After hearing someone on Book Riot say that Bellweather Rhapsody was influenced heavily by The Westing Game, I had to go out and get it that very day. As a kid I was OBSESSED with The Westing Game, a smart book that still holds up as an adult reader. While it’s easy to see TWG’s influence, Bellweather Rhapsody is firmly its own thing. If you like clever little mysteries with casts of interesting characters, this needs to go on your list.
Every year the majestic, but slightly crumbling Bellweather Hotel hosts Statewide, a festival for hundreds of gifted high school music students. This year, the weather forecast ominously promises that they’ll all be snowed in. When a student goes missing in the same spot that a famous murder/suicide took place fifteen years earlier, the search for her brings together an eccentric cast of characters including a pair of twins trying to figure out their futures, a controlling mother, an eccentric conductor, a washed up pianist, and two figures haunted by the murder/suicide fifteen years ago.
Kate Racculia deftly takes the murder mystery genre and twists it into something fresh. Bellweather Rhapsody might be an homage to The Westing Game, The Shining, or even Agatha Christie novels, but for every trope she employs, she turns another on its head. The plot is gripping, the characters interesting, and you can’t ask for a better murder mystery setting than a giant hotel filled with musicians. I can’t tell you how enjoyable this sharp, witty, slightly scary book was. Even a week later, I’m still thinking about these characters. Racculia wrote them so well and they got under my skin in a way that I’m not likely to shake any time soon.