Death By Opera

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A photo of Erica Miner

ISBN: 978-1-60619-130-9
Publisher: Twilight Times Books

In this sequel to 'Murder in the Pit,' young Metropolitan Opera violinist Julia Kogan and her cohort, NYPD detective Larry Somers, find themselves once more in operatic turmoil, as they head to Santa Fe Opera for a summer of murder and mayhem behind the scenes of this prestigious opera festival.


Julia heard a high-pitched, heavily Italian-accented voice emanating from the wings and looked up to see a tall, dark-haired woman flounce onto the stage, followed by a disheveled man wearing glasses carrying a large book and a second, equally unkempt man waving his arms.

“Ma…quello direttore sa niente,” the woman complained to the bespectacled man, waving toward the second man.

Matt leaned over and whispered to Julia. “That guy with the book is the stage manager, Harold. The other one is the director, Salman Kipinsky. And in case you didn’t know, the screaming lady is none other than Emilia Tosti, Italian soprano from hell. Who else could get away with telling the director he knows nothing?”

Julia watched, horrified, as the bloody violence unfolded onstage. She knew the singers were just acting, and the scenario was only make-believe; but the sheer awfulness of what she was seeing was so realistically portrayed, she couldn’t keep her jaw from dropping.

“Pretty heavy duty, isn’t it?” Matt asked.

“I…I just can’t take my eyes off the action,” she said, but seeing Stewart’s disapproving glare she tore her eyes away from the stage and back to the music before her.

Meanwhile, Emilia had come back to life and strode onto the stage to confront Salman. “It is not most effective staging. Murder must be onstage.”

Salman finally lost his patience. “It’s the way John Crosby conceived it,” he growled. “Take it up with him.”

“But John Crosby is dead.”

“Precisely,” said Salman.

“Oh!” cried Emilia, her expression outraged. “You are…bischero! Idiot!” Fuming, she marched off stage.

“That attitude will make you even more enemies than you already have, Emilia!” he shouted.

Turning on his heel, he stomped offstage in the opposite direction.

“Harold,” Stewart called out, “Tell Emilia if she shows up to the dress rehearsal less than five minutes before downbeat, she will be replaced.”

Harold just stood rooted to the stage, his expression helpless.


Violinist turned author ERICA MINER has had a multi-faceted career as an award-winning author, screenwriter, journalist and lecturer. A native of Detroit, she studied violin with Boston Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Joseph Silverstein at Boston University where she graduated cum laude; the New England Conservatory of Music; and the Tanglewood Music Center, summer home of the Boston Symphony, where she performed with such celebrated conductors as Leonard Bernstein and Erich Leinsdorf. Erica went on to perform with the prestigious Metropolitan Opera Company for twenty-one years, where she worked closely with renowned maestro James Levine.

When injuries from a car accident spelled the end of her musical career, Erica drew upon her lifelong love of writing for inspiration and studied screenwriting in New York and Los Angeles with script gurus Linda Seger and Ken Rotcop. Erica’s screenplays have won awards in a number of recognized competitions such as WinFemme, Santa Fe and the Writer’s Digest.

Inspired by journals she wrote during her travel adventures abroad, Erica penned the novel and screenplay of Travels With My Lovers, winner of the Fiction Prize in the Direct from the Author Book Awards. She also has written the feature screenplay and TV Series Bible for FourEver Friends, the first in her journal-based novel series chronicling four teenage girls' coming of age in Detroit in the volatile 1960s, as well as subsequent novel in the series, which are set in Boston and New York. In addition, Erica has written the screenplay of her suspense novel Murder In The Pit, published by Twilight Times Books, which takes place at the Met Opera. Death by Opera, the sequel to this highly successful thriller, was released by the same publisher on May 15, 2018. Another sequel is in the works.

Erica's lectures, seminars and workshops on writing and on opera have received kudos in venues across the West Coast, including the Wagner Societies of New York, Los Angeles, San Diego and Northern California; and on the High Seas, where she was named a top-rated speaker for both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise Lines. Her many topics range from "The Art of Self Re-Invention" to "Journaling for Writers: Mining the Gold of Your Own Experiences”, "Wagner and Bernstein: Parallels and Contrasts" and "Opera Meets Hollywood."

Erica presents regularly for the Osher Lifelong Living Institute at the University of California, San Diego, and in the Seattle area at the Creative Retirement Institute at Edmonds Community College.

Now a well recognized reviewer for Seattle Opera and San Diego Opera, as well as San Diego Symphony, Seattle Symphony and Pacific Northwest Ballet, Erica is a regular contributor of articles, reviews and interviews to:
- BroadwayWorld BroadwayWorld Articles
- Bachtrack Bachtrack Articles
- LAOpus LAOpus Articles
- Articles
- FINE Magazine

Erica's writings also have appeared in Leitmotive, the magazine of the Wagner Society of Northern California, Italian American Magazine, San Diego Jewish Journal, Del Mar Lifestyle, Opera+ St. Petersburg Music & Art Magazine, Vision Magazine, WORD San Diego, Istanbul Our City, and numerous E-zines.


May 2018
Edmonds, WA

DEATH BY OPERA: murder and mayhem at the Santa Fe Opera

Having survived her entanglement in a murder plot at the Metropolitan Opera, young violinist Julia Kogan finds further operatic turmoil at the Santa Fe Opera. In this sequel to Murder In The Pit, Julia and her cohort NYPD detective Larry Somers head to the Santa Fe Opera House, where numerous musicians from the Met Opera perform each summer. Against the breathtaking backdrop of the mystical Sangre de Cristo and Jemez Mountains, where Pueblo Indian spirituality has reigned for a thousand years, and the dramatic, sweeping setting of the elegant contemporary outdoor Santa Fe Opera Theatre, chaos ensues, as murderous activities plague the performers on stage and off.

Once again, Julia becomes embroiled in a behind-the-scenes investigation as, faced with a murderer on the loose who threatens the sanctity of the prestigious opera company, she and Larry are compelled to join forces to stop the menace from wreaking further havoc. But the wholly unfamiliar setting, intimidating in its vastness, creates difficulties and dangers Julia never could have anticipated.

There is “no better place to see opera during the summer than Santa Fe,” says the Huffington Post. Opera aficionados will be drawn to the story and its setting. References to famous opera singers in tandem with intriguing, newly created fictional ones will evoke images of the uniquely glamorous opera world. Death By Opera will appeal to opera fans and readers fascinated by the folklore and captivating historical background of New Mexico, from the Pueblo Indians to the Manhattan Project.

“Erica Miner is the Agatha Christie of the opera world. More than a romp for opera buffs, Death by Opera is a wickedly wonderful, fast-paced thriller: a historically informative and illuminating “whodunit” interweaving ancient legends, ghost stories and present-day jealousies into a murder mystery of taut suspense playing out at Santa Fe’s world-renowned summer opera festival." ~ Richard Stilwell, Metropolitan Opera baritone


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