Murder Mezzo Forte, a Preston Barclay Mystery by Donn Taylor

Title:  Murder Mezzo Forte
Series: Preston Barclay Mystery series
Author: Donn Taylor
Publisher: Lamp Lighter Mysteries
Release Date:  June 9, 2016
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary / Cozy Mystery

He is a reclusive history professor with musical hallucinations. . . .

She a headstrong professor of religion, a converted Wiccan. Earlier, they solved a campus murder, but now police say they formed two-thirds of an illicit love triangle with a newly-murdered female colleague and they're probably guilty of her murder. A leak of the alleged scandal to the college administration threatens their jobs.

Their desperate attempt to prove themselves innocent of the triangle and the murder plunges them into a tangle of unsavory corporate relationships among college trustees. And it puts their lives in danger from a mysterious criminal organization that seems to have tentacles everywhere.

Can this ill-matched pair's stumbling efforts succeed against the entrenched forces of the police, the college's incompetent administration, and that powerful but unseen criminal organization? If not, they may end up unemployed, in prison, or suffering a fate much worse.

I don't know what to call Donn Taylor's Murder Mezzo Forte. I mean is it a cozy mystery or a suspense? It's a murder mystery. One really shouldn't find it so humorous in something so - somber, but I do. Not the murder, but Murder Mezzo Forte. I'm not familiar with Donn Taylor. Picking up this book, I didn't even realize it's a sequel, but don't worry, it can be read as a standalone. From the opening on, you are presented with the fact that history professor, Preston Barclay solved a murder mystery on campus along with religion teacher Mara Thorn. Apparently that was the first book, Rhapsody in Red, and come this sequel, they are "famous" on campus, as well as the subject of relational rumors. As Mara tried to steer clear of Preston to avoid any rumors that might jeopardize their careers, they are once again the subject of a murder investigation.  What luck!

I truly find Murder Mezzo Forte funny. It's not comical, but more on the witty and "good grief!" type of humor. It's satirical at times, and down-right dry others, but it works. It works for both Preston and Mara's personalities. And that is what connects with me with this book.  Honestly, the murder was all over the place and felt like one of those "Clue" type mysteries. You watch it unfold and sometimes you're invested, other times the characters and what's going on with them is what kept you going. The amount of coincidence also adds to the full amusement of it all. After all that, I might be incline to put this in the cozy mystery category, and I would recommend it to those needing a good, light mystery.  However, I can understand this dry sense of humor & wit may not be for everyone, but I would still say give it a try.  Even writing this and thinking of the musical references and puns throughout had me smiling.  Yes, I would recommend this.  =)

NOTE:  I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, through Litfuse Publicity Tours for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own. For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in Renaissance literature and taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His publications include three suspense novels, one historical novel, and a book of poetry. He lives near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.

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If you're interested, Robin Lee Hatcher is hosting a giveaway of Murder Mezzo Forte,
along with 6 random things with Donn Taylor!
Click HERE to enter.




  1. yes! well-said. It's a cozy mystery... but not a cozy mystery. LOL. Describing it like "Clue" is perfect! haha!


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