Roy Ziegler’s new novel speculates about an international mystery

    by Lisa DeAngelis

    “At the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair, the Austrian government exhibited the original autographed manuscript of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem Mass in D Minor. During the exhibition, a corner of a page of that precious manuscript was torn off and stolen. According to many musicologists, that missing fragment contains the last four words ever written by Mozart,” Roy Ziegler (of New Hope) reports to introduce his latest book. “The bottom righthand corner of that page has never been found.” This historical fact sets the stage for Mozart’s Last Words.

    Though the tantalizing mystery of what became of this missing corner has never been solved, Ziegler proposes a very entertaining fictional possibility of what might have happened to it, and this imaginal speculation begins with Chief Inspector Leopold Beckers leaving his office for the last time after 45 years with the Brussels Police Department.

    Loading up his files, his eye is drawn to one very particular file marked “CASE CLOSED,” but Leopold knows that he will continue to be obsessed as he has been for the last 25 years. The case involved an American Vietnam War veteran in Brussels who had been found “sprawled on the floor, a gunshot to his head at close range.”

    It had been ruled a suicide, but Leopold had never agreed with that determination. Instead, he believes that “bureaucrats above his rank had failed to pursue the case with enough diligence.”

    Screw the evidence records retention laws, he decides before taking the file with him.

    Still after 45 years solving crimes, Leopold feels he needs a break. Besides, he’s looking forward to travelling to New York City to see his daughter, Linn.

    Linn is an attractive intellectual property lawyer who has had no “personal relationships” since she stopped dating Arthur Keyes. She has no way of knowing that Arthur has been keeping something from her, a secret known only to him and their mutual boss, Laurence Kellerman, founder and CEO of their law firm.

    When Kellerman boards a plane in Vienna, but never gets off in New York, Linn gets the disquieting sense that Keyes knows more about the circumstances surrounding their boss’s disappearance than he is letting on.

    Events are unfolding in New York City that have strange connections with those in Brussels, as well as the missing corner of Mozart’s Requiem. Laurence Kellerman was a man obsessed with all things Mozart, and short of falling out of the plane, how could he have disappeared?

    And what does Jeff Lambert, brother-in-law to the dead Vietnam vet who witnessed the shooting years ago have to do with the missing lawyer? Or with the death of Heinrich Winterbotton, another Mozart devotee, whose death left Jeff and his wife Margie very wealthy?

    Then Ein Volk, a Neo-Nazi cartel trafficking in stolen art to finance their terrorist agenda becomes involved and the story takes off. This novel is highly recommended for all lovers of international intrigue mixed with historical fiction. Classical music enthusiasts are in for an additional treat.

    Roy Ziegler’s other books include Unfaltering Trust, Requiem for Riley, Dawn’s Eerie Light, and Twilight of Separation. Ziegler was a past president of the New Hope Historical Society and author of New Hope: River Town Passages and The Parrys of Philadelphia and New Hope: A Quaker Family’s Impact on Two Historic Towns.

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