MOZART’S LAST ARIA

Matt Rees

The news arrives in a letter to his sister, Nannerl, in December 1791. But the message carries more than word of Nannerl’s brother’s demise. Two months earlier, Mozart confided to his wife that his life was rapidly drawing to a close . . . and that he knew he had been poisoned.

In Vienna to pay her final respects, Nannerl soon finds herself ensnared in a web of suspicion and intrigue—as the actions of jealous lovers, sinister creditors, rival composers, and Mozart’s Masonic brothers suggest that dark secrets hastened the genius to his grave. As Nannerl digs deeper into the mystery surrounding her brother’s passing,

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The news arrives in a letter to his sister, Nannerl, in December 1791. But the message carries more than word of Nannerl’s brother’s demise. Two months earlier, Mozart confided to his wife that his life was rapidly drawing to a close . . . and that he knew he had been poisoned.

In Vienna to pay her final respects, Nannerl soon finds herself ensnared in a web of suspicion and intrigue—as the actions of jealous lovers, sinister creditors, rival composers, and Mozart’s Masonic brothers suggest that dark secrets hastened the genius to his grave. As Nannerl digs deeper into the mystery surrounding her brother’s passing, Mozart’s black fate threatens to overtake her as well.

Transporting readers to the salons and concert halls of eighteenth-century Austria, Mozart’s Last Aria is a magnificent historical mystery that pulls back the curtain on a world of soaring music, burning passion, and powerful secrets.

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  • Harper Perennial
  • Paperback
  • November 2011
  • 336 Pages
  • 9780062015860

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$14.99

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About Matt Rees

Matt Rees is an award-winning crime novelist and foreign correspondent. He is the author of the internationally acclaimed Omar Yussef crime series, including The Collaborator of Bethlehem. He is also the author of Cain’s Field, a nonfiction account of Israeli and Palestinian society. Matt lives in Jerusalem.

Praise

“Engaging, well-paced. . . . Combining Dan Brown or Elizabeth Kostova–style historical conspiracy theory with cozy detective novel, Rees’s latest offers a genuinely felt reverence for the power of Mozart’s music and its lasting impact in the world.”—Publishers Weekly

“Rees nails the details of Mozart’s Vienna with precision, seasoning his story with musical details that will delight fans of classical music. . . . A beautiful book lluminated by the author’s own musical background that moves slowly and deliberately to a fine conclusion.”—Kirkus Review (starred review)

“Mozart, music, and murder seamlessly blend together in this fascinating historical mystery. A perfect read to go with a crackling fire and a pot of hot chocolate.”Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of The Silent Girl

“Mozart fans and codecrackers will enjoy the clever musical riddle. A very readable historical mystery romp.”—The Times (London)

Discussion Questions

The physical similarity between Nannerl and her dead brother Wolfgang plays a role in Mozart’s Last Aria. What other similarities do there seem to be between the two of them?

The most famous person mentioned in the book, Wolfgang Mozart, dies without us meeting him. What do we learn about him from the other characters? Were you surprised to find him portrayed that way? What did you know about him before reading this novel?

Nannerl Mozart was a child prodigy, playing her music all over Europe, until her father decided to focus on Wolfgang. Was she overshadowed by her brother because he was a greater talent? Or was it because she was a woman?

Nannerl is surprised to learn that Wolfgang’s wife Constanze resents the way she treated her when they first met years before. What else does Nannerl learn about her past behavior? And how do the events of the novel change her?

Though she falls in love with Baron van Swieten, Nannerl leaves him and returns to her family. Does she go back to her husband and children out of love for the children? Or just out of the kind of duty people of that period felt?

Would you have stayed in Vienna with the Baron, if you had been Nannerl?

Wolfgang’s music plays an important role in the plot, particularly The Magic Flute. Did this change the way you listen to Mozart’s music?

All the book’s characters are real historical figures. But Matt Rees points out in his Author’s Note that he changed some of the events of their lives for his fictional purposes. What do you think of that?

Did Mozart’s Last Aria enhance your knowledge of classical music and make you want to listen to it more?