on Oct. 29, 2015 :
In Senegal's tightly closed world of embassy employees and Peace Corp volunteers, the wives (or occasional husbands) struggle for identity and strive to fill the endless days of being defined by "other." Emily is one such wife, a musician playing in a volunteer orchestra, a mother, and a woman with few friends in her foreign world. When one of those friends is murdered, Emily could quietly accept that the men will solve the crime, or she could follow her heart and look for answers.
Emily makes a pleasantly smart, believable protagonist in this mystery, neither too clever nor too foolish, but certainly determined. In the late ‘90s, Senegal reveals itself as a place filled with real people, local and foreign, with real needs and real desires. Women suffer genital mutilation as a matter of course, as Emily learns. Terrorists are an ever-present fear. Cultural divisions create amusing moments. And wounded relationships thrive.
Author Carole Howard weaves authentic details and invaluable lessons seamlessly and unobtrusively into this novel, making it a truly evocative read, well-grounded in culture, time and place. Nicely drawn images of life in a different world invite readers to see through other people's eyes. The agony of needed change is beautifully balanced against the pain of change enforced through death, and hidden secrets reveal the need for and meaning of true friendship.
Meanwhile the deadly adagio plays – slow in the heat of a Senegal day, whispering the need for change, and well-composed with mystery in the beginning, middle and end.
Disclosure: I bought a free ecopy and I offer my honest review.
(reviewed 8 months after purchase)
Maribeth Shanley, Sr
on April 23, 2015 :
Don’t underestimate this author as, in true adagio fashion, she soothes your mind with her characters.
As quickly as your mind begins to drift into sweet repose, the author jolts you to life as she garrotes you just as the character Margaret is garroted into permanent rest with a violin string. Suddenly all your senses are wide awake and you find yourself in the middle of a perfect storm. Ms. Howard commands you to sit down, shut up and pay attention as she rubs your face and mind in African traditions that rivet refined senses, leaving the reader stunned at the insanity of it all.
I love Ms. Howard’s writing style. When the main character, Emily plays her murdered friend’s violin, one can’t get any closer to the heart of how she felt about her friend. “Emily tucked Margaret, in the form of her violin, under her chin and smiled.” That passage made me smile.
Ms. Howard’s intimate relationship with the English language results in her painting facial features and expressions, human thought and bodily language with strokes that left me thinking … when I grow up, I want to write like her.
(reviewed 34 days after purchase)
on April 23, 2015 :
Carole Howard’s carefully woven mystery of a murder, Deadly Adagio, takes us deep into the complex world of diplomacy in Dakar, Senegal. Emily, the tag-along wife of a diplomat finds herself stepping into a dark world of murder and cultural clashes when her best friend, Margaret is found murdered. Howard’s story will educate you on the murky boundaries of diplomacy and why cultural practices and differences can easily ignite tension and muddy the waters of who done it and why.
Deadly Adagio is a fine tuned symphony of words, worlds and characters.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)