When in Rome, violinist Julia buys an antique book with Gypsy music. In it she finds the notes for an unusual and fascinating waltz. After returning home, she plays the piece called “Incendio” – fire – and soon after strange things start happening. First, her three-year-old daughter stabs the cat, then she even injures her own mother. Examinations of the girl lead to nothing, but there must be a connection to the piece and its history. Parallel to this, Gerritsen narrates the story of violinist Lorenzo and cellist Laura who fall in love with each other while rehearsing together. But times are hard for Jews in WW II Italy, and thus there is not much hope for this young love. The two stories are interconnected and this link will pose a serious danger for Julia.
A stunning novel, which is less based on the thrill the readers of Gerritsen’s novels know well, but on the fine tones that music creates. There is suspense – even a lot of it – you want to know why the little girl behaves in this strange way and how the music could have triggered this behaviour. At the same time, the story based in war Venice was to me much more appealing, to see how the common passion for music can link to people and create a bond which lasts beyond death. Action comes up at the end of the story which solves all mysterious in a believable and comprehensible way.
I have read several of Gerritsen’s novels, but I definitely liked this one best because it is a perfect combination of historical events, the power of music as a very strong theme and mysteries which a waiting to be solved.