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Daniel Jacobus Books In Order

Publication Order of Daniel Jacobus Books

Devil's Trill (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Danse Macabre (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death and the Maiden (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Death and Transfiguration (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Playing with Fire (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


The Daniel Jacobus series is a series of four mystery novels written by American author Gerald Elias. The chief protagonist in the series is Daniel Jacobus, a blind violin teacher that is as brilliant as he is irritable. A child prodig,y Jacobus participated in the Grimsley Competition where he lost narrowly, missing the opportunity to play the single Stradivarius three quarter size violin ever made. Dogged by misfortune, he gets invited to the Boston Symphony Orchestra to serve in the coveted position of concertmaster, only to lose it when he suddenly goes blind. Bitter, hot tempered, brilliant, and misanthropic all at once, he is on a quest to insult and infuriate anyone that he meets. After losing his job as symphony concertmaster, he retreats to a house in Berkshire where he is resigned to teach the violin to learners he believes are half as good as he ever was. He spends every waking moment trying to annoy them so much, so that they hate him and quit. While he has a vile temper, his sense of justice and fair play still shine giving him a second dimension. His multidimensional character gets him into complex detective mysteries where he is victim and hero in turn. However, his sharp intellect manages to get him and the people he is tasked to acquit out of trouble every time.

The Daniel Jacobus series has won several recognitions and awards over the years that have cemented Gerald Elias’s status as one of the top mystery writers ever. In 2009, Devils Trill was featured in the Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Catalogue. The description was just as flattering, asserting the book to be full of roguish fantastic characters and rich musical detail, that was sure to delight mystery and music fans alike. The 2010 published Danse Macabre that had many of the same roguish characters featured on the Library Journal’s list of 2010’s top mystery novels. The Strad one of the world’s most prestigious international journals, praised the scholarly background and attention to detail that had gone into the creation of highly authentic stories about forgeries and thefts of rare violins.

One of the aspects of the Daniel Jacobus series that makes it so brilliant is that, Gerald Elias has created a character that is so vile yet so likable. Jacobus is cantankerous, has poor hygiene, and is not above doing some shady things to achieve his goals. Nonetheless, as a former child prodigy, he will not stand for any concert venues, record labels to take advantage of his students. He will also protect and defend persons he believes are accused falsely. His seemingly unexplained concern for his students and the innocent is what makes his ruthless side so unexpected. While initially a volatile and quirky character, he mellows over the course of the series. While he is a recluse, he is often forced into complex mysteries with the help of his two friends, Yumi Shinagawa a former student of his and Nathaniel Williams an African American a fellow player. Being blind, his senses are more acute, enabling him to not only hear music better, but also take in his world with enhanced clarity. According to the author Gerald Elias, they needed to make Jacobus more multidimensional yet develop his character over the series, to ensure that the reader would not grow to hate him, yet not pity him.

Devils Trill

The Devils Trill is the first book of the Daniel Jacobus series that introduces us to the Daniel Jacobus character. Daniel Jacobus is a blind, crotchety and reclusive violin teacher living in the rural town of Berkshire in rural New England. Most of his time is spent listening to old LPs, chain smoking, and from time to time tutoring violin students that he constantly berates and belittles, hoping that they will eventually quit.

When he leaves his self-imposed exile to attend the Grimsley Competition Hall, he is drawn back into a world that he thought he had left behind. A chance to play the dazzling size Piccolino Stradivarius violin is what the winner of the competition gets. Over the centuries, this violin has brought untold misery to whoever had it in his possession. However, before the young winner of the competition gets his chance to play the world famous violin, it is stolen, and Daniel Jacobus is the main suspect. He sets out to find the stolen violin and prove his innocence assisted by Yumi Shinagawa his new student, Nathaniel Williams a former musical partner and friend, and several associates. His investigation has him traveling to different continents where he encounters different cultures and fabulous wealth, and most important of all he uncovers a murder.

Danse Macabre

The irascible, aging, and blind Daniel Jacobus returns to help absolve a man accused of murder in the second mystery of the Daniel Jacobus series by Gerald Elias. BTower is a young but supremely talented violinist charged with killing Rene Allard, his former mentor and teacher. After an epic performance at the Carnegie Hall before going back to his native France, Allard who is expected at a small party for his retirement is found dead in an alley. BTower his former student was found standing over the body with bloody hands earning him a quick trial and conviction.

Daniel, who was a prosecution witness, told the court that BTower tried to work with Allard but he was not a good fit due to disciplinary issues. However, while he has been tried and found guilty of killing his mentor, the prosecution has yet to show any motive he would have for murdering Allard. BTower’s attorney believes there may have been someone else with motive to kill Allard, and seeks Daniel’s help to prove so.

Danse Macabre is one of the most complex yet thrilling of the Daniel Jacobus series. It is full of greed, hypocrisy, jealousy, and rivalry. While Daniel Jacobus is not one of the most likable of detective characters, we cannot begrudge him his sense of fair play and justice. It resonates with music lovers through its background information on classical music, while providing a cleverly devised detective mystery with a thumping conclusion that any mystery fan would die for.

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