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The Soprano Wore Falsettos Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Soprano Wore Falsettos


Hayden Konig solves the murder of Agnes Day, the organist who is filling in for him at Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church while he is deciding whether he wants to come back, and whose body was found sprawled over the organ console. In The Soprano Wore Falsettos [ISBN 0-9721211-6-1] we find Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church in another turbulent phase. The vestry and members have to decide how to allocate the sixteen million dollar windfall they've received. Of course, there is no agreement. Some feel they should invest it, some feel they should use it for “good works”, e.g., a scholarship fund or the Red Cross.
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Russ Stafford, a vestry member and real estate agent/ developer, recommends that they build a new rectory, even though they have a beautiful rectory one block from the church. His idea is to invest in a new, upscale community called “The Clifftops” – eighteen miles from Saint Barnabas – a gated community with two professionally designed golf courses, two clubhouses, tennis courts, “…the works…” as Russ says. What he does not say is that he is one of the developers.

Meg Farthing, Hayden's significant other, who is the town beauty, and who manages Hayden's investments [she still refuses to marry him], is head of the church committee that will decide what to do with the money. The other members of the committee are: Hayden; Malcolm Walker, the former senior warden; Gwen Jackson [we last met her when her windows were shot out]; Lee Dalbey; and Billy Hixon, the current senior warden.

After a contentious meeting, they decide to let the person who has given the most money to Saint Barnabas over the years make the decision. Malcolm accepts the challenge, thinking that he is the person. In fact, the person is a tiny, 87-year-old woman with snow-white hair tied back in a bun -- Lucille Murdock -- who has given $1259. every month [one half of the settlement she received when her husband was killed in a mill accident in 1938] for 67 years. The total is $1,012,000. -- far greater than Malcolm's $800,000.

It is Palm Sunday. Hayden joins Meg sitting in the pews; he is still “on leave” from his position as Organist/Choir Director [after a tiff] and refuses to return. Saint Barnabas has hired Agnes Day to fill in until Hayden comes back. She had been the keyboard player at one of the Roman Catholic churches in Banner Elk before she retired five years ago. Everyone agrees that Agnes is an awful organist.
After the service, it seems as if Agnes's postlude is going on forever; actually, it is a recording. When Hayden is summoned to the choir loft, he finds Agnes draped over the organ console. She's not breathing and her eyes are open and unseeing. She is dead. The murder weapon is a G3 handbell [about four pounds] with blood still on it.

Many people want to murder Agnes Day:

Benny Dawkins, the church thurifer [and the best incense-swinger around, having finished in the top five for three years running in the International Thurifer Invitational in London] is suing her for theft and fraud. When her brings his great-grandfather's old violin, to look at, and to give him some advice about selling it, [he needs the money because he is three months behind on his farm loan] she buys it for $800. She doesn't tell him it's an original G. B. Guadagnini, made in 1745 in Piacenza, Italy. She then sells it for $255.000. Even worse, she's not quiet about selling it; she tells everyone. Benny is upset.

Annette Passaglio is furious because, when Agnes played for Misty's [Annette's daughter] $65,000. wedding [the social event of the winter] she ruined it by an act of negligence that resulted in a hilarious [to most people] tumbling, exposing Agnes's underwear. The videographer filmed the tumbling instead of the vows, and sold the tape to TV.   Everyone was laughing at the Passaglia family.
Russ Stafford is afraid that Agnes will influence Lucille Murdock against deciding on a new rectory for Saint Barnabas at The Clifftops. Agnes is Lucille Murdock's nurse. She hates Russ because, when Russ sold her a house [ten years ago], he was acting as both buying and listing agent [a detail he forgot to mention] and “…she could carry a grudge like nobody's business.”

Kenny Frasier is Lucille Murdock's nephew. One day, when he is visiting Lucille, he speaks with Agnes, his aunt's home health care nurse. After he tells her of his pot-growing, she set him up. “The feds got him for growing pot…”

As it turns out, none of these suspects is the murderer. Malcolm Walker did it!

Malcolm has been having an affair with Renee Tatton, a soprano in the Saint Barnabas Choir. Renee's plastic surgeon is Dr. Camelback, and Agnes Day, before she retired, was his nurse. Agnes knows about all of Renee's surgeries, including the one to tighten her vocal cords to make her a better soprano. Malcolm doesn't want the word to get out. Actually, the word “her” is misleading. What Malcolm does not know, is that Renee had transgender surgery, and Agnes knows all about that! Malcolm got a good attorney. The D.A. made a deal on the attempted murder charge, with a sentence of seven to ten years.

And what has Lucille decided to do with the 16 million dollars?
Best part of story, including ending: I liked the book because it was humorous, fast-paced, and inventive. However, I found parts of it to be confusing, especially the motivations for Agnes Day's murder.

Best scene in story: In my favorite scene Ruthie Haggarty, kills her husband, Little Bubba, who is the meanest mean in three states and a philanderer, but she doesn't kill him because he's mean or because he cheats. It turns out that she made a batch of special cookies for the Sunday School class for Easter, shaped like Jesus on the Cross. She even had “…red-hots for the blood and all colors of sparkles.” She wrote up devotions to wrap around the cookies because, she says, “I get very hungry when I'm talking to Jesus.” While Ruthie is in the bathroom, Little Bubba comes in, eats the cookies and throws the devotions on the floor. She hit him over the head with the skillet, “..Two hands.”

Opinion about the main character: I like Hayden because he is smart, sensitive and willing to help others.

The review of this Book prepared by Maria Perper a Level 4 Yellow-Headed Blackbird scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Soprano Wore Falsettos

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 30% Tone of story    -   very upbeat How difficult to spot villain?    -   Challenging Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   religion Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   police/lawman Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American

Setting

United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Mark Schweizer Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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