Cynthia Masters, a brilliant detective and main character in The Orchestra Murders,is interviewed by the author, Rena Fruchter
Philadelphia, February 3, 2013
RENA: Cynthia, it’s a while since we’ve spoken. I’m wondering how you have been since solving the crimes in The Orchestra Murders. I’m sure your life has been very busy, but if you wouldn’t mind, I know that some of my readers would like to know how you are doing.
CYNTHIA: Thanks, Rena. It’s nice to hear from you. As you know, a lot happened to me in a short period of time, and some of it I can’t really share openly, as it takes place toward the end of the book. I’m guessing your readers wouldn’t appreciate the “spoiler,” if you know what I mean.
RENA: Okay, maybe we should focus on some things that won’t give away the story! There will be a new book about some cases that have taken place more recently, but let’s look first at how your new ‘fame’ has affected you. Less than a year ago, nobody outside of Philadelphia had heard of Cynthia Masters. That has all changed.
CYNTHIA: I see what you are getting at, Rena. It’s a complex issue. I need to be able to do my job as a detective in the Philadelphia Police Force, and not think too much about how I’m viewed by the public. Of course it’s rewarding that I’ve gained a lot of respect for doing my job well, but that’s not my mission. I need to make this city the safest place it can be. That’s not always easy, and it takes all of my concentration. I’ve been asked to do a lot of interviews, of course, but I can’t let this go to my head. I can’t start obsessing on how my hair looks and whether my makeup is right for the camera. In granting this interview, I’ve made an exception for you, but generally I try not to interact too much with the media.
RENA: Cynthia, you’ve always been so down-to-earth—at least as long as I’ve known you. Were you ever any other way?
CYNTHIA: Well, Rena, you know my background. I grew up in a very unassuming family, where the focus was on getting an excellent education and trying to be a good and caring citizen. I have my mom to thank for that. She was so devoted to me and to my sisters when we were growing up.
I was determined to go to law school, and lucky enough to get into Harvard—luck and a lot of hard work, I should add. I think my background and education made me practical and down-to-earth, but I was also blessed with a logical and rational mind. Nobody can do this job without having feet planted firmly on the ground.
RENA: In solving the brutal series of crimes in The Orchestra Murders, you had to be around a lot of classical music, which I know isn’t your favorite. Your boyfriend Carl, however, is a real fan of classical music. Did he help you? Did you change your view of classical music at all?
CYNTHIA: Another interesting question. Even though my mother exposed me to a lot of music, including classical music, it never really ‘stuck.’ I’m not sure why. Maybe I just didn’t understand it well enough, or didn’t give it enough time and effort. Carl helped a lot, and when I had to go to concerts while working to solve the crimes, he came with me. I wanted to enjoy the concerts more for his sake, as well, and for our relationship. My job is so high-pressure and I’m never able to give Carl enough of my time. I’m still working on this. Actually, since the book finished, we have gone to a number of concerts together, and even to see a couple of operas. Hard at first—they can be so long, and if you don’t at least prepare by learning the story, you can be lost. If I ever have children (not in the plans right now) I would want them to have a broad education that includes all types of music.
RENA: Do you have any advice for young women interested in following in your footsteps? Would you ever act as a mentor?
CYNTHIA: Yes, I think it’s important for me to be a mentor, and I have done that with troubled teens, although not yet with a candidate for the police department. There’s room for more qualified young women to be in leadership positions. A lot of stereotypes to shake, though, as this has traditionally been a man’s world. I see it slowly changing, and I’m doing my part to help.
RENA: Do you have trouble with your male colleagues respecting your authority?
CYNTHIA: Generally, no, but in a few cases it has been an uphill battle, and I have to find sensitive ways of handling certain situations. I don’t want my male colleagues to think of me as pushy and domineering, but as you know, it has to be a careful balancing act! I’ve actually had more trouble with some of my female colleagues being jealous of my position.
RENA: What can you tell me about the sequel to The Orchestra Murders? I’ve heard you have been very busy with a new and notorious crime spree in the city.
CYNTHIA: I can’t possibly tell you much—yet. But I can tell you that I, and at least one other character from the last book, will be back in the next one!
RENA: Well, Cynthia, thank you very much. It has been a pleasure speaking with you, and I look forward to working with you again in the future.
CYNTHIA: My pleasure, Rena. Glad to help.
Superstar conductor Sir Gregory Langhorne and his globe-trotting, violin-soloist son Jonathan Langhorne are the best of friends—until a brutal murder shatters their lives and Jonathan becomes the prime suspect.
Six years later, Sir Gregory is now the music director of the world famous Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and has finally reconciled with his son Jonathan, just as members of the orchestra are being killed off one by one.
The challenge for brilliant young hotshot Philadelphia Detective Cynthia Masters is to solve not only the orchestra murders, but the question of why murder seems to follow the Langhornes. Has Masters finally met her match—a case that cannot be solved? Set in London and Philadelphia, this dramatic story of murder, infidelity, and the abuse of money and power establishes Cynthia Masters as a world-class detective in this thrilling and unusual mystery.
Rena Fruchter is the author of three books—two critically acclaimed books in the biographical genre—Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, and I’m Chevy Chase…and you’re not. And now, her exciting and soon to be released book: The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery.
Ms. Fruchter is a renowned pianist, writer and educator, and director of an arts organization. Her performances have taken her throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and the Far East in both solo and ensemble appearances. She made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of six, performing the Haydn Piano Concerto in D Major. Appearances with other orchestras and on radio and television followed. At age eleven, she gave her first performance with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler at the Esplanade, later returning to perform the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall.
For twelve years, Rena Fruchter was a music columnist for the New York Times. She was also a music critic and an arts commentator for New Jersey Public Television, the London Music Correspondent for the Boston Herald and a contributor to many other publications. Her radio interview series, “Backstage Portraits,” was broadcast throughout the United States.
A graduate of Brandeis University, Rena also holds degrees in both piano performance and pedagogy from the Royal College of Music in London, England, where she studied with Louis Kentner and Lamar Crowson. She also studied with two distinguished Nadias–Nadia Boulanger in France and Nadia Reisenberg in New York.
Rena is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Music For All Seasons, an organization that presents musical programs for people confined in institutions including hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and special facilities for children. The organization also runs “Voices of Valor,” which provides workshops for veterans to write and record their own songs. The organization was co-founded by Rena and her husband, Brian Dallow. Dudley Moore was the Founding Advisory Board President of Music For All Seasons, which is now in its 21st year.
Rena is CEO of Martine Avenue Productions, a company co-created with Dudley Moore to bring his musical works to the public. The company has produced seven CDs, the latest, the two-CD set Dudley Down Under—unabridged, the complete live Dudley Moore Trio concert at Sydney Town Hall (Australia) on May 2, 1978. This CD is produced in honor of Dudley on the tenth anniversary of his death.
The company donates a portion of its proceeds to two charities designated by Dudley—the international research fund of the US-based “Cure PSP” and “Music For All Seasons, Inc.”
With long-time friend and colleague Dudley Moore, Rena toured the United States and Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East in two-piano performances.
Rena Fruchter is the author of the critically acclaimed book Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, published in 2004 by Ebury/Random House/UK and subsequently published in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Her popular book I’m Chevy Chase…And You’re Not, an innovative biography presenting the American comedy icon in a fascinating and revealing look at his life and work, was published in the UK and US. The only authorized biography of Chevy Chase, it provides a comprehensive view of the brilliant and complex actor, comedian and writer.
Her new book has just been published and is called The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery.
Rena is married to Brian Dallow, and they are the parents of four adult children, including a set of triplets. They live in New Jersey.
Join Rena Fruchter, author of the crime fiction novel, The Orchestra Murders, as she tours the blogosphere February 4 – February 28,2013 on her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!
Next Few Stops
Tuesday, February 5
Character Interview at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Wednesday, February 6
Guest blogging at Bookingly Yours
Friday, February 8
Guest blogging at Confessions of a Reader
Book spotlight at Melina’s Book Blog