• Sahar Abdulaziz, MS

BOOK REVIEW: The Case of The Toxic Tenor by author Susan Moore Jordan

The Case of The Toxic Tenor

by author Susan Moore Jordan captures you from the Prologue.

1964: The scene is set. The curtains open. Augusta McKee, ‘singer, professor, and amateur sleuth’ takes her seat with other cast members at the Cincinnati Music Hall, waiting for the final scene, Bizet’s Carmen, to be performed. Out walks the enchanting Carmen…the Tenor, Don José…The audience remains silent, fervently waiting. Any second now…any second now…and Pow!The story begins. Murder and mayhem once again, grace the operatic stage, as Augusta and her beau, Homicide Detective Malcolm Mitchell band together to unravel the next mystery and capture a killer.

I adore cozy murder mysteries. They’re comfy, fun, and allow the reader to suspend real life and swap it in for a taste of the fantastical worlds for those with a keen mind to unpuzzle. This novel delivers clever clues, cunning red herrings, and picturesque settings emboldened by musical charm. I refuse to give away the plot but will admit, I have relished watching the romantic relationship between Augusta and Malcolm develop throughout the series. In this story, we get to see a side of Augusta she typically doesn’t let show, when the desirable, gorgeous Sachiko comes near ‘her detective.’

The Case of The Toxic Tenor [love the title] is Moore’s third mystery in the series; however, each book is adeptly written as a standalone––not that you would ever want to miss any of her others. As an Augusta McKee fan, I can’t wait for the next mystery to unfold.


Cincinnati, May 1964: When a world-famous tenor collapses on the stage of Cincinnati’s Music Hall during a May Festival performance of the opera "Carmen" and dies on the way to the hospital, foul play is suspected. The victim had collected more than his fair share of enemies, but who could have hated him enough to want him dead? As a member of the cast, the always elegant, stiletto-shod Augusta McKee, singer/professor/amateur sleuth, is onstage and witnesses the tragedy up close and personal. However, when her beau, charismatic Homicide Detective Malcolm Mitchell, becomes lead investigator, Augusta offers her assistance, convinced that her contacts in “Opera World” will provide valuable insight as Malcolm searches for answers. Somewhat reluctantly, he agrees—and the pair unofficially join forces to track down a killer.With a murderer on the loose and a show that must still go on, time is of the essence in this thrilling, heart-stopping, third “Augusta McKee Mystery.”

The Case of the Toxic Tenor (Augusta McKee Mystery Series) Learn more:


When Susan Moore Jordan was a high school student in the mid nineteen-fifties in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a close friend went through a shattering event just as she was preparing to audition for the high school’s annual musical. Decades later Jordan used that experience of tragedy to triumph to write her first novel, How I Grew Up, in 2013. Two additional novels followed: Eli’s Heart in 2014 and You Are My Song in 2015, completing “The Carousel Trilogy.” A fourth novel, Jamie’s Children, was released in July, 2016. Memories of Jake, the first book in a two-part series set in the Vietnam War era, was released in March, 2017, followed by Man with No Yesterdays in November, 2017. All of Jordan's novels are drawn from her life experiences as a voice teacher and stage director and are inspired by real people she has encountered.In May, 2018, Susan Jordan added the genre "cozy mystery" to her novels when she released "The Case of the Slain Soprano." In November of 2018 the second book in the "Augusta McKee mystery series" was released: "The Case of the Disappearing Director."Jordan attended the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati and moved to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania in 1971 with her late husband and three young children, where she established a private voice studio in 1979. Her students have gone on to leading schools of music and opera or musical theater companies around the world. Beginning in 1984, Jordan directed some eighty local community and high school musical theater productions. She retired from directing in 2015 after over thirty years and wrote about her adventures in “More Fog, Please”: Thirty-One Years Directing Community and High School Musicals, released in November, 2015. All of her books are available on Amazon in paperback, and the novels are also available as Kindle editions. Paperback copies of Jordan’s books can be purchased locally at the Pocono Cinema and Community Center in East Stroudsburg whenever the theater is open.On Feb. 2, 2018, "The Case of the Slain Soprano" was named a finalist in the 2018 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards in the category "Books for Adults (fiction)."

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