russia in 1918, the night the Tsar and his family were murdered. Along with a group of other people involved with the scrapbook they set out to discover the secrets the book holds. This story is full of haunting historic events, likeable (and not so likeable) characters and a hint of gothic atmosphere; i.e. a really good read that I definitely recommend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Gray

    I admit up front to being a fan of tis series, which features Phineas Fox, a music researcher who somehow always finds himself wrapped in a historical mystery and murder. Don't worry if you haven't read the earlier ones - this is fine as a standalone. This time, Phineas and his fiancee Arabella are asked to look at a scrap book which echos back to 1918 Russia and then to Nazi occupied Warsaw. How was it rescued from the Chopin Library before it burned and how does Thaisa who lives in a small vil I admit up front to being a fan of tis series, which features Phineas Fox, a music researcher who somehow always finds himself wrapped in a historical mystery and murder. Don't worry if you haven't read the earlier ones - this is fine as a standalone. This time, Phineas and his fiancee Arabella are asked to look at a scrap book which echos back to 1918 Russia and then to Nazi occupied Warsaw. How was it rescued from the Chopin Library before it burned and how does Thaisa who lives in a small village in the UK relate to it? This is a very complex tale for such a slim novel but it's easy to follow. Raine has an ability to bring a character to life with quick brush strokes. I also appreciate these novels for the opportunity to learn more about music and the lives of musicians-I always do a little more research- and that, to me, is a plus. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A good read for fans of historical mysteries (and classical music).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Robin Price

    This is good old-fashioned (and I mean that as a compliment) storytelling of the highest order. The novel is a mystery thriller. At times it reminded me of the writings of Wilkie Collins, Edgar Wallace or John Buchan - or perhaps a combination of the three. The plot is intricate and engaging, shifting from present day England, to Warsaw in the hands of the Nazis, to Katerinburg and the execution of the Romanovs. It's full of suspense and poignant moments. A book I would recommend to everyone who This is good old-fashioned (and I mean that as a compliment) storytelling of the highest order. The novel is a mystery thriller. At times it reminded me of the writings of Wilkie Collins, Edgar Wallace or John Buchan - or perhaps a combination of the three. The plot is intricate and engaging, shifting from present day England, to Warsaw in the hands of the Nazis, to Katerinburg and the execution of the Romanovs. It's full of suspense and poignant moments. A book I would recommend to everyone who appreciates the quality of traditional writing values.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Phineas Fox is employed to verify a document that was find at the site of the destroyed Chopin Library in Warsaw. But is there a link between the Library and the music discovered in the document, known as the Dark Cadence. But what are the connections to the past, and how will it reflect on the present. An interesting well-written story starting in 1918 and concluding in the present day with the revelations of buried secrets. An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an ho Phineas Fox is employed to verify a document that was find at the site of the destroyed Chopin Library in Warsaw. But is there a link between the Library and the music discovered in the document, known as the Dark Cadence. But what are the connections to the past, and how will it reflect on the present. An interesting well-written story starting in 1918 and concluding in the present day with the revelations of buried secrets. An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Helen Carolan

    Another fab read from Ms Rayne. This latest in the Phineas Fox series has our hero investigating the origins of a scrapbook containing words to a piece called Traitors Music, which was found in the Chopin Library in Warsaw, which burned down during world war 2. But as he investigates he discovers the music may go back much further than thought, all the way back to 1918 and it seems to have a link to the Romanovs. Excellent read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Marina Gangeri

  13. 4 out of 5

    John Nolley

  14. 5 out of 5

    andree wright

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meredith Patterson

  16. 4 out of 5

    Remz Front

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  18. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

  19. 4 out of 5

    J

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Lois Clayson

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zygmunt Szot

  24. 4 out of 5

    Leeanne

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hayley Olsen

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Hammond

  27. 5 out of 5

    Deborah C.

  28. 5 out of 5

    PS

  29. 5 out of 5

    Robin Taylor

  30. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

  31. 5 out of 5

    Rabia Shaik

  32. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Angle-boyer

  33. 4 out of 5

    Katerina Kondrenko

  34. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Okeefe

  35. 4 out of 5

    Carlos

  36. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

  37. 5 out of 5

    Maari Põim

  38. 4 out of 5

    Media-Upper Providence

  39. 4 out of 5

    Francesca Howe

  40. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

  41. 5 out of 5

    Sanne

  42. 5 out of 5

    Lane

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