Chord of Evil (Phineas Fox #2)
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.

Chord of Evil (Phineas Fox #2) Details

TitleChord of Evil (Phineas Fox #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseDec 1st, 2017
PublisherSevern House Publishers
ISBN-139780727887412
Rating
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Crime, Thriller, Mystery Thriller

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Chord of Evil (Phineas Fox #2) Review

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
    January 1, 1970
    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 https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
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  • Rissa
    January 1, 1970
    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. 🎶
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    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, Death Notes, 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, Death Notes, 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.
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  • Annette Gisby
    January 1, 1970
    ARC from Netgalley courtesy of the publisherThis 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 publisherThis 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.
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  • Helen Carolan
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Judy Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Kathleen Gray
    January 1, 1970
    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.
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  • Lizzie Hayes
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Chord of Evil’ by Sarah RaynePublished 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 RaynePublished 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
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  • Joyce
    January 1, 1970
    5 plus starsI read the kindle edition.Toby Tallis, Phineas “Phin” Fox’s neighbor is having a party. When Toby’s cousin Arabella doesn’t show up, Toby is concerned. Toby and Phin go to Arabella’s apartment and discover that she is missing and the only thing left behind is a painting of a woman named Christa which was painted in the 1940’s. Christa died years ago but was the sister of their godfather Stefan. In the painting, Christa is holding sheets of music that have the name “Giselle” on them. 5 plus starsI read the kindle edition.Toby Tallis, Phineas “Phin” Fox’s neighbor is having a party. When Toby’s cousin Arabella doesn’t show up, Toby is concerned. Toby and Phin go to Arabella’s apartment and discover that she is missing and the only thing left behind is a painting of a woman named Christa which was painted in the 1940’s. Christa died years ago but was the sister of their godfather Stefan. In the painting, Christa is holding sheets of music that have the name “Giselle” on them. A mysterious note is attached to the painting. Marcus and Margot (who seems to have an unnatural affection for her brother), are brother and sister who live in a moldering old house with their mother and a woman named Lina. Lina has always blamed and is certain that Christa killed her father back in 1939 or so. Filled with hate and thoughts of vengeance, Lina lives a miserable life. Margot and Marcus are not so sure, however, because the story that Lina tells would mean that Christa was very young - in her teens - when she “killed” Lina’s father. Lina keeps secret papers and other items from the late 30’s and early 40’s. The story then transports back to 1939 to tell Christa and Stefan’s story. Giselle Klein turns out to be Christa and Stefan’s mother. She leaves her husband Felix Klein and Stefan and Christa for a few days and travels by train to her cousin’s wedding. There she finds the house abandoned and is captured by the Nazis. When Christa and Stefan made it to England, they changed their surname to Cain. When finally at godfather Stefan’s house, Phin and Toby discover a handwritten piece of music that is very mysterious and was written in the 1940’s. The Nazis want Giselle to compose a piece of music that seems as incredible as to be impossible. She starts to protest that she is a not a composer but stops when she realizes that the Nazis could well capture her husband Felix and force him to write it.Then Phin comes across a letter written in German that astounds him. As we go back and forth between the present and the past, we learn what really happened. The truth is both shocking and revealing. Nefarious doings are afoot. A thrilling sequence follows and the truth is finally uncovered.This book is remarkably well written and plotted. There are no wasted words in it. It reads linearly, even though it moves back and forth between the present and the 1940’s. The use of language was very well done and the book is easy to read. It gives enough of the main characters’ backgrounds to flesh them out but no so much as to intrude on the story. I appreciated the easy relationship between Toby and Phin. I recall in the last book that Phin was a little suspicious of Toby. Of course, they had just met and Toby’s noisy and raucous parties were an annoyance to Phin.I want to thank NetGalley and Severn House for forwarding to me a copy of this most wonderful book to read.
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  • Heather Fineisen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a creepy mystery that flashes back to Nazi prison camps and a piece of music that may have been written for Hitler. Phineas Fox is on the outskirts of the story, a charming sleigh who provides modern day assistance in tracing the music. There is a disappearance of an eccentric cousin that leads to a murder mystery from the war years. Kind of a cross between a cozy mystery and a wartime novel. Copy provided by publisher and NetGalley
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  • Hannelore Cheney
    January 1, 1970
    This is the 2nd book in the Phinias Fox series and I enjoyed it immensely, even more so than the 1st one.Phin and his neighbor Toby go on a road trip to Germany after Toby's cousin Arabella doesn't show up for his party, a very uncharacteristic action for her. Not answering her cell and not at her flat, Toby is convinced something bad has happened to her. A painting and a handwritten music score send the duo to Wewelsburg Castle, looking for answers to the mysteries Arabella's disappearance have This is the 2nd book in the Phinias Fox series and I enjoyed it immensely, even more so than the 1st one.Phin and his neighbor Toby go on a road trip to Germany after Toby's cousin Arabella doesn't show up for his party, a very uncharacteristic action for her. Not answering her cell and not at her flat, Toby is convinced something bad has happened to her. A painting and a handwritten music score send the duo to Wewelsburg Castle, looking for answers to the mysteries Arabella's disappearance have posed.We go back in time to the Holocaust and also follow a brother and sister who end upon Germany at the same time as Phin and Toby.As usual in Sarah Rayne's books, there is a pervasive sense of doom and danger, but at the same time it's a cozy read...I don't know how she does it so well, but all her books are like that, which is why I love them!Phin, Toby and Arabella are very likeable, and the story set around the Holocaust is poignant to me, having had 2 parents who were incarcerated by the Nazis. It was very thoughtfully written and the threads came together quite satisfactorily at the end. Another winner!Thank you Netgalley, Severn House and Sarah Rayne for the eARC.
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  • Alyson Rhodes
    January 1, 1970
    I am a huge Sarah Rayne fan having read all of her psychological thrillers, sometimes twice or more times. So a new Rayne is a big thrill for me in my fictional world of adventure and excitement. I must confess to being a little disappointed with her debut Phineas Fox thriller, 'Death Notes' but this second instalment was entertaining, creepy, disturbing, interestingly informative about Nazi Germany and the death camps, gripping and kept me reading long into the night. As usual with Rayne's nove I am a huge Sarah Rayne fan having read all of her psychological thrillers, sometimes twice or more times. So a new Rayne is a big thrill for me in my fictional world of adventure and excitement. I must confess to being a little disappointed with her debut Phineas Fox thriller, 'Death Notes' but this second instalment was entertaining, creepy, disturbing, interestingly informative about Nazi Germany and the death camps, gripping and kept me reading long into the night. As usual with Rayne's novels the past and the present collide and interwine with her main characters in the present day often doing the leg work of investigation or being impacted by the legacy of the mystery. So the story in 'Chord of Evil' (not perhaps my all time favourite Rayne book title- but that's nitpicking) veers between Germany 1939-1941 and the present day. The lives of the Klein family are beautifully evoked living in the Music House (shop) before the ruthless arrival of the SS in their world; emotions rage as various complicated relationships develop- the legacy of these still resonates in the current day sucking in Fox, Toby and the neighbours, brother and sister duo, the Manders. Rayne is particularly strong at placing little clues and ripples in ordinary domestic scenes to hint at the coming strangeness and evil brewing there. There is a Macguffin too -which drives the story- Alfred Hitchcock's favourite red herring lure- a lost piece of music created for the Nazi regime which has been hinted about but never found. I loved this book and as always look forward to the next Rayne thriller due out in 2018.
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  • Sarah1983
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this via Netgalley in exchange for a review.I really enjoyed this book. Caught my interest from the start and kept it the whole way through. There were several mysteries intertwined throughout it but it never became confusing or too complicated to easily follow. And it all tied in together very well. It does jump backwards and forwards between past and present which is something I'm often not a fan of but this worked very well.The main characters were likeable and belie I received a free copy of this via Netgalley in exchange for a review.I really enjoyed this book. Caught my interest from the start and kept it the whole way through. There were several mysteries intertwined throughout it but it never became confusing or too complicated to easily follow. And it all tied in together very well. It does jump backwards and forwards between past and present which is something I'm often not a fan of but this worked very well.The main characters were likeable and believable. There was enough detail to really set the scene without bogging you down in unnecessary facts and the details seemed plausible for the time in history parts of the book were set in. I found the plot believable although I have no absolutely no idea whether it actually would have been in real life. There was nothing really gory about this book in my opinion. This is the second book I've read by this author and will definitely be on the look out for more as I've enjoyed both.
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  • Anya Leonard
    January 1, 1970
    While reading this book, I felt the need to google the various settings to see if my minds eye view of the book matched up and sure enough, Ms. Rayne's descriptions had transported me to England and World War II Germany. I am a sucker for books about the Holocaust and this book was no different. I was pulled into a wonderful multi-faceted story that I would recommend highly to anyone wishing for a great, shorter read!
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  • Ionia
    January 1, 1970
    For the first chapter or so of this novel I wasn't sure I was going to get into it, but I kept reading and now I'm happy that I did. This turned out to be a fantastic book with a lot to offer the reader, particularly if you are interested in the time period around WWII. There is a wide variety of different characters in this book, some that I loved and some that I couldn't stand, as the author intended, I'm sure. The important thing for me, was that I felt something for each one of them, positiv For the first chapter or so of this novel I wasn't sure I was going to get into it, but I kept reading and now I'm happy that I did. This turned out to be a fantastic book with a lot to offer the reader, particularly if you are interested in the time period around WWII. There is a wide variety of different characters in this book, some that I loved and some that I couldn't stand, as the author intended, I'm sure. The important thing for me, was that I felt something for each one of them, positive or negative. These characters are the kind that seem so real you feel like you know them personally and they stay with you once you have finished reading the book. I like the way the story moved back and forth between the present and the past and how the mysteries were unveiled a little at a time until everything was tied up in the end. Once I got involved with this book I didn't want to set it down until I was finished. Giselle was my favourite character and I was sorry to see the book end after feeling so close to her and her family. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in this historical period and to those who are looking for something captivating to read. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    Nothing about the late 1930's in Germany rang true.
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