Chord of Evil

Chord of Evil

A mysterious 1940s’ portrait leads researcher Phineas Fox to uncover a devastating wartime secret in this chilling novel of suspense. Phineas Fox finds it impossible to refuse when his sport-loving neighbour Toby begs for his help in finding out what’s happened to his cousin Arabella, who seems to have disappeared without trace. The only clue to her whereabouts is an obsc...

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Title:Chord of Evil
Author:Sarah Rayne
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Chord of Evil Reviews

  • Annette Gisby

    ARC from Netgalley courtesy of the publisher

    This is the second adventure for music historian and researcher Phineas Fox. You don't need to read the first one to be able to enjoy this one as it is a self-contained mystery, but the first one would give more insight into the characters. And it's an excellent read too, so why not?

    Like most of Sarah Rayne's books, we get different interwoven tales, some in the present, some in the far past and some in the not so distant past that all flow together li

    ARC from Netgalley courtesy of the publisher

    This is the second adventure for music historian and researcher Phineas Fox. You don't need to read the first one to be able to enjoy this one as it is a self-contained mystery, but the first one would give more insight into the characters. And it's an excellent read too, so why not?

    Like most of Sarah Rayne's books, we get different interwoven tales, some in the present, some in the far past and some in the not so distant past that all flow together like a tapestry with words instead of threads.

    Phin's neighbour, Toby, enlists his help when his cousin Arabella vanishes without trace. The mystery of it catches Phin's imagination, even more so when their only clue is an old picture depicting Christa Klein, an alleged murderess. But it's what she has in her hand that has Phin intrigued: sheets of handwritten music, some of which contain a tritone, what's known as the devil's chord.

    The storyline passes from present to past and back again effortlessly as the reader is taken on a journey to discover what really happened all those years ago. Things that still have echoes in the present.

    A gripping plot, intriguing characters and a mystery that will keep even the most avid crime reader happy. Lots of twists and turn that keep you guessing.

    Toby is the perfect foil to Phin's rather endearing scattiness sometimes, as Toby is more grounded and down to earth. The music is almost like a character in itself, which I loved.

    Some of the book his chilling regarding those dark days in Germany, because unlike a horror book, some of those atrocities actually happened. But they are not there to shock, and most is hinted at, rather than on the page.

    It was so well-written and the pages flew by so fast. Ms. Rayne has a way with words that seems almost poetic at times. I stayed up trying to finish it because I wanted to know what happened next, but by 80% I just couldn't keep my eyes open any more. I finished the rest this morning, eager to find out what happens next.

    A wonderful book and one I would re-read again in a heartbeat.

  • Helen Carolan

    I am such a huge Sarah Rayne fan. I think she could write a book about paint drying and I'd still enjoy it. Thankfully she hasn't. Instead it's a second outing for Phineas Fox, music historian and lover and a man who seems to have a way with the ladies. Well I like him anyway!!! In this second outing Phin is asked by his neighbour Toby to help find his cousin Arabella who has disappeared. Her disappearance seems to be linked to a picture of Christa Klein who was labeled a murderer in nazi German

    I am such a huge Sarah Rayne fan. I think she could write a book about paint drying and I'd still enjoy it. Thankfully she hasn't. Instead it's a second outing for Phineas Fox, music historian and lover and a man who seems to have a way with the ladies. Well I like him anyway!!! In this second outing Phin is asked by his neighbour Toby to help find his cousin Arabella who has disappeared. Her disappearance seems to be linked to a picture of Christa Klein who was labeled a murderer in nazi Germany. A piece of music features in the picture with a chord of evil running through it which the nazi's used as propaganda music. The search for Arabella takes Phin and Toby to a castle in Germany with an evil reputation and a nearby concentration camp. Wonderfully eerie and atmospheric.

  • Lizzie Hayes

    ‘Chord of Evil’ by Sarah Rayne

    Published by Severn House, 31 August 2017. ISBN: 978-0727887412 (HB)

    We first met Phineas Fox, a professional music researcher, in 'Death Notes'. At that time, he had just moved into a new apartment that had rather stretched him financially, and become aware of his upstairs neighbour Toby who had a penchant for noisy parties, although he seemed a pleasant enough guy, who sensibly always invited Phineas to his parties, thus establishing a reasonable relationship. It w

    ‘Chord of Evil’ by Sarah Rayne

    Published by Severn House, 31 August 2017. ISBN: 978-0727887412 (HB)

    We first met Phineas Fox, a professional music researcher, in 'Death Notes'. At that time, he had just moved into a new apartment that had rather stretched him financially, and become aware of his upstairs neighbour Toby who had a penchant for noisy parties, although he seemed a pleasant enough guy, who sensibly always invited Phineas to his parties, thus establishing a reasonable relationship. It was at one of these parties, that as usual Phineas hadn’t wanted to attend but now found himself enjoying, that Toby collared him and said, ‘I’m concerned about my cousin Arabella’. She hasn’t turned up. Reading the note from her telling Toby that she would definitely be at the party had Toby worried. Phineas agreed to accompany Toby to her flat. Most probably it was the line in the note “I am intrigued to meet your new neighbour, the one with the silver eyes and look of remote and intellectual sexiness” that clinched it.

    Whilst no sign of Arabella is found the sight of a portrait (ca 1940’s) of Christa Klein - an alleged murderess, and the sister of their godfather Stephen Cain - has Toby worried, particularly when they find a note that refers to the once beloved portrait in less than complimentary terms. Close scrutiny of the portrait reveals a piece of music which intrigues Phin, and so starts them on a journey that takes them back to the days prior and during the second World War.

    The story has several third person narrators, Phin as they search for Arabella, Margot Mander, born into a family with great hatred for Christa Klein, Giselle Klein, mother of Christa, whose story takes us back to 1939, and then Christa’s story in 1941.

    As Phin seeks to uncover the secret of a piece of music the origins of it are slowly revealed through the stories of Giselle and Christa.

    To say I enjoyed this book is a vast understatement, I loved it. Mysteries where the solution is found by unlocking secrets in the past always fascinate me. This is one of the best. A real page turner. Highly recommended.

    ------

    Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

  • Rissa

    3.75⭐

    Thank you so much to severn house publishing via netgalley for sending me an ARc copy of chord of evil by Sarah Rayne . will be released on December 1, 2017.

    Toby and Phin are attending a neighbors party but tobys cousin, Arabella doesn't show up so they go looking for her at her apartment and find that she is missing. The only thing left in her apartment is a painting drawn by a women named Christa. A vague note is left on the painting.

    We also get to follow stefan and christa when we are

    3.75⭐️

    Thank you so much to severn house publishing via netgalley for sending me an ARc copy of chord of evil by Sarah Rayne . will be released on December 1, 2017.

    Toby and Phin are attending a neighbors party but tobys cousin, Arabella doesn't show up so they go looking for her at her apartment and find that she is missing. The only thing left in her apartment is a painting drawn by a women named Christa. A vague note is left on the painting.

    We also get to follow stefan and christa when we are transported back to the 1930s to follow their life story and how the painting came to be.

    The mystery is much music based which I appreciate being a musician. Phin and Toby find a very old piece of sheet music from the 1940s and the mystery continues.

    I really enjoyed the relationship between Phin and toby their bond was real and raw.

    I had a hard time getting into the story, i didnt really care that Arabella was missing and I didnt care for Marcus and Magots perspectives/story line but luckily we mainly follow Phin and toby and their adventures in finding Arabella and the mystery behind the music. 🎶

  • Sue

    Chord of Evil is a mystery set in two eras. The story moves between the past, the early war years (the late 1930s) in Germany, and present-day England with a missing person in the present and questions about links to people from that unknown past. As in the first book in the series,

    , there is music, mystery, a touch of the fantastic and much history. Here that history involves Nazi Germany, their use of forced labor to turn out propaganda in the early war years, here specifically a p

    Chord of Evil is a mystery set in two eras. The story moves between the past, the early war years (the late 1930s) in Germany, and present-day England with a missing person in the present and questions about links to people from that unknown past. As in the first book in the series,

    , there is music, mystery, a touch of the fantastic and much history. Here that history involves Nazi Germany, their use of forced labor to turn out propaganda in the early war years, here specifically a piece of music marked with a dissonant "chord of evil."

    I do enjoy this series though I will admit to being a tad confused during the first part of this novel with the switches in place but not necessarily in time with the introduction of new characters. It took me a moment or two to make connections. I question if this could have been smoother. The villains here are not subtle; they are the obvious evil men whether they are dressed in black or not. But the plot has some interesting sideways moves to it that I didn't see coming.

    So all in all a 3.5* rounded up for the ending.

    A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  • Kathleen Gray

    Well done dual time line mystery. I'd not read Rayne before and was impressed with her ability to manage a lot of characters and events in a fairly short read. You'll learn a bit about WWII and musicians - Giselle is forced to create a piece of music for the Nazis. This echoes down through the years until Toby and Phin become involved in the mystery of what really happened. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Try this one for a complex and well thought out tale.

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: On the first night she knelt on the window-seat of her room, staring across the darkening landscape towards a huddle of buildings. At first she was not sure what they were. They were too large to be farm buildings, and too neatly laid out to be a village. She thought the word for it might be regimented. Might it be a factory? But as she went on looking, her eyes began to adjust to the darkness - or perhaps the moon simply came out from behind clouds - and she could make out tall gates.

    EXCERPT: On the first night she knelt on the window-seat of her room, staring across the darkening landscape towards a huddle of buildings. At first she was not sure what they were. They were too large to be farm buildings, and too neatly laid out to be a village. She thought the word for it might be regimented. Might it be a factory? But as she went on looking, her eyes began to adjust to the darkness - or perhaps the moon simply came out from behind clouds - and she could make out tall gates. She was seeing more details as well now, and sick horror was starting to sweep over her. Because on the eastern side of the buildings, almost exactly as she had seen them in her nightmares, were jutting brick chimneys.

    It's a concentration camp, thought Christa. It's one of the places where people are shut away and where the skewer-eyed men and the humpback surgeons pull out their bones. Where the brick chimneys sometimes glow with heat, because people - dozens of people - are being burned. For the first time since leaving Lindschoen, she was grateful that Stefan was not with them.

    THE BLURB: A mysterious 1940s’ portrait leads researcher Phineas Fox to uncover a devastating wartime secret in this chilling novel of suspense.

    Phineas Fox finds it impossible to refuse when his sport-loving neighbour Toby begs for his help in finding out what’s happened to his cousin Arabella, who seems to have disappeared without trace. The only clue to her whereabouts is an obscure 1940s’ portrait left in her flat, a gift from her godfather, Stefan. The painting depicts the mysterious Christa Klein, Stefan’s sister - and an alleged murderess.

    Was Christa Klein really guilty of a monstrous crime? What exactly happened within brooding Wewelsburg Castle back in 1941? And what does it have to do with Arabella’s disappearance? As Phin delves further, he uncovers evidence of a lost piece of music and a devastating wartime secret: an atrocity whose repercussions reach to the present day.

    MY THOUGHTS: I enjoyed Chord of Evil by Sarah Rayne, although I wouldn't call it chilling. It is really almost a cosy mystery. Although some of the subject matter, the concentration camps, the Nazi's treatment of the Jews, could be horrific, it is merely glossed over in favor of presenting a good mystery.

    And it is a good mystery, one that had me turning the pages rapidly to find out who was going to survive and just whether or not Christa was a murderess.

    Don't expect any great historical depth, or in fact much depth at all. If you want a quick, enjoyable mystery to read, Chord of Evil fits the bill admirably. If I get the chance to read more in this series, I will definitely be taking it.

    Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital copy of Chord of Evil by Sarah Rayne for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

  • Judy Lesley

    Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House Publishing for a digital galley of this novel.

    I have read other books by Sarah Rayne and liked them very much. I began this series with the first Phineas Fox novel and rated it a three star experience. I had hoped this second book would suit me better, but I've only given this one three stars so I don't think I'm going to ever warm up to Phineas enough to follow the series. This second story relies too heavily on coincidence. Every time the story needed to

    Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House Publishing for a digital galley of this novel.

    I have read other books by Sarah Rayne and liked them very much. I began this series with the first Phineas Fox novel and rated it a three star experience. I had hoped this second book would suit me better, but I've only given this one three stars so I don't think I'm going to ever warm up to Phineas enough to follow the series. This second story relies too heavily on coincidence. Every time the story needed to move along -- Bingo! a piece of necessary information materialized hidden inside something. And I'm still confused about all of that sheet music that kept turning up.

    There are three major plot threads in this novel with one taking place in Germany between 1939-1941 which progresses from a home to a concentration camp. There is a rape scene in this older section which is described rather completely so you might want to know that ahead of time. The improbable scenarios keep stacking up until the three threads come together. I am not forming any kind of attachment to Phin so it would not make sense for me to continue with the series.

  • Eustacia Tan

    I requested this book because Sarah Rayne is one of the few horror writers that I enjoy (because I'm too much of a scaredy-cat to explore the horror genre). While I haven't read her works in a while - something that I should remedy soon - Chords of Evil has the same suspense and crescendoing dread that the other works have.

    Chords of Evil is a story told in two time periods and through four points of view. It starts in the modern day, with Phineas Fox. His neighbour, Toby, asks for his help in fi

    I requested this book because Sarah Rayne is one of the few horror writers that I enjoy (because I'm too much of a scaredy-cat to explore the horror genre). While I haven't read her works in a while - something that I should remedy soon - Chords of Evil has the same suspense and crescendoing dread that the other works have.

    Chords of Evil is a story told in two time periods and through four points of view. It starts in the modern day, with Phineas Fox. His neighbour, Toby, asks for his help in finding his missing cousin Arabella. To be honest, the normalcy of the beginning threw me off, but the book after they find a mysterious painting, the book quickly shifts to Margot, who's a bit obsessed with her brother, and then back into the past to Giselle in Nazi-era Germany and then to one last character (not going to name her to avoid spoilers). As the different threads start to weave themselves together, the world of the story got darker and darker and I felt that familiar sense of dread creeping over me.

    Sarah Rayne tends to be a master of the dual plot structure, but I'll admit that I was a bit confused initially. I'm not sure if it's just the ARC copy I received, but there was nothing to indicate a POV change, which meant that I ended up going back and rereading a couple of chapters because I got lost. To be fair, I did put the book down and I suppose that if I read the first few chapters in one sitting, this wouldn't have happened. But as the story progressed and I got a hang of who's who, the shifts in POV and time felt a lot smoother and instead of being confused, the tension increased with every change.

    As for characters, I thought that Giselle and the other character in the past felt very well-rounded, while Phineas was a little more forgettable and Margot was just creepy. I also thought that Arabella verged on being just a bit too manic pixie dream girl-ish, but since she didn't really appear until the ending of the book, she ending up being more charming than anything.

    To be honest, I don't think Chord of Evil is as good as some of her other books, like A Dark Dividing, Roots of Evil, Spider Light, or Ghost Song, which were the first few books of hers that I read - before this blog, or perhaps in its earliest days - and which I would dearly love to re-read again. But on the whole, it is a solid thriller and did a good job of creeping me out, even if the beginning was a bit rough.

    Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

    This review was first posted at

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