The Characters of the Note Hunter

T.W. Strouse, the star of our Musical Adventure.

Click here to read T.W.’s case file

T.W. Strouse, the star of our Musical Adventure is a Mus musculus. That’s a mouse to those of us who don’t speak Latin. And he’s a detective. He works exclusively for billionaire music-lover,Lionel T. Hollingsworth.

What sets Strouse apart from every other detective in the world – and everyone who has gone before him – are his ears. They have perfect pitch. Lots of people, musicians and non-, can claim perfect pitch. But compared to Strouse, their ability to identify tones of the musical scale is just relative. With his ears tuned to A440, Strouse is a walking, talking tuning fork.

But Strouse’s greatest gift of all is that he has the special ability not only to hear Mozart’s Golden Notes, but to talk to them as well. This is why he is the most perfectly suited individual in history for the job of Note Detective.

Born in an orchestra pit during a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, Strouse came naturally by his gift. He can play every instrument ever invented and some that haven’t been. Strouse can tell an out-of-place note almost before it’s played. And that comes in handy, because his detective work for Hollingsworth has shown that the Golden Notes of Mozart’s missing Symphony were scattered to the far corners of the earth. It’s not the least bit unusual for a Mozart triad to turn up in Bali – in the chorus of a Balinese opera; or for one of Wolfgang’s diatonic scales to be hiding in the melodies of an African kalimba, or for one of his pianissimos to caress the tinkle of chimes hanging from the rafter of a tiny hut on a mountain in Nepal.

Financed by Hollingsworth, Strouse travels the world to locate the Golden Notes of Mozart’s missing symphony, capture them, and restore them note-by-note to their rightful place–the blank music manuscript left behind after the Great Note Escape. Hollingsworth has acquired the maestro’s autograph manuscript, and he keeps it under lock and key, hermetically sealed in his Museum of Musicology.

Strouse works for “fifty dollars a day and all the cheese I can eat.” And since Hollingsworth Enterprises includes the manufacture of gourmet cheeses in addition to chocolates, delicacies, and biscuits of every description–it’s a serendipitous arrangement. A tough-talking detective in classic film noir tradition, Strouse’s trademark phrase is “I’m all ears.”

Lionel T. Hollingsworth is determined to recover the missing masterpiece for everyone in the world to enjoy.

Click here to read Lionel’s case file

Having made his millions in Grizzly Beans – the Rolls Royce of jelly beans – Hollingsworth proceeded to build and run Bearnegie Hall, the finest concert hall in the world. In between endowing various opera companies and commissioning symphonies, he amassed the world’s finest collection of music and musical instruments, which is housed in his world renowned Museum of Musicology.

Hollingsworth is a dyed-in-the-fur philanthropist who earned his money honestly. He wants nothing more than to repay the world for his good fortune by restoring her greatest gifts. It was when he was buying up bits and pieces of Mozart’s scattered estate to reunite it for posterity, that he made his greatest discovery – Mozart’s diary!

In his diary, Mozart speaks of his masterpiece, the Perfekte Symphonie, and the sublimity of its Golden Notes. Some of Mozart’s contemporaries believed that he was just making it all up to hold off his many creditors. But it was not a fabrication. Mozart labored over every musical phrase, crafting each with a deft hand, in extraordinary golden ink so that the music would be as beautiful to the eye as it was
to the ear. It was his finest creation! And it was his greatest tragedy.

Dedicated music lover that he is, Hollingsworth is determined to recover the missing masterpiece for everyone in the world to enjoy. When it comes to recovering Mozart’s greatest work, Hollingsworth is always willing to back the effort. He’ll send Strouse to the farthest corners of the earth without a second thought.

Hollingsworth lives in a lavish mansion. The mansion adjoins his Museum of Musicology so that he can visit it with ease whenever he wants. He’s an amateur musician, and while he loves music, his curse is that he’s not very good at playing it.

He often recites Igor Stravinsky’s famous quote: “I haven’t understood a bar of music in my life, but I have felt it.”

Mademoiselle Babette Honee is Mr. Hollingsworth’s secretary, administrator, office manager and “gatekeeper.”

Click here to read Honee’s case file

Mademoiselle Honee is a French Cou-nu du Forez hen who works as Mr. Hollingsworth’s secretary, administrator, office manager and “gatekeeper.”   She is very efficient and relishes her job: especially the gatekeeper part.   It is virtually impossible to get past her to Mr. Hollingsworth without an appointment… or a hand grenade.  Or both.  Unless you’re Strouse.  And still she gives him a hard time.

That’s because she can barely stand “zee little peepsquick,” as she refers to him.  Oddly enough, Strouse is genuinely fond of Babette; fond enough to want get under her skin a little.  So, he’ll playfully shorten her first name to “Babe,” or call her “Honey” instead of “Oh-Nay,” the proper pronunciation of her last name.   When he’s really on his game, Strouse can get Babette really steamed by referring to her as “the ol’ Canoe,” which he claims in mock innocence, is short for Cou-nu du Forez.   

“It eez Cou-nu!  Not ‘canoe.’  Not a leetle boat, you irritating rodent!” 

“Cou-nu?  What’s it mean, if not ‘little boat?’” Strouse baits her. 

“Eet means ‘naked neck’ you leetle kitty biscuit!”  

“Oh, yeah.  I see now.  You got no feathers over there.  Probably lost ‘em sticking your neck out for your favorite Note Hunter.  You can admit it, Babe.  You love me.” 


Yep, theirs is a classic love-hate relationship.  Much as Babette would like to resist such repartee, when it comes to T. W. Strouse, she simply cannot.   Strouse isn’t mean with his teasing.  He’d never push Babette to the point where she’d bust a blood vessel or anything.  But she might involuntarily lay an egg.   

Even though she can be exceptionally testy, Honee is highly valued by Mr. Hollingsworth for her loyalty, efficiency and her ability to protect him from distractions.  He may be eccentric, but if she wasn’t so good at her job, he wouldn’t have her around.   

Bertha Walker is one of the few special individuals in Strouse’s life.

Click here to read Bertha’s case file

One of the few special individuals in Strouse’s life is the most popular nightclub singer in New York – Miss Bertha Walker.  You might think them an unlikely pair, what with Bertha being a large, African elephant and Strouse being so… well… compact.  But a great nightclub singer needs a great accompanist, and, in addition to being a first-rate shamus, T.W. Strouse happens to be the best piano player around, pound for pound.  Hard to believe Strouse has the time for nightclub gigs what with his caseload.  But he manages to play for Bertha every chance he gets.  She’s that good a singer; and his devotion to her is a testament to her virtuosity.    

Bertha supports Strouse’s search for Mozart’s Golden Notes one hundred percent.   From time to time, she’ll even succeed in cajoling Strouse into taking her along on hunts for hidden notes; especially if the job involves travel to exotic foreign locales.  When on these excursions, Bertha never fails to help Strouse with his investigations.  Aided by her elephant ability to communicate over a distance of several miles using infrasonic sounds audible to Strouse, but inaudible to most other species, she’s a ten-foot, six-ton Watson to Strouse’s three-inch, six-ounce Sherlock.  Her many skills notwithstanding, Strouse has discovered that sleuthing with Bertha can present certain challenges – beginning with the difficulty of making – and keeping – a diva elephant inconspicuous.

Mozart’s Golden Notes will do anything to avoid being captured.

Click here to read the Golden Notes’ case file

Oh no! There’s nothing here! Can Strouse unlock the mystery of the Golden Notes?