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Book Review: Mister E's Mysteries Are Great Fun
By Stephen Dankner, Guest Column
09:29AM / Friday, August 24, 2018
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Former Boston Symphony violinist Gerald Elias is self-publishing 'Mister E's Mysteries.'

Often, when we think of our greatest, we may assume that their lives are fully taken up by mastering their art. So, it may come as a surprise that occasionally, a maestro can find the time and passion to dedicate her/himself to a completely different art form – and to, over the years, excel equally at that "secondary" activity. Such is the case with former Boston Symphony violinist Gerald Elias.

A graduate of Yale University, Elias has also been associate concertmaster of the Utah Symphony, adjunct professor of music at the University of Utah, first violinist of the Abramyan String Quartet and music director of the Vivaldi Candlelight concert series.

Elias is also a master storyteller/novelist, who has published six thrillers – all combining his love of music with a fabulously crafted fiction style to create an unusual, original and gripping series of novel-length mysteries.

About his latest project, Mister E's Mysteries, Elias has written, "I'm going into more self-publishing, where I can do it all at my own (usually faster) pace. Right now, I'm in the process of completing publishing six mini-volumes of my short mysteries, with three stories per volume. All six volumes will be available at starting September 3 as eBooks and paperbacks."

Elias, in a prefatory note to the first volume of Mister E's Mysteries, writes: "There are so many kinds of mystery short stories: creepy, clever, humorous, macabre, spooky, wicked and puzzling. Mystery short stories can be lightning strike short or as long as an owl’s shadow in a full moon. They can take place in the remote Utah desert, the charming Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, or a trendy coffee shop in midtown Manhattan. Anywhere."

I loved the three stories in Volume I. Each was unique, with a characterful "take" on direct, but suspenseful and natural storytelling.

"Sleeping Beauty" was congenially told, but, without warning, it turned shocking and violent, and concluded with a surprise ending. Classical music and ballet set the scene.

In "Head in the Sand," Elias spins an ostensibly routine vacation beach getaway into a horrendous, retribution murder whodunit. From the commonplace to a gruesome vendetta killing, the reader, in a few short pages is taken for the ride of his life.

The author's affinity for plays on words is all over "Make Mine a Double," where the action occurs in the Dragon Palace Dumpling House. Prepare yourself for some decidedly indigestible "groaners" as the puns fly fast and furious, in competition with the shumai.

Great fun, these, and clever, with sure-fire, snappy writing and plenty of pizzazz. You'll love reading these sparkling gems of the mystery genre – each one a choice delicacy. Order a Mai Tai to wash them down!

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