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The basis for the movie of the same name, an astonishing tale of one lock of hair and its amazing travels--from nineteenth-century Vienna to twenty-first-century America.When Ludwig van Beethoven lay dying in 1827, a young musician named Ferdinand Hiller came to pay his respects to the great composer, snipping a lock of Beethoven's hair as a keepsake--as was custom at theThe basis for the movie of the same name, an astonishing tale of one lock of hair and its amazing travels--from nineteenth-century Vienna to twenty-first-century America.When Ludwig van Beethoven lay dying in 1827, a young musician named Ferdinand Hiller came to pay his respects to the great composer, snipping a lock of Beethoven's hair as a keepsake--as was custom at the time--in the process. For a century, the lock of hair was a treasured Hiller family relic, until it somehow found its way to the town of Gilleleje, in Nazi-occupied Denmark. There, it was given to a local doctor, Kay Fremming, who was deeply involved in the effort to help save hundreds of hunted and frightened Jews.After Fremming's death, his daughter assumed ownership of the lock, and eventually consigned it for sale at Sotheby's, where two American Beethoven enthusiasts, Ira Brilliant and Che Guevara, purchased it in 1994. Subsequently, they and others instituted a series of complex forensic tests in the hope of finding the probable causes of the composer's chronically bad health, his deafness, and the final demise that Ferdinand Hiller had witnessed all those years ago. The results, revealed for the first time here, are the most compelling explanation yet offered for why one of the foremost musicians the world has ever known was forced to spend much of his life in silence.In Beethoven's Hair, Russell Martin has created a rich historical treasure hunt, a tale of false leads, amazing breakthroughs, and incredible revelations. This unique and fascinating book is a moving testament to the power of music, the lure of relics, the heroism of the Resistance movement, and the brilliance of molecular science....

Title : Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved
Author :
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ISBN : 9780767903516
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 275 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Beethoven's Hair: An Extraordinary Historical Odyssey and a Scientific Mystery Solved Reviews

  • La TonyaJordan
    2019-02-26 06:11

    Ludwig Van Beethoven lay dying in 1827 and a young inspiring composer Ferdinand Hiller snip a lock of his hair as keepsake which was the custom of the day. How this lock of hair traveled through the centuries of 1827 Vienna to be auctioned and sold on December 2, 1994 by Sotheby's auction house in London, England is a mystery? The book takes the reader thru Vienna, Denmark, Cologne, the sea port city of Gilleleje, and countless interviews to piece together this mystery. At times the book reads like a textbook of historically facts and at other times it reads like a mystery novel of "who-did-it". For Beethoven's enthusiast and classically music lovers, it opens you to more information about his life, tribulations, medical illnesses, and closer to his musical genius. Over his lifetime Beethoven created 138 singular and extraordinary compositions to which he attached opus numbers, and two hundred more songs, canons, and dances he considered lesser works. May the magic of Beethoven live on. Quote:... at his bedside, a bright flash of lightening followed by a house-rattling clap of thunder roused him momentarily. He opened his eyes, raised his right hand and clenched it into a fist as if to spurn the sky's command, then his hand fell back to the bed. Ludwig van Beethoven was dead.

  • kingshearte
    2019-03-04 11:32

    Although this book had an interesting story to tell, I had some issues with the way Martin chose to tell it.For starters, the structure of the book was a little off-putting. He alternated chapters concerning the journey and fate of the hair with chapters about Beethoven's life, and I found that kind of jarring, somehow. I also found that he repeated himself a lot, and went into greater detail about seemingly minor incidents than felt necessary. Frankly, a lot of it felt like filler. This book could easily have been half the length, or perhaps just a feature article in a decent magazine.One such example is the whole Gilleleje story. Denmark and its people were truly heroic during WWII, I will acknowledge. The story of how, as a country, they accepted Nazi rule up to a point, but when the line was crossed, pretty much unanimously stood up and said "No way. Not cool," and proceeded to help get hundreds of Jews out of the country to safety in Sweden is remarkable and really inspiring. It's the kind of story that helps restore your faith in humanity after so much else in the world shatters it, and I'm glad to have been made more aware of it. However, I think it was given more importance in this story than it really needed. I was particularly vexed by the oft-repeated notion that the lock played some kind of key role in the Gilleleje escape. Yes, it somehow made its way there, and once there, was given to the doctor, but to say that it played a significant role almost implies that Dr. Fremming wouldn't have helped otherwise, or maybe even would have deliberately hindered, and I just don't think that's true. He was there, he was helping, and someone happened to give him this thing. I understand that it's a step in the hair's journey, and that understanding that step would be very interesting to those directly involved with the hair, but I feel like it was given more importance than it really merited, simply because it's a mystery.And finally, I found his writing style odd. For one thing, he seemed to feel it was necessary in the "history of the hair" chapters to use the pluperfect tense. I don't know why he felt this way, but I think it was a bod choice. For starters, it adds unnecessary complication to all your sentences, and usually renders them less clear, so that's a mark against it. It also leaves you with nowhere to go when you want to refer to something father back than your baseline. And it's one of those tenses that is hard to use consistently when it's your main tense. Some verbs and sentence constructions just sound very weird with that tense, and Martin got around that by simply using the simple past in those cases. Which is inconsistent, and frankly, just plain sloppy writing.His use of adverbs is also unusual. I understand that there are those who are fanatical supporters of the ideal of no split infinitives, and that's fine. But there's no cause I'm aware of not to split the auxiliary verb from the main one. In fact, the Oxford Online specifically states that the adverb should fall between the auxiliary verb and the main verb. I don't have a US style manual handy (Chicago online requires a subscription), so I don't know what the deal is there, but in any case, my point is simply that Martin's insistence on putting his adverbs before his auxiliary verbs is weird and awkward to read, making me stumble pretty much every time I came to one.The upshot is that while this book and its subject matter were interesting, I wish they'd been tackled by a better writer.

  • Tony
    2019-03-09 04:25

    BEETHOVEN’S HAIR. (2000). Russell Martin. **.This is a work that constantly balances on the edge of boredom. It is the story of a lock of Beethoven’s hair, clipped from him at his death. The memento is then passed down through family and friends, and, ultimately, buyers in America. A great deal of time is spent on attempting to verify provenance of the lock, which becomes especially difficult during the Nazi years, as the hair was hidden in the hands of a Jew who was likely to become a Nazi statistic. The American purchasers of the hair were obviously interested in using the hair to prove something, but that something is not revealed until we near the end of the book. At that point, we are introduced to a team of scientific experts who subject the hair to a variety of the most recent scientific tests to determine…what (?). They finally manage to test the hair to death and find out what it was they wanted to find out, and the reader is treated to a massive dose of disappointment at what their true purpose really was. This is a case of a flimsy plot pumped up to massive proportions to tell a small story. I have to credit the author with great courage for not throwing himself upon his sword at several places in the tale. How so you keep up the interest of the reader when your hero is a swatch (?) of hair?

  • Melissa T
    2019-03-22 11:21

    As boring as this may sound--I was fascinated! It was amazing to see the progression of "beethoven's hair" along to modern times when we actually were able to do testing on it to find out why Beethoven was deaf. Probably my favorite part of the book was when his hair was with a violin in Denmark during WWII--it had probably 40 pages full of the heroism of the Danes during WWII. Obviously that has nothing to do with Beethoven (except that apparently a lock of his hair experienced it!), but well worth the read.

  • Kathleen Dixon
    2019-02-27 09:22

    I hadn't read anything abut this finding of a lock of Beethoven's hair, so found the topic fascinating. However, I found the book far too wordy and I skimmed an awful lot of it. A slim volume, one quarter the size, would have held my interest and would have received 4 stars in a review.

  • Mary
    2019-03-19 10:24

    When Beethoven dies, a promising young musician, Peter Hiller, clips a lock of his hair. This book is about the journey of the hair through time until it comes into the hands of some American Beethoven admirers. These two men agree to have some of the hair tested by scientists to see if they can learn the source of Beethoven’s deafness and other illnesses. What they discover is very interesting.

  • Deirdre
    2019-03-17 06:26

    On the whole, I really liked this book. It told a fascinating story -- the journey of a lock of Beethoven's hair from Vienna to the United States, by way of Cologne, Germany, Gilleleje, Denmark, and London, England; and its subsequent scientific testing. The intertwined biographies of Beethoven and the people who loved him or interacted with him down the years were particularly fascinating.So, why only three stars?First, because of a certain apparent carelessness in some of the writing. For instance, in the description of the initial cutting, Beethoven's hair is described as "half-gray," (p.33), whereas later, the authors call it "quite gray." (p. 101) Maybe they do not mean "entirely" when they say "quite," but it does read that way, and it gave me pause. They could save young readers a bit of confusion by making their adjectives match, or, better yet, leaving them out altogether.A more troubling example occurs on page 82, where the authors describe the initial scientific research on the lock of hair. The current owners of the hair choose Dr. William Walsh to conduct an examination, and he sends samples out to other scientists, including Walter McCrone, whom the authors describe as follows:It was McCrone who had demonstrated conclusively in the 1970s that the outline of a figure on fabric known as the Shroud of Turin had been painted in the fourteenth century and was not, therefore, the burial cloth of Jesus, as some had claimed, but was an historical hoax instead.Well! That gave me pause for more than one reason -- not least because I had seen The PBS Special about the Shroud of Turin recently. So, I knew that McCrone's research, though interesting, was not actually conclusive. And the whole topic of the Shroud of Turin is quite (meaning extremely!) controversial, so why drag it into a children's book unnecessarily, especially by means of such a clunky sentence?Unfortunately, writing like this occasionally mars an otherwise fascinating story.Episodes of awkward writing aside, there are also problems with the book design. And the main problem is that there is no color. This is a children's book, and needs to be attractive to children. The book has a wealth of beautifully chosen illustrations, but they are generally poorly reproduced (oddly, the purely photographic illustrations are even grainier than the art reproductions), and not a single one is in color.And then there is the cover. Scary! Not to mention that poor Beethoven (as shown) has no hair whatsoever. (But maybe that was the point?)I did think the story was fascinating, and I gained great respect for the two men, Alfredo "Che" Guevara and Ira Brilliant, who acquired the lock of hair and set about trying to honor Beethoven's dying wish by means of it. And the Danish section of the story, and the characters throughout, are fascinating.In sum: I did like the book, & I enjoyed reading it, but it could have (& should have) been better. A bit more attention to editing and design, and I would have awarded it another star -- maybe even 2.

  • Barbara
    2019-03-24 07:12

    IN CASE you were just interested in the forensic stuff about the hair, just skip to page 176 (about the middle).Pages 1 through 175 are a byzantine recounting of the provenance of the hair itself, which is interesting....but the author spends too much time going down rabbit holes. Those rabbit holes are described in excruciating detail and florid prose. Ultimately, the mystery of how the hair got from Vienna to a Danish fishing village remains undetermined.However, the forensic stuff is fascinating, and it's worth plowing through aforesaid florid prose.Speculation has run that Beethoven's death was related to opium use (no) and/or syphilis (no, again). I won't give away what was found, but it's certainly interesting and tragic. Beethoven was both profoundly gifted and profoundly cursed. In spite of terrible pain and sensory failure (not just the deafness), he continued composing up to a few days of his death. The music in him clearly outweighed his pain; his courage drove him to wring as much grandeur as possible from his mind before his body gave out.We'll never know what was percolating in his mind, undictated. Illness kept him in such debilitating pain that he was frequently, throughout his life, unable to work. Ultimately, his personal tragedy became his posterity's tragedy.

  • Rachel Pollock
    2019-02-28 05:24

    I do love a good, readble, well-paced nonfiction book on a compelling and odd topic, and this was a very good example of exactly that. Yes, it's ostensibly about how a lock of Beethoven's hair came to be auctioned by Sotheby's, and of course it weaves in a biographical sketch of the composer throughout, but it also takes the reader some pretty amazing and unexpected places: the heroic rescue efforts undertaken by the citizens of Denmark on behalf of their Jewish countrymen during the Holocaust, for example.Reminded me of other faves in this same vein, like the books of Paul Collins and Rebecca Skloot.

  • Eugenea Pollock
    2019-03-07 09:11

    I found this book to be a fascinating examination of the (1) provenance of a significant relic (analogous to that of a revered religious saint) and (2) possible cause(s) of Beethoven's deafness, as well as his other debilitating afflictions, I light of 21st century analytical tools. It had aspects of a scientific thriller, which I would love to have seen developed to a greater extent.

  • Jennifer Stringer
    2019-03-03 08:21

    "Seriously, mama? You are reading a book about a ratty piece of hair." Grace Stringer

  • Lisbeth
    2019-03-18 08:24

    I found this book in the Book festival, and it is quite an interesting topic, of which I had never heard before. Since I love a real life mystery, it was a must for me. It seems that when Beethoven died in March 1827, the fifteen-year-old musical protégé Ferdinand Hiller was in Vienna, visiting the composer together with his instructor Johann Nepomuk Hummel. Hiller later wrote:"He lay, weak and miserable, sighing deeply at intervals. Not a word fell from his lips; sweat stood out on his forehead. His handkerchief not being conveniently at hand, Hummel's wife took her fine cambric handkerchief and dried his face again and again. Never shall I forget the grateful glance with which his broken eyes looked upon her."Three days later Beethoven died and a day later they went back to pay their respect."The two did not remain for long beside the coffin, but before they left, young Hiller asked his teacher if he could cut a lok of the master composer's hair. …Hummel quietly whispered yes to his student, and the two of them were moved by the deep sadness of the moment. Ferdinand Hiller took the scissors he had brought with him, lifted a small lock of Beethoven's long half-gray hair, pulled it away from his head, and cut it free."This is the story of how the hair travelled through the Hiller family in Germany, through the Second World War and Denmark and ended up in the United States with two Beethoven enthusiasts, Dr Alfredo "Che" Guevara and Ira Brilliant. Circumstances made them find a note in Sotheby's catalogue about the sale of a lock of Beethoven's hair. They used part of it to make forensic tests to find out what ailed Beethoven.Now starts an investigation into, not only finding out what medical problems Beethoven had, but also to verify where the hair came from. It is truly a fantastic story of dedication and love for something that belonged to one of our greatest composers. They tracked down the hair from Hiller to his children and grandchildren, it travelled to Denmark during the second world war and ended up with a local doctor in the small town of Gilleleje in Denmark, and through his daughter to an auction in London. It is more exciting than any made-up story.The outcome of the examination of the hair was surprising. Most of the samples contained the normal elements found in hair, but his hair also contained "an average of forty-two times more lead than the control samples did". Walsh, one of the scientist, believed that Beethoven had been "massively poisoned by lead at the time of his death and may have been for decades before". This could also explain his health problems. Of course, in those days, nobody knew how dangerous lead was.A well-written, pedagogical, not too long book about a real life mystery. The authors mix the mystery with facts about Beethoven's life and deeds. It is exciting and when you are in the middle of the search for the Hiller family, it is difficult to put the book down.

  • Kyoung Hae Kim
    2019-03-01 11:12

    Beethoven has been my recent fascination since I moved to Vienna, where the grand composer actually lived, performed, and died. The fact that I am living near Heiligenstadt where he spent critical moments (let alone the famous Heiligenstadt Testment) gives me a special bondage with this great man. Walking along the Beethovengang(Beethoven trail) I ponder upon his deepening frustration and his ultimate victory over his pain. "Ah, how could I possibly admit weakness of the one sense which should be more perfect in me than others, a sense which I once possessed in the greatest perfection, a perfection such as few in my profession have or ever have had?"The book thoroughly covers the life of Beethoven as well as a quest of a lock of hair which F. Hiller had from the master's deathbed. I got to understand the origin of his temper better by knowing some of the circumstances he faced. (for example "How painful it must have been for the animated, easily impatient man to be obliged to wait for every answer, to make a pause in every moment of conversation, during which, as it were, thought was condemned to come to a standstill!")Also, Beethoven lovers(especially Mr. Brilliant and Dr. Gevara) persistent endeavor to reveal the itinerary of the lock was quite impressive.

  • Tmittman
    2019-03-07 07:27

    3.8 As a great aficionado of Beethoven I found the book interesting and worthwhile. I would recommend it to anyone with similar interest in the composer. The author explores a detailed search for answers to how the hair ended up in the hands of a Danish woman and where the original holders of the hair parted from it. The author alternates chapters delving into Beethoven's life of music and illness with chapters detailing the search for answers to the above questions. This necessarily leads to some tedium but nonetheless I found the book compelling where several reviewers found it off putting.

  • Nina
    2019-03-25 09:02

    This was really fascinating. A clipped lock of Beethoven's hair was purchased from a Danish Sotheby's auction by two Americans, who then began a sleuthing investigation to figure out how it had landed in Denmark as well as pay for tests on the hair to see if they could determine the cause of Beethoven's decades of multiple health problems and deafness. The book gives us a history of the Vienna music scene in the early 19th century and a little known history of how the Danish people helped the Jews during WWII. And it resolves all the speculations about the source of Beethoven's many health issues. On the surface it sounds like a dry story, but it was quite engrossing.

  • Robert
    2019-02-23 03:06

    If You Love The Great Classical Composers... You'll Enjoy This BookInterestingly written jumping back and forth between befors Beethoven's death and after, made this a much more interesting read. For something as small as a lock of Beethoven's hair to survive 2 World Wars is a miracle. Reading how... is the foundation. I highly recommend reading this book if you enjoy Classical music. Beethoven was one of the most highly recognized of these composers... the John Lennon of his day.

  • Peter Steiner
    2019-03-06 09:23

    My Beautiful Granddaughter, Rayna, was born on the day this genus was born. So the story had extra special resonance.It is amazing how Beethoven suffered from a confluence of severe maladies and was still able to produce such sublime and everlasting music. This book is a travelogue through time, struggles and triumph. A medical whodunnit, stories of great composers and their relationships and stories about wartime struggles and post-war adventures.I loved this book and highly recommend it.

  • Gita
    2019-02-24 07:16

    This was a really really interesting book. Among many fascinating threads, the question what is the price of creation runs through this. Staggering to read of the amount of physical pain and constant discomfort that plagued Beethoven--had he had all the conveniences of modern medicine would he have composed such phenomenal music?Then, the threads of anti-semitism, and how the hair survived. Worth the detour to read this book.

  • Diane
    2019-03-22 09:22

    “I will take fate by the throat; it shall not wholly overcome me. Oh, it would be so lovely to live a thousand lives.”Beethoven An excellent book about a man many know little about except for his music. Anyone would be fascinated to learn about this lock of hair, taken the day after He died, where it traveled and how it revealed so much about Beethoven’s life and health. Why did he have terrible stomach pain, headaches, mood swings, etc? This little story will give you the answer.Enjoy!

  • Susan
    2019-03-16 07:30

    Seriously, this is one of the best books I have read. This book covers Beethoven's life alternating with the documented history of a lock of his hair taken from his corpse by another composer. The book is all drama and mystery, and all true. Just an amazing read. I finished the book and thought what a great movie this would make. Then I discovered there is supposed to be an award-winning docudrama mad from this story in 2005, but it appears not to be very accessible.

  • Michele
    2019-02-26 10:25

    This is a book that was recommended to me and one I would have easily picked up after reading the cover. In short, this is my jam. History. Science. I love it. It starts off on a good note but ultimately the writer lacks the literary flair to transform historical fact into something deliciously readable. Try Mark Kurlansky or Russell Shorto if you wanna love learning something.

  • Rebecca
    2019-03-23 06:26

    Tedious This book should've been at least 100 pages less and some parts very interesting others very tedious. Frequently things were restated. Would not recommend except to the most diehard Beethoven fan

  • Gearymorris
    2019-03-25 11:30

    Ugh... it kept droning on and I could not take it any longer!

  • Kaine Palmer
    2019-03-14 10:27

    Quite a interesting read, mixing a Beethoven biography with some mystery. Very well versed.

  • Caitlin
    2019-03-17 10:18

    The first couple of chapters I was lost. There was a whole chapter of the guy who first cut the lock of hair sandwiched in between history between Beethoven's history. I was confused of who's story we were covering. Around page 50 I figured out the pattern and liked it. The author stretched some of the material at time. It could have been edited down.

  • Jonathan
    2019-02-24 10:26

    Terrible. I can tell the author put much time into the book, but as someone who greatly enjoys the subject of music history I was bored almost to tears. There are pages of recap, repeated unanswered questions, suspect form, and many cases of what my English teachers called "wordiness."Avoid this book. Your time could be better spent listening to Beethoven's music, and you would probably learn more concrete facts about his life that way.

  • Karen Zelano
    2019-03-07 03:31

    Fascinating and FrustratingI found and read this book to learn more about Ludwig Von Beethoven, whom my father idolized. He passed away two months ago and I felt listening to more of Beethoven's music and reading about his life might help me better understand my dad's great love of him. As a medical professional , I thought this book a good place to start, and I am not disappointed. This story is indeed a mystery and the facts which have been uncovered are fascinating- leaving us hungry for more information, thus the frustration. It is well written but at times not as straightforward as it could have been. The bouncing around in time and multiple characters with various connections to each other might prompt the reader to turn back the pages to reorient to the story. Nevertheless, it is well worth the read- for a history lover, medical mystery enthusiast, and mostly for those like my dad, who held Beethoven dear.

  • Jon Cox
    2019-03-12 03:07

    There is only one answer to my observation that all "Bestseller" books that I have read are extremely poorly written: there must be a list you can pay to get your book put on called the "Bestseller" list. Seriously. Beethoven's Hair, Colapse, Three Cups of Tea, and others, all claim to be "Bestsellers," and they are all pieces of trash. This book is so poorly written that I groaned out loud at some of the sentences. Take this one on page 97 for example: "The temperature hovered barely above freezing; people's hands and feet went numb; and the place was eerily silent--more than a hundred people packed into the small attic space, saying nothing for hours on end, not even daring to whisper, the only sound the incessant ticking of the clock in the tower, its maddening repetitions seeming to mock the refugees' precarious fate."Yeah. That's one sentence according to this author. In summary, my issues with Mr. Martin's writing is that 1. it's way too melodramatic, 2. almost every sentence is a run-on, 3. the book jumps around through time haphazardly, with no discernable structure or reason, and 4. he tries to make the purchase of Beethoven's Hair by the collectors into some monumental event. It's kind of cool, but he plays it up to excess. The results of analyses on the hair are mildly interesting, but not worthy of a whole book. The most interesting part of the book was when the author forgot all about the hair and talked about the small fishing village of Gilleleje and how they tried to save as many Jews from the Nazis as possible. Now that would be worthy of a whole book. But as soon as he can, Mr. Martin gets back to his melodramic and pointless pontification on things that can not be known. And he repeats these things over and over and over. What a pain. In fact, the writting feels like he was hired by the purchasers of the hair to write a book that strokes their egos as much as possible. That's my guess.

  • Jason
    2019-03-24 04:24

    Told in alternating chapters as a biography of Beethoven and the rather remarkable odyssey of a lock of the great composer's hair that was clipped from his corpse the day after he died by 15 year old music prodigy Ferdinand Hiller. The story is quite fascinating for quite some time...then between 1911--when the then-84-year-old hair was re-set in a more secure locket setting by Hiller's son--history loses track of exactly where the hair was, until it mysteriously, and with very little explanation, turns up in Denmark in 1943. Here is where I think Martin runs off the rails a bit. He tells a very fascinating story of how the Danish Resistance helped Jewish refugees during the dark years of the holocaust, going on for several dozen pages as he unfolds this fascinating footnote in Holocaust history, all the while intimating that the lock of hair's reappearance in Denmark will be explained in the end as the story focuses on one particular refugee, presumably a descendant of Hiller. Unfortunately, after all that, we essentially get a concise "This is possibly/probably/maybe what happened" and the whole story of the Danish Resistance, et al--while fascinating in WWII history--ultimately means nothing in the narrative and does very little to advance the narrative Martin's trying to focus on. (This is a very similar gripe to the main one I had about Krakauer's Into the Wild...he had whole chapters that told about OTHER people that had done things like his subject, but which actually had nothing to do with his subject at all...drove me up the wall after a while!) The chapters of Beethoven biography are every bit as fascinating and written toward me (if that makes sense) as the bio of Mozart I recently reviewed favorably. I'm just getting to the part that tells what DNA testing revealed about Beethoven's health, deafness, death, etc. I'm hoping the end (this is the final 50-ish pages) will make up for some of the disappointing middle. For now, call it 3 stars...

  • Gale
    2019-03-19 07:15

    An Historical Mystery Spanning Two Centuries Fascinating reading--not only for admirers of Beethoven’s majestic music—but for amateur sleuths interested in forensics and the history of Nazi resistance. The author leads readers on a trail of hairpin curves back and forth across the Atlantic, over northern Europe, as well as America’s heartland, and both coasts. What did kill the flamboyant composer whose genius is ranked with Shakespeare? How could it be definitively proven after such a long lapse of time? And how did a lock of his hair wind up in the fishing village of Gilleleje, Denmark, where it went underground for decades to reemerge at Southeby’s in London? How did strands of graying hair finally settle in a Beethoven museum of sorts at San Jose State?Despite overlong sentences and convoluted syntax the story chronicles in amazing and gripping detail the dedicated efforts of two men to obtain the famous locks and promote scientific research; author Martin toggles between various phases in Beethoven’s life and the present (1990’s)—skillfully weaving a tapestry of trust and betrayal, hope and despair, terror and triumph, which will captivate even non-musicians. Thanks to the dedicated research of experts on both sides of the Atlantic the story of the hair’s unique pilgrimage from Vienna to San Jose is revealed, although some questions seem doomed to remain lost in the mist of WW2 unrecorded history. A unique blend of genealogy, music history, Danish daring Nazi resistance and forensic mystery BEETHOVEN’S HAIR proves an unexpected thriller. February 4, 2016