When the assistant manager of a hardware store in rural New Jersey shows up at the offices of Cubbage & Wakeham, an elite New York auction house, with a worn musical manuscript he hopes to sell for a small (or perhaps hefty) fortune, he is greeted with subdued snickers—and not surprisingly. The title page of the document reads, “William Tell: A Dramatic Symphony” and is signed “Ludwig van Beethoven.” The bearer of the composition claims he recently came upon it in an old attic trunk while cleaning out his lately deceased grandfather’s home in Zurich; several accompanying documents suggest the work was written there during the summer of 1814.
Since virtually all lovers of classical music—and many others who can’t tell Stravinsky from Springsteen—know that Beethoven wrote nine sublime symphonies, and so evidence of a new-found tenth one by the supreme master of that musical form sets off an instant international uproar. Is the seemingly miraculous discovery the genuine article or an ingenious hoax?
To solve the tantalizing puzzle before placing the manuscript on the auction block at risk of becoming a global laughingstock, Cubbage & Wakeham’s management organizes a team of intensely skeptical investigators, among them the world’s top Beethoven scholars and forensic experts, all of them out to prove the find a fraud. But as evidence to the contrary begins to pile up, tensions rise among the corps of authenticators, the financial stakes soar as would-be exploiters of the symphony gather, the governments of five nations seek to claim the work as a national treasure, and the mystery artfully spun by novelist Richard Kluger deepens by the day.
Among the beguiling questions that demand answers:
The answers—and a cast of feisty characters with conflicting stakes in the quest—make Beethoven’s Tenth a deftly twisty and challenging detective novel, enriched by the prodigious research of author Kluger, a Pulitzer Prize-winning social historian.
“For any who love Ludwig von Beethoven’s music, this novel is a must for its biography. For everyone else, it’s a great mystery story set against a background of actual history.”
―New York Journal of Books
“Imaginative and informative, Beethoven’s Tenth makes for a fine read for both music lovers and fans of creative sleuthing.”
―Leonard Slatkin, Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, formerly Director of the Otchestre National de Lyon
“A wonderful mystery…Kluger succeeds admirably in both making the possibility of a tenth Beethoven symphony seem probable and undermining it throughout the authentication process undertaken by those planning to profit from it. A true tour de force―readable, clever, erudite, and with a tantalizing ending.”
―Robert P. Morgan, Professor Emeritus of Music, Yale University, and author of Twentieth-Century Music: A History of Musical Style in Modern Europe and America
“I must admit that Richard Kluger’s enterprise sounded a bit preposterous to me, but the way he handles all the musicological objections is very deft. He has certainly done his homework, musically speaking―the information Kluger dishes out about Beethoven himself rings true; nary a false note here. His writing is compelling to read, and it’s a lot of fun to be swept along by his smart and savvy characters."
―Benjamin Simon, Music Director, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra
“This wonderful yarn is a page turner with all the ingredients of the most intelligent and entertaining mysteries―engaging characters, plot twists varied locales, behind-the-scenes glimpses of the auction business, and lessons in music history, forensics, and the law. I loved it.”
―Susan Forscher Weiss, Professor of Musicology, The Peabody Conservatory, Johns Hopkins University and coeditor of I Concentrate on You: A Cole Porter Companion
Praise for Indelible Ink
“[Kluger] brings...vivid storytelling built on exacting research, a knack for animating the context and an exquisite sense of balance that honors this country’s essential press freedom without romanticizing its champions.”
―Bill Keller, The New York Times Book Review
“Celebrates the power of free expression….a comprehensive tribute to Zenger’s legal battle against censorship and reprisal.”
―Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
“Event by compelling event, readers follow Zenger through the drama that eventually landed him in jail on libel charges―before a liberty-loving jury freed him with a 1735 verdict signaling a clear American commitment to the unfettered reporting that can check abuse of power. The much-needed prologue to today’s headlines.”
―Starred Review, Booklist
“Kluger raises important questions still resonating today….This thought-provoking account deserves to be read by everyone.”
―Starred Review, Library Journal
“Enlightening and frightening…. A book of American history for all, but lawyers and journalists will especially appreciate it.”
Praise for Seizing Destiny
“A detailed and compelling portrait. . . . It will force you to think about how America was made, and why.”
―The Boston Globe
“Comprehensive and sweeping. . . . Fascinating. . . . Kluger is a skilled and passionate storyteller.”
“Epic. . . . Brilliant. . . . Kluger limns colorful pen portraits of heroes and knaves both familiar and forgotten.”
―The Plain Dealer
“A well-crafted and readable narrative of this often sordid, sometimes forgotten side of the American past.”
―The Washington Post Book World
“One of the most important books published in our American times. . . . A major accomplishment.”
“Extraordinary. . . . An outstanding piece of legal and social history.”
“A thought-provoking work that should become part of the standard literature on race relations.”
―The New York Times Book Review
“The definitive account, to date, of the struggle for black equality in America. . . . A monumental accomplishment.
“This huge, fascinating book . . . classic in its clarity and dimensions . . . should become part of our nation’s scriptures."
“A brilliant and powerful book.”
―Bob Herbert, The New York Times
“A gripping story . . . epic history.”
―Los Angeles Times
“A remarkable act of scholarship. . . . A book about values. . . . Its reader should be prepared to be moved."
―The Atlantic Monthly
“A noble study, written in the grand manner.”
―Geoffrey Wolff, Newsday
“A masterful storyteller. . . . Kluger finds heroes all along the way. . . . Embellished with captivating anecdotes . . . [and] engrossing character vignettes.”
―St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“An exciting story of an American happening as important as the Revolution itself. . . . Superb narrative history.”
―Kansas City Star