The Case of the Haunted Swamp

There are strange, spooky noises coming from deep in the Louisiana Bayou near the Hollingsworth
family homestead.  Noises so strange that they have GUS, Lionel T. Hollingsworth’s
big ol’ bear of a cousin, scared out of his wits.

Suspecting that they might be coming from some of Mozart’s renegade Golden Notes, Hollingsworth dispatches Strouse to investigate.  Arriving in Louisiana by candygram, our intrepid Note Hunter learns of an annual scat-singing contest deep in the bayou that attracts scat singers from all over the world.

Trouble is, it’s an ALL CAT scat-singing contest.

Refusing to be deterred, Strouse convinces Gus, who can’t sing for beans, to enter the contest disguised as the world’s biggest cat.  When the competition begins, Strouse hides in Gus’ hat and lets fly with some slick ventriloquist style scat-singing, all the while keeping a sharp ear out for any renegade Golden Mozart Notes.

As luck would have it, Strouse identifies an entire scale disguised as lightning bugs!  Now Strouse needs all his cunning – and a little help from Gus – to corral the Golden Notes and depart the delta without becoming mouse jambalaya for a bunch of Creole Cats!

The Case of the Venetian Tenor

Strouse receives an urgent summons to Lionel T. Hollingsworth’s office for an emergency briefing.  One of Hollingsworth’s oldest and dearest friends, GIOVANNI COSTELLO, has been sacked as conductor of the Venice Opera. Hollingsworth and Strouse head off to northern Italy to save Signore Costello’s job.

Arriving in Venice, Strouse negotiates crowded piazzas, crazy canal traffic, famous landmarks, and every water-side café in town searching for clues to the music director’s discharge. Strouse eventually zeroes in on the city’s favorite son – the opera star BULLOTI – a bull with a breathtaking tenor voice, and a breathtaking secret.

He uses renegade Golden Mozart Notes as a crutch against his pathological fear of singing “the high note!”  Apparently, as part of his effort to keep anyone from finding him out, Bulloti leveraged his stardom to have Signore Costello fired! But as every opera buff knows, there’s
more to every plot than meets the ear. 

As Venezia celebrates masked Carnival, T.W. Strouse has to wear many masks of his own to sort out a scheme so elaborate, only a genius can hope to unravel it.

The Case of the Mysterious Mountain

Pouring over his research one night, Strouse develops a theory that some of Mozart’s Golden Notes may not have strayed far from home.  He reasons that high notes like high places – and the Alps, so close to Mozart’s Austria, are some of the highest places in the world.

Coincidentally, the Note Hunter learns of some strange goings-on in Zermatt, Switzerland.  Seems that red day lilies are blooming at night, alpine songbirds are laying colored eggs, and even the streams of the Swiss valleys seem to be singing as in the legends of old.

In no time, Strouse is off to do some snooping.  He investigates flower, songbird and stream without success.  Then, he learns of DIETER MEISTERSING, a mountain-climbing guide goat.  Dieter is something of a local alpine legend, who can warble the perfect yodel.

Strouse soon determines that all the unusual activity can be traced to Dieter’s yodels.  Strouse figures that the gregarious goat harbors renegade Golden Mozart Notes in his throat without even realizing it!  But separating the notes from all Dieter’s vocal trills and warbles proves to be a task so intricate, it takes the skill of a Swiss watchmaker.

Can Strouse get the job done and free Dieter in the process without losing a note or the goat?

The Case of the Trash Talking Drum

Strouse is hosting a group of city kids in a visit to Bertha Walker’s night club – the Blue Note.  In the middle of the performance, he’s summoned to see his patron, Lionel Hollingsworth.  Hollingsworth is troubled by a dispatch from an African springbok friend and fellow music lover MR. EDE – because he can’t read it.  Strouse immediately recognizes the telegram as a translation of a Fante Master Drum communiqué.  But still, it makes no sense.

At Hollingsworth’s urging, Strouse embarks for Africa, never suspecting that he might encounter renegade Golden Mozart Notes.  Arriving in Ghana, he finds the rural districts in an uproar.  Silly rumors are spreading like wildfire and setting neighbor against neighbor, family against family, and tribe against tribe.  The chaos makes it nearly impossible for Strouse to even locate Mr. Ede.

But once he does, Strouse soon discovers that Mr. Ede himself is the cause of all the trouble.  Turns out that a bunch of Mozart’s Golden Notes have taken up residence in Mr. Ede’s Fante drum, and they are controlling the stories that the drum tells, making them utterly silly.

It’s up to Strouse and Mr. Ede, using a combination of technology and ancient tribal wisdom, to try and coax the renegade Notes out of the Fante drum, and restore the land and people back to their harmonious state.

The Case of the Sad Sarangi

Lionel T. Hollingsworth is feting Strouse for his latest recovery of part of the Perfekte Symphonie. He serves up some tea from a new shipment he just received, and is embarrassed by its thin flavor.  Complaining to Mademoiselle Honee, he learns that the Indian tea harvest has been exceedingly poor this year, due to ceaseless rains.  The locals describe the thunder and lightning in almost musical terms.

Sounds like a mission for Strouse!  Arriving in the tea-growing district of Assam, India, Strouse has to contend with the flood conditions.  He’s amazed by the accuracy of the locals’ description of the musical weather conditions, but he doesn’t detect any hint of the Golden Mozart Notes in the skies.  That would be truly unprecedented.

He learns of DEBDAN, a Bengal Tiger sarangi master who lives high in the mountains, and goes to visit him.  The journey is fraught with peril, but Strouse finally reaches his destination.  There, he discovers that the master, heartbroken for his lost love, plays a solemn tune over and over.

His musicianship and the lamenting quality of his song attracted a chorus of Golden Notes from a somber section of the Mozart masterpiece.  When combined with the sarangi, the result was to bring constant rain to the region.  Strouse must summon all his creativity to lead the sarangi master back into a state of happiness in order to save the tea crops and hopefully, retrieve the renegade Golden Notes.

The Case of the A-Train Deception

When summoned to Hollingsworth’s office in the dead of night, Strouse is informed of a dire situation at the impresario’s museum.  All of Mozart’s Golden Notes captured to date seem to be fading from their manuscript!

After performing a little musical triage, it’s soon clear to our diminutive detective that despite being stored in a hermetically sealed case, the Mozart Notes are starved for dynamics – crescendos and diminuendos – the raisings and lowerings of volume that add life to all music. Strouse calls on an old friend, CASEY, a nearly blind mole and subway train engineer.

Together, they seek out a cure for the ailing notes by identifying an authentic Mozart crescendo in the rumbly comings and goings of the New York subway trains. Throughout the adventure, as they hop from subway platform to subway platform – and even visit an abandoned station or two – Strouse and Casey meet the odd denizens of NYC’s subterranean world as they try to save the Golden Notes recovered thus far from fading away.

The Case of the Capuchin Con Artist

Strouse and his jazz band pals are on the rooftops of Upper East Side Manhattan, playing for a gala homing pigeon race, when one of the homers arrives at the finish line breathing hard and speaking – Spanish!  How did this bird get into the race?!  Strouse sees a message attached to the bird’s leg and realizes it’s one of Hollingsworth’s international couriers.  He retrieves the message, and rushes to see his patron.  Apparently, there are Golden Mozart Notes at large in the jungles of Peru. Our Note Hunter is on the job!

Arriving in Iquitos, Peru, Strouse engages BILBAO, a proud capuchin monkey and a self-professed expert on every South American musical instrument, as a guide.  Following a tip in the carrier pigeon’s message, Strouse and Bilbao make the dangerous trek to the headwaters of the Amazon.  During the journey, Bilbao turns out to be absolutely useless – except for leading Strouse into trouble.

The boastful monkey is a walking disaster.  At first Strouse believes the Golden Notes he is seeking are in the tinkle of one of the mountain streams that feeds the Amazon.  But he soon comes to learn that they are actually in the song of PEPE, a pesky hummingbird that won’t leave him and Bilbao alone.

Now, the challenge is to somehow neutralize Bilbao so that he, Strouse, can catch little Pepe and retrieve the precious notes.  Strouse discovers that Bilbao is acting boastful in order to hide the fact that he feels he’s never done anything meaningful in his life.  In the end, can Bilbao help Strouse capture the Golden Notes, and finally accomplish something?