‘The Violin Conspiracy’ is a musical with deep notes

Like the protagonist of his new Escaped novel, author Brendan Slocumb is a black violinist. He knows the monotony of daily practice punctuated by the occasional thrill of performance. He experienced the racism that is often inherent in the classical world. But unlike Ray McMillian, the main character of “The Violin Plot“, Slocumb does not own a Stradivarius.

The fact that the family violin passed down by McMillian turns out to be an invaluable Stradivarius is central to Slocumb’s first novel. This discovery catapults McMillian to superstardom in the world of classical music. Then, just before he goes to the Tchaikovsky Competition, the Classical Music Olympiad, the Stradivarius is stolen. That he took? Will he get it back?

Slocumb spoke with host Kerri Miller on this week’s Big Books and Bold Ideas show.


  • Brendan Slocumb is a musician, music teacher, guest conductor and budding novelist. His new book is “The Violin Conspiracy”.

Use the audio player above to listen to the conversation.

Subscribe to the MPR News podcast with Kerri Miller at Apple podcast, Google Podcasts Where RSS.

Subscribe to the feed newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations drive the clarity of our reporters’ coverage across the state, the stories that connect us, and the conversations that provide insight. Help ensure that MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.