Some UK reviews of “Charles Jessold, Considered as a Murderer”

“Nothing in recent fiction prepared me for the power and polish of this subtle tale of English music in the making, a chiller wrapped in an enigma. By far the most confident musical fiction I have read in years. The reader is shepherded through the major trends in 20th Century music, each described with easy clarity yet never disrupting a gripping narrative that twists and turns to the end. The sound is practically note-perfect, and the conversation fizzes like drawing-room soda in late-afternoon light. The author leaves his mark on your inner ear in a way that is ‘very English, informal, unostentatious’ – and as authentic as jam tarts.”

Norman Lebrecht, The New Statesman

“A compelling novel both in its evocation of a time and an artistic moment … It recalls one of the greatest and saddest novels of the period, Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier and follows the tradition of great novels of imaginary music. Stace mentions Thomas Mann’s Leverkuhn as though he were as real as Peter Warlock or Percy Grainger, in what is clearly a gracious homage to all such novels about music.”

Roz Kaveney, Times Literary Supplement

“An entertainment of unusual class and penetration. And the tunes are great. Quick-witted and clever… The dialogue crackles with period energy from the book’s opening scenes to the later passages in which critic fence in Powellian witticisms. Stace’s research and detail are dense and involving, but it is Shepherd’s informed, wry, observant delivery that clinches the novel. Gloriously prolix and chatty.”

Tim Martin, The Daily Telegraph

“Simply put, but devilishly hard to achieve, a successful novel is one that lingers in the mind as fact. Put through their hoops, its characters acquire that plausibility which can have readers continuing the childhood habit of creating new adventures for them. With his third novel, Wesley Stace again turns a variant on all this – so much so that, for a moment, at the first performance of Britten’s opera Peter Grimes, one finds oneself wondering whether the composer had copped some of that landmark music from Charles Jessold, whose work had been eclipsed by a fatal 1920s love triangle… Stace’s artistry makes our language a continual surprise.”

Christopher Hawtree, The Independent

“Witty, erudite and a must for anyone with an interest in music.”

Clare Colvin, The Daily Mail

“An intelligent, fun and thoughtful piece of fiction. Bristles along at a great lick… reminiscent of P. G. Wodehouse. Stace’s dialogue is spot-on.”

Doug Johnstone, The Independent on Sunday

“An extraordinary book… Gripping and fabulously written.”

Jessica Duchen, Standpoint

“A novel to be savoured, especially in this season of prom concerts, by anyone seeking absorbing holiday reading.”

Mary Lucille Hindmarsh, The Oxford Times