27 January, 2021

Read an #Excerpt from Staged for Murder by Erica Miner - #Mystery #WomenSleuths @EmwrtrErica


"Throughout the novel, Ms. Miner gives us a unique tour of the War Memorial Opera House, letting us in on the secrets, legends and gossip of both this venerable building and one of its most important occupants, the San Francisco Opera. She shares so many details that only a true insider can know, bringing the building to life and making it an essential character and source of enigma in this exceptionally well-crafted mystery."
~ John Boatwright, San Francisco Opera House Head

Staged for Murder chronicles the further adventures of Metropolitan Opera violinist Julia Kogan.

Having survived murderous mayhem in previous novels at both the Met and Santa Fe Opera, Julia heads to the San Francisco Opera with her significant other, former NYPD detective Larry Somers, and their five-year-old daughter Rachel. Amidst the fiery artistic temperaments, inevitable ego-driven conflicts and emotionally fraught tensions that Julia has discovered are inherent in the art form, the stage is indeed set for murder. But can she leave murder behind? Or rather, will murder fail to follow her?

Book Trivia

This third novel in my "Opera Mystery" series was challenging from the perspective of researching the rich history of San Francisco Opera and trying to learn about every inch of the venerable War Memorial Opera House. It was also a complete joy to write about this fantastic city and prestigious company, where I have a long family history, and to visit the various haunts that served as the locales for the story.

This sequel was different from the previous novels in the series. "Murder in the Pit" took place at the Met Opera, where I was a violinist for 21 years; I based that book on my own experiences at the Met, so it wasn’t as much of a stretch as “Death by Opera”, where I had to familiarize myself with the Santa Fe Opera for the first time in order to do research. “Staged for Murder” involved drawing on my previous history with the City by the Bay, but also necessitated learning details from San Francisco Opera company members about what it’s like to perform there. In all three, I think I created an authentic atmosphere and rich characters based on this intriguing world of opera.

Read an Excerpt from Staged for Murder

THEY WERE CROSSING THE STREET NOW. He could see them, so involved in their opera talk that they weren’t paying attention.


Everyone knew that the corner of Franklin and McAllister, the nearest main crossing to the stage “door of San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, was one of the busiest in the entire Civic Center district; especially at twilight, when people were leaving work. Once the gilded California light began to wane, it was sometimes hard to see where one was going—or to perceive what and who might be in the immediate vicinity.

Performers from the Opera could not avoid crossing that intersection multiple times, day and night. Pedestrian accidents were not that common there, but they did happen.

Common enough.

With the driver’s seat window open, he could hear fragments of their conversation. How he despised that voice; the voice of an operatic tenor who was so arrogant, so full of himself, that he strode about the stage as if he owned it; that he looked down on anyone who wasn’t an opera star like himself.

Especially me.

Andres the tenor spoke as he sang: as if he were telling the world that he, Andres, was the gods’ gift to opera. He strutted around, owning, claiming the stage—and every other opera stage in the world—for himself.

He doesn’t deserve to be a star. Maestro Merola, our sainted founder, would never have put up with such egregious affectation.

But Maestro Merola had been taken from the company much too soon.

The Maestro was a saint—a saint who didn’t deserve to die before his time.

He wiped away a tear. Then, remembering the afternoon’s rehearsal, he clenched his teeth. The repulsive behavior Andres exhibited that day proved he had not changed one whit since his previous engagement years ago with the company. Arguing with the stage director, the conductor. He still spoke as if he existed in some lofty echelon miles above everyone else, in some kind of Valhalla of his own making.

That bastard. The world will be a better place without him.

The traffic signal changed to yellow, and he could see that Andres and Ben were only halfway across the intersection.


Their light turned red, and his turned green. It was time. Bearing down on the accelerator he hugged the right lane, trying to aim for Andres without hitting Ben. He had no gripe with Ben, but if he became collateral damage, well…

It would be a shame. But sometimes sacrifices must be made for the greater good: getting rid of Andres once and for all.

The impact was swift and hard. He felt the thud of metal striking skin and muscle and bone. He didn’t look back, just raced through the intersection, weaving through cars, heading straight north on Franklin. He wasn’t concerned about onlookers looking up Franklin in his direction. The street’s incline was relatively steep around Opera Plaza, and he knew any potential witnesses would not be able to see much further ahead. Once he cleared their line of vision, he would be out of sight.

Bristling with tension, he wiped one clammy palm, then the other, on his jacket. He quickly glanced around. No one seemed to be following him, and traffic ahead was light, as he had hoped. He could slow down and act normal.

He was home free.

Would the “accident” be featured on KTVU Evening News? In the headlines, tomorrow morning?

He relished the thought that when he returned to the opera house the next day, voices would be buzzing with theories about who could possibly have wanted to harm Andres Aaberg, the great Wagnerian tenor.

Who indeed?

Former Metropolitan Opera violinist Erica Miner is an award-winning author, screenwriter, journalist and lecturer, who actively contributes to major arts websites and magazines. Her debut novel, Travels with my Lovers, won the Fiction Prize in the Direct from the Author Book Awards. The first two novels in her “Opera Mystery” series published by Twilight Times Books, Murder in the Pit and Death By Opera, chronicle assassination and intrigue at the Met Opera and Santa Fe Opera. The third novel in the series, Staged for Murder, which takes place at San Francisco Opera, was released in October 2020. Erica’s “Opera Mystery” novel series, based on her own experience as a longtime violinist at the Met, allows a candid glimpse at this eccentric art form’s inner world.

As an opera expert, Erica is a regular presenter for the Seattle Symphony, Osher Lifelong Living Institute at University of Washington and University of California San Diego, Creative Retirement Institute at Edmonds College (Seattle area) and Wagner Societies on both coasts, among many other venues.

Erica on the Web:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Goodreads * Amazon


  1. Many thanks to Debdatta for this fabulous posting!

  2. Many thanks to Debdatta for this fabulous posting!