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A Francesca Fruscella Mystery

Jeffrey DeShell

Publication Year: 2013

On the surface a murder mystery—a detective’s search for the killer of five people in Denver—Expectation is also, among other things, a meditation on the relationship between language and music.

In his newest novel, Jeffrey DeShell draws on the musical innovations of Arnold Schoenberg—by turns traditional, serial, and atonal—to inform his grammar and language. Moving progressively through specific Schoenberg compositions, DeShell complicates the surface of his text into lyrical derivatives, all the while drawing us into a murder mystery like no other as Detective Francisca Fruscella pursues both the killer and her own complicated personal history.

By turns rapturous, rigorous, and gripping, Expectation is a thriller of another kind—and a bold venture to the limits of the mystery genre and language itself.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote

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pp. 2-9

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pp. ix-x

I would like to thank Robert Steiner, Lynne Tillman, Marco Breuer and Ted Pelton for their help and support throughout. Special thanks go to Lisa Harrington, who explained a lot, and the students in my various graduate Modernism courses at the University of Colorado at Boulder. ...

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Chapter 1. Fünf Klavierstücke op. 23

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pp. 1-6

Investigation of murder involves the ability to recognize and articulate patterns: sometimes the patterns are spatial, evidence restricted to specific sites. Motifs of time require the detective to excavate and sift, fact often the wallflower, remains reluctant, outline blending into obscure background. ...

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Chapter 2. Vier Lieder op. 2

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pp. 7-18

I closed my office door and opened the window blinds, letting the late afternoon April sun stream through. The bright yellow light was stronger than I expected and I squinted, shielding my eyes with my hand. Looking down at the small entrance plaza, and then at the parking lot across the street, I thought about all the work I had: ...

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Chapter 3. Fünf Klavierstücke op. 23

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pp. 19-22

The body and surrounding site arranged to indicate suicide. Pistol gripped then mouthed, brains splattered now coagulating. Perfect. Just perfect. No sign of exterior struggle. No sign of other violence. The note on conspicuous laptop paraded as corroborating evidence. ...

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Chapter 4. Verklärte Nacht op. 4

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pp. 23-48

Interview Room A was new, like all of the rooms, but unlike all the rooms smelled more than faintly of piss. The walls were off-white, the table dark brown, and the hard chairs rigid plastic grey. A large, two-way mirror dominated the back wall. ...

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Chapter 5. Fünf Klavierstücke op. 23

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pp. 49-52

The dumpster was polished, spotless. Although aged, its sides and floor sparkled. Purity spoiled by Benderson’s corpse. Almost amused, his eyes and mouth smiled. The wounds were large, brutal. Body surrounded by 1000-Peso notes. His clothes folded, immaculate, unscathed. ...

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Chapter 6. Erwartung Monodram op. 17

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pp. 53-72

To want to forget. To walk down the stairs quietly a bottle of Johnnie Black and a glass full of ice in hand. To be numb to not think yet to not think ever to be able to not think to forget. With music. To hear music and to try to be able to forget. ...

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Chapter 7. Fünf Klavierstücke op. 23

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pp. 73-76

The gardener’s SUV was found, engine running. This annoying, blocking completely drop-off drive-though. Samuels’ calloused hands handcuffed to wheel before dying. The thickish wrists cut deeply, splatters on leather seats, ruining and flamboyant. Tied tightly, feet constrained. ...

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Chapter 8. Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene (Drohende Gefahr, Angst, Katastrophe) op. 34

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pp. 77-86

A Fed-Ex package sat ostentatiously on my cluttered desk, opened already. As the obvious question echoed loudly in my weary head: to understand causally concerning this Fed-exed arrival coinciding definitely with the homicidal warning, ignored evidently. ...

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Chapter 9. Fünf Klavierstücke op. 23

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pp. 87-92

We knocked loudly. Gunshots four above. We heard definitely. Office upstairs from. We crashed quickly. Door resistant despite. It opened finally. Staircase recognized toward. Everyone moved quickly. Weapons conspicuous out. I flattened clumsily. Wall previewed against. Everyone ascended carefully. ...

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Chapter 10. Phantasy for Violin with Piano Accompaniment op. 47

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pp. 93-102

“Except if solitarily, you remain ignorant detective. Shit. For rather than silently, you need talkative killer, lady, inside, so that eventually you understand.” Long pause. “Damn. Regarding opposite furiously I killed. Stupid prick. Fuck. Into until uncontrollably I fired.” ...

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Note to Readers

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pp. 103-116

This writing was based on the attempt to translate musical ideas from the work of Arnold Schoenberg. In the more serial pieces, where he used tones, I used parts of speech. Stretti, inversions and other techniques were sometime employed. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781573668439
E-ISBN-10: 1573668435
Print-ISBN-13: 9781573661751
Print-ISBN-10: 1573661759

Page Count: 115
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 861200351
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Expectation

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Subject Headings

  • Murder -- Investigation -- Fiction.
  • Women detectives -- Fiction.
  • Mystery fiction -- gsafd.
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