Episode 45: Nupur Tustin

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The faint breeze from the open window carried the sound of the Burgermeister's rich baritone singing the arpeggios Haydn had assigned him: "Do Mi So Mi Do." In the distance, he could hear the soft, melodious strains of the barber-surgeon's violin. Even the most unmusical of the townspeople was able to take simple directions without argument, but Barto... A loud outburst reverberated through the hallway beyond the Music Room. Haydn was on his feet in an instant. God in Heaven! Whatever was the matter now? Could Barto get along with no one? He rushed into the Rehearsal Room, aghast to see chairs lying overturned before him and violin cases strewn all over the blue and gold patterned marble floor... -- Nupur Tustin, A Minor Deception I'm so excited to be chatting with Nupur Tustin about her debut novel, the first in a series of cozy historical mysteries. A Minor Deception features none other than composer Joseph Haydn as her amateur sleuth. I had never really thought about the subgenre of biographical mysteries, and the idea of being part of the conversation surrounding real, historical people until our conversation. Nupur reminded me of Susan Wittig Albert's Beatrix Potter series, Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen mysteries, and Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding mystery series. She wanted to expand the conversation out of England, and into both the rest of Europe and the field of music. Haydn was the perfect choice. Nupur's light touch with history has also been compared to Emily Brightwell's wonderful Mrs. Jeffries Victorian mystery series. In a review, Emily calls A Minor Deception "elegantly written and plotted," and Nupur returns the favor, citing Emily as a big influence and comparing her to Agatha Christie. On a related note, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily here if you'd like to listen to our chat. Finally, Nupur writes a column called Agent Insight to help other writers on their road to publication. Writers out there, she also gives a shout out to the online Guppies chapter of Sisters in Crime. Writer or reader, you can keep up with Nupur on her website, Goodreads, and Facebook page, and subscribe to her newsletter -- which earns you a free Haydn short story! -- right here. As always, if you'd rather read than listen, here is the transcript. Enjoy! Laura Transcript of Interview with Nupur Tustin Laura Brennan: Journalist and composer Nupur Tustin combines her love of music and her way with words to create the Joseph Haydn Mystery Series. Her first novel, A Minor Deception, a blend of historical and cozy, finds Kapellmeister Joseph Haydn on the trail of a thieving violinist, as mystery, politics and danger swirl around him. Nupur, thank you for joining me. Nupur Tustin: Thank you, Laura. Thank you for having me. LB: Joseph Haydn doesn’t immediately spring to mind as a likely amateur detective. How did you first discover him? NT: Yes, I've heard that from a lot of people. You know, why Joseph Haydn? I suppose it was because I was reading biographical mysteries at the time. I'd just become a mother. It hadn't been a difficult pregnancy as such, but I'd had four miscarriages before that so I was told to take it easy. And so that just meant that I couldn't do very much, I was restricted to the bedroom, I couldn't play my piano, and I was reading Susan Wittig Albert's Beatrix Potter novels. And I remember reading the author's note, and she talks about the considerable research that she's done on the series, having read about Beatrix Potter for about 10 years, and I thought, well, I could do that. I had just come out of the PhD program and research is in my blood. And I thought, this sounds like fun. I can do that. It's like writing a research paper, but you're writing fiction and you're kind of adding to the conversation. The conversation being biographical mystery series -- Stephanie Barron's Jane Austen series for instance, Bruce Alexander's Sir John Fielding mysteries.

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