The Devil in Music is the best mystery novel that I have ever read and is the final book in the best mystery series I have ever read!
In 1825 Italy, the news of the murder of the highly prominent Lodovico Malvezzi and the concurring disappearance of his protégé Orfeo has spread like wildfire all through Italy and beyond. The problem with this is, this all happened four years before! In 1821 the death of Malvezzi was declared by natural causes, for fear that his death by murder may cause a political uprising.
Upon hearing the news, Julian Kestrel, the infamous London dandy and amateur sleuth, decides to head to Italy instead of heading back home to London while on a trip to the continent. His friend, Dr. MacGregor, who is taking the trip with him, decides to head back to London on his own, but eventually shows up in Italy to help, fearing the Julian may run in to trouble.
Once Julian has settled in Italy, he reaches out to Lodovico's brother Carlo, to offer his services. Carlo readily accepts, but Grimani, the commissario readily dismisses him. However, the family decides that they would like Julian's help and Grimani begrudgingly 'puts up with him.'
Grimani has it set in his head that the missing tenor Orfeo is responsible for Lodovico's death and is a Carbonari, since he disappeared the same night that his mentor was murdered. Julian, of course, thinks that someone else may be responsible.
I've never met such a group of characters before. There are so many, that they are listed in the beginning of the book. We have Lodovico's widow Beatrice, his son Rinaldo, his brother Carlo, Rinaldo's estranged wife Francesca and her lover Valeriano, a visiting French scholar named de la Marque and a slew of others. And like the previous three installments, I saw nothing coming. One revelation at the end of the book almost made me fall off the bed. It was one of the most incredible twists in a mystery novel I've ever come across.
I'm sad that this series has ended, but I'll definitely be rereading them all in the future. The reason this is the last book in the series is because Ms. Ross unfortunately died the year after it was published. She died of cancer at the young age of 31. And from what I can tell you, she was an incredibly gifted story teller. Her books are extremely underrated, so I will forever be raving about these four novels in hopes that more people will read them!