The Symphony Heist

Rated 4.78 out of 5 based on 23 customer ratings
(23 customer reviews)

$9.99$12.95

Melody Cavatina, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s new and exceptionally talented cellist, is scheduled to premiere a finger-cracking solo in Rio in conjunction with the signing of a controversial trade agreement. It’s her first solo, and she’s traumatized, barely able to play normally let alone in front of an assembly of world leaders. As the orchestra heads to the airport, their priceless instruments are hijacked.

Genial police Lieutenant Lowell is called to find the truckload of instruments. Many people suspect a populist group trying to stop the trade agreement, but Lowell assembles a long list of other suspects, which includes Melody.

She must conquer her psychological shock and clear her name. She must get to Rio and dedicate her performance to a person she had wronged. She must use her perfect pitch and meticulous musical sensitivity to find the thieves.

Told with a focus on music, irreverent and witty, The Symphony Heist is a thoroughly satisfying mystery, fun and informative. Lowell is becoming one of the most delightful characters in literature. Anyone who likes to solve a mystery or enjoys music will fall in love with this book.

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Melody Cavatina, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s new and exceptionally talented cellist, is scheduled to premiere a finger-cracking solo in Rio in conjunction with the signing of a controversial trade agreement. It’s her first solo, and she’s traumatized, barely able to play normally let alone in front of an assembly of world leaders. As the orchestra heads to the airport, their priceless instruments are hijacked.

Genial police Lieutenant Lowell is called to find the truckload of instruments. Many people suspect a populist group trying to stop the trade agreement, but Lowell assembles a long list of other suspects, which includes Melody.

She must conquer her psychological shock and clear her name. She must get to Rio and dedicate her performance to a person she had wronged. She must use her perfect pitch and meticulous musical sensitivity to find the thieves.

Told with a focus on music, irreverent and witty, The Symphony Heist is a thoroughly satisfying mystery, fun and informative. Lowell is becoming one of the most delightful characters in literature. Anyone who likes to solve a mystery or enjoys music will fall in love with this book.

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23 reviews for The Symphony Heist

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Kameel Nasr’s novel Symphony Heist is a delightful, Byzantine romp of a musical mystery. About to go on tour, the Boston Symphony Orchestra is suddenly paralyzed by the theft of ALL their priceless instruments. The truck carting them to the airport is hijacked and disappears. When no ransom demands come, and it slowly becomes apparent that there are political motives for the crime. The BSO was in fact about to go to Rio di Janeiro to play at a grand ceremony celebrating international corporate agreements on recording and performance royalties – an agreement many of the musicians are against, but which their employers and managers advocate. Conflicted more than anyone is the prodigious first chair cellist, the young Melody Cavatina, who has been assigned to premier a cello concerto composed by her Brazilian-American lover Eduardo. To add to the tension, she hasn’t been playing well in recent weeks, due to suspicious persecution by the Brazilian conductor. Inspector Lowell of the Boston Police is called in – a deceptively low-energy Boston cop who doesn’t know much about music but learns fast, and has his own canny insights into the crime. His perspective and actions gives the novel its grounding, and his fellow policemen include an array of colorful Boston types, some with sensitivities one might not have expected. The musicians, too, vary widely in their politics, in their devotion to music and in their personal journeys.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    This book is centered in Boston and its famous orchestra. I like reading about the various places in Boston. And the story is not at all fantastic because the principal cellist of the BSO, who is perhaps the longest serving member of the BSO, announced his retirement, so perhaps a pretty and exceptionally talented young lady will take his place and wow everyone with her playing. I generally don’t read mysteries, but because it’s about classical music, I really enjoyed the book.

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    As a professional musician, I’m skeptical about music books, and I hardly read mysteries, but I read the first chapter of The Symphony Heist and was intrigued. I finished the book in two days, and loved it. People were looking at me on the train as I was laughing out loud while reading. The police guy, Lieutenant Lowell, is terribly funny. If you’re uptight about classical music, you may be offended, but this book opens the entire genre. Read it yourself.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Heard about this book on the radio and read the first chapter. The book arrived the day after I ordered it, and I got into it right away. Very fun. I love classical music and I love mysteries with no blood or guts or offensive content, so this was right up my alley. I think it’s a great book because, unlike so many mysteries, all loose ends are tied up, and I felt really satisfied by the end. I had a suspicion on who did it, but it kept me guessing. I’m just ordering the author’s other books. Great writer.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    I met the author handing out flyers in front of the BSO. Handsome guy. Big smile. The book was also a big smile. I play piano, so it was very relevant to me. Kept my interest right up to the end. I like how the book touches on the issue of the lack of African-Americans at Symphony Hall. I never really thought about the issue before, but we should wonder if we’re being exclusive and whether classical music devolved into a white-only club, which is not acceptable. Anyway, there are many issues raised in the book, but mostly it’s well-written and positive, like the guy I met handing out flyers.

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    I went to Amazon, where book is $12.99 plus shipping, so it’s much better to get it here. I agree with the other reviews. Good book. I like all the music aspects of the book.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    I just finished it, and I thought it was terrific. I’m not a musician, I just like good books, and this is high on my list.

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It kept me guessing ‘whodunnit’ to the end. It also kept me googling to learn more about the composers’ lives it referenced in the course of the plot development. I loved the musical allusions and hearing the sounds of the mundane world through the ear of a brilliant cellist. The well-developed political and social themes are timely, and the character development is excellent, including the bumbling, buffoonish police inspector, who is surprisingly astute. The Boston scenarios were an added treat for me, since I have lived in the Boston area all of my adult life. If you love music or Boston or mysteries, you should definitely read this book!

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent Book. Positive and witty and energetic. Gives a new perspective on classical music, which can be stiff.

  10. Rated 4 out of 5

    I learned a lot about music that I didn’t already know. The story is of a young cellist who has a secret past that has caught up with her just as she’s going to play her first solo. Plus, the solo is going to be at an event most musicians oppose. Plus, the solo is a bear to play. She has a lot to sort through. There is a lot of humor here and a lot about classical music. I felt hopeful and positive reading this. This book is going to be Christmas presents for many musician friends.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    I join the chorus of praise for The Symphony Heist. Disclosure: I’m a classically-trained musician, and I love the music aspect of the book. There’s a lot of hidden imagery here which classical music people will recognize. There is also a funny cop. It’s both realistic and unrealistic. Enjoyed the book a lot.

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    Excellent mystery. You will enjoy this whether or not you’re a musician (I’m not). The mystery keeps you guessing until the end. Very satisfying reading. I just ordered the author’s other heist book.

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    I suspected the culprit about a third of the way through, but later I wasn’t sure. Nasr weaves a nice story, with a lot of humor. You get sucked into the world of the young main character who is unusually gifted but has some baggage. Then there’s the police person who is astute but comes across as an idiot. I’m not into classical music, but I really liked the book. Nasr has another heist book, I imagine about the Gardner Museum robbery, which remains unsolved. Very well written.

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    The Symphony Heist is not your typical mystery. There is no murder, although at a couple of points there appears to be. There is no violence, although at one point there’s a bomb. The cops are more humorous than real cops, though they are very savvy. And there really isn’t a bad guy, though there is some bad. But there is a very real mystery, a whodunit as potent as any typical murder mystery. The writer takes us inside the symphony music world. At a couple of points someone gives talks about music, no so much classical music but music and the universe, and they are delightful talks. We learn through the book how the orchestra is made up, what the various instruments do, the role of the conductor, concertmaster, and the section principals. The characters are well presented, from funny to grim. You get caught up in the plight of the protagonist, a young woman aptly named Melody, and you want her to succeed. She has to forgive herself and make up for a wrong she committed. You will be satisfied by the time you arrive at the last page.

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    This is a nice book to read late at night. I recognized that the names of many of the characters are linked to names of famous composers or musical names. There isn’t a Mozart of Beethoven character, but there is a Carter, Rodrigo, George (who says he’s George Fredrick Handel), an Ostinato, and of course the main character who is Melody. Hooky? I didn’t think so when I was reading it. It’s really a funny read into what’s usually a serious subject: classical music. By the way, what exactly is classical music? The book talks about that too. I really liked the police investigator. Overall, there are many small things in the books that make it excellent reading.

  16. Rated 5 out of 5

    Funny and enlightening reading. This is not a murder mystery or a private investigator or a police drama. It really improved my understanding of classical music and what orchestra members go through. The musicians of the BSO are among the best in the world, and I enjoy listening to them. The mystery is the theft of the BSO instruments. The main culprits are a group that are against a free trade agreement that will affect musicians and artists. But things are not as they seem to be. A young lady who is in a royal rut as a musician becomes the amateur investigator. During the story she is transformed from an insecure girl to a confident woman. She returns to the great musician that she is. The story unfolds in one day–pretty full day, pretty good reading.

  17. Rated 5 out of 5

    I love classical music, so I really appreciated this book which really enlarged my musical ideas. One of the most delightful parts for me was one of the characters gives short talks about music–not just classical–talking about what music is. But you don’t have to be a music nut to enjoy this book because at its base it’s a mystery, and it is very, very witty. I can’t get over the character of Lieutenant Lowell and his non-sequiturs, but he’s actually a very astute guy, partly by being so disarming. The story centers around the young main character, who aptly got the name Melody. She’s a super musician who grew up outside the mainstream of classical training. She has a composer boyfriend, and during the book she grows up and deals with her life. Melody, to everyone’s surprise, given her age and inexperience, becomes the BSO principal cellist. Highly unlikely, but as I write the BSO’s long standing cellist (an excellent musician) passed away, so they will have to start the process of hiring a new principal, so there’s an open chair for Melody. This book is highly recommended as satisfying reading. It’s quick and informative and very funny.

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    Such a clever book. I’m not into classical music–not al all–but I loved reading about the orchestra and tried to solve the crime. Unlike other heist books where the story leads up to the heist, here the heist happens in the first chapter, and the reader is given clues to figure it out. There is a lot of humor in the book, which is usually the hardest thing for a book to pull off. I got a tip about the book from a friend who goes to classical music concerts. I think it’s a positive and satisfying read.

  19. Rated 5 out of 5

    I too loved the book. A lot of fun. I know Symphony Hall, and I can see this author did his research, and is knowledge of music is exceptional. I also loved the short talks that Eduardo gives. My only comment: one character says, “Beethoven was crazy…” This is only partly true. He was crazy in the terrible say he treated his nephew and his sister-in-law (who was at his side when Beethoven died), but in other ways he was a sensitive gentleman who was filled with music. I know it’s a small comment, but the book is great, and I’m looking forward to others.

  20. Rated 4 out of 5

    Really fun book. The reader gets a backstage tour of the Symphony Orchestra and tries to solve the mystery. The end is different than expected. There a twists and turns. Things are not what they seem. And there is a lot about music. Really enjoyed it.

  21. Rated 4 out of 5

    This is a non-murder mystery, which is rare. It is a nice book, so if you’re looking for hard-boiled sex and murder, you need to look somewhere else. The writing is tight and polished. The characters are complex and fun. The plot is interesting and makes you turn the page. Easy and light reading. I liked learning about classical music and orchestras, even though I’m not a fan and find such concerts boring. The main character, Melody, has a past which is not explored as much as I would have liked. I guessed whodunit about three-quarters of the way through, but I’m usually good at that. The police person is really funny. I would probably give it five stars if I liked classical music.

  22. Rated 5 out of 5

    I like the part about African Americans not being part of the Symphony scene. We’re talking about music people. What would America be like without music from Black folks? Yet, we are not part of the classical audience or (barely) performers, even though some of the best black jazz and rock musicians were classically trained. I think you raise an important point.

  23. Rated 3 out of 5

    this is a lite mystery, no murder, no anxiety, no blood, and no chases

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