Bellweather Rhapsody
Goodreads ratings
3.81 / 5

"Bellweather Rhapsody" Summary

By Kate Racculia

mystery | 354 pages | Published in 2014

Winner of a 2015 Alex Award"Delightfully odd...A fine cast of misfits and dreamers and foes. A." —Entertainment Weekly  “A deliciously dark confection of a novel, and one of the most thoroughly enjoyable books I’ve read in years.” —Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You  “Warm, entertaining and thoughtful, and a glorious celebration of music.” — Minneapolis Star Tribune   Fifteen years ago, a murder-suicide in room 712 rocked the grand old Bellweather Hotel and the young bridesmaid who witnessed it, Minnie Graves. Now hundreds of high school musicians have gathered at the Bellweather for the annual Statewide festival; Minnie has returned to face her demons; and a blizzard is threatening to trap them all inside. When a young prodigy disappears from infamous room 712, the search for her entwines an eccentric cast of conductors and caretakers, teenagers on the verge and adults haunted by memories. A genre-bending page-turner, full of playful nods to pop-culture classics from The Shining to Agatha Christie to Glee, Bellweather Rhapsody is a winning new novel from a writer to watch.  “Funny and exuberant, twisty and captivating . . . For its darkness and its glee, I loved this novel.” — Robin Sloan, author of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore   “A rollicking story . . . Racculia’s exuberant voice inspires laugh-out-loud moments while also bringing to life broken people who find solace in each other’s heartaches.” — Wisconsin State Journal


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A group of characters gather at a haunted hotel for a music festival, but soon find themselves caught up in a murder mystery.


"Bellweather Rhapsody" by Kate Racculia is a captivating mystery novel that intertwines elements of music, suspense, and coming-of-age themes. Set in a grand, isolated hotel during a high school music festival, the story delves into the lives of various characters who are grappling with their own personal demons. With a blend of dark humor, complex characters, and a compelling plot, the novel takes readers on a thrilling journey through the intricacies of human relationships and the power of resilience.

Brief Synopsis

The story unfolds at the Bellweather Hotel, a once-grand establishment that has seen better days. The hotel is the venue for the Statewide, a prestigious music festival for high school students. The narrative is set in 1997, ten years after a tragic incident where a young girl, Minnie Graves, was murdered on the ninth floor of the hotel. The event still looms large, casting a shadow over the hotel and its inhabitants.


The Bellweather Hotel, a sprawling, decaying structure in the Catskill Mountains of New York, serves as the primary setting for the novel. The hotel's eerie corridors, grand ballrooms, and desolate ninth floor create a haunting backdrop for the unfolding drama. The time period is crucial to the story, as it is set in the late 1990s, adding a nostalgic and atmospheric dimension to the narrative.

Main Characters

The novel features a diverse cast of characters, each grappling with their own struggles and secrets:

Minnie GravesA talented young clarinetist whose unsolved murder casts a shadow over the hotel.
Alice HatmakerA former child prodigy and current chaperone at the festival, haunted by her past.
Rabbit HatmakerAlice's twin brother, who is also a chaperone and carries the weight of their shared history.
NatalieA high school student attending the festival, struggling with her passion for music and her own identity.
Fisher BrodieA charming and enigmatic musician with a troubled past.
Viola FabianA determined journalist investigating the unsolved murder and seeking closure.

Chapters Summary

Chapter 1-5:

The novel introduces the Bellweather Hotel and its history, setting the stage for the upcoming music festival. The characters are introduced, each grappling with personal challenges and haunted by the hotel's dark past.

Chapter 6-10:

As the festival begins, tensions rise, and the characters' inner turmoil becomes more pronounced. The atmosphere of the hotel grows increasingly eerie, and the mystery surrounding Minnie Graves' murder is reignited.

Chapter 11-15:

Secrets and hidden agendas come to light as the festival unfolds, and the characters' relationships become more entangled. The past and present collide, leading to unexpected revelations and escalating tensions.

Chapter 16-20:

The novel reaches a crescendo as the characters confront their fears and the truth about Minnie Graves' murder. The grand finale of the music festival becomes a catalyst for resolution and personal transformation.

Main Events

  1. The commencement of the Statewide music festival at the Bellweather Hotel.
  2. The reemergence of the unsolved murder of Minnie Graves, casting a shadow over the festival.
  3. Tensions and secrets unraveling as the characters navigate the festival and confront their pasts.
  4. The climactic resolution and revelations during the grand finale of the festival.

Themes and Insights


  • Resilience: The characters grapple with past traumas and personal challenges, highlighting the theme of resilience and the human capacity to overcome adversity.
  • Identity: The novel explores the complexities of identity and self-discovery, particularly in the context of young adulthood.
  • The Power of Music: Music serves as a unifying force throughout the narrative, offering solace and connection to the characters.


The novel provides a nuanced exploration of trauma, the passage of time, and the ways in which individuals confront their pasts. It delves into the intricacies of human relationships and the enduring impact of unresolved tragedies.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers will be drawn into a richly atmospheric narrative that seamlessly weaves together elements of mystery, music, and personal growth. The novel's compelling characters and intricate plot will keep readers engrossed as they unravel the layers of secrets and revelations at the Bellweather Hotel.


"Bellweather Rhapsody" is a masterfully crafted novel that skillfully blends elements of mystery, music, and human resilience. Racculia's evocative storytelling and rich character development create a captivating reading experience that lingers in the mind long after the final page. With its haunting setting and compelling themes, the novel offers a profound exploration of the human spirit and the enduring power of hope.

Bellweather Rhapsody FAQ

  1. What is the genre of Bellweather Rhapsody?

    Bellweather Rhapsody is a mystery novel with elements of suspense and dark humor.

  2. Who is the author of Bellweather Rhapsody?

    Kate Racculia is the author of Bellweather Rhapsody.

  3. What is the setting of Bellweather Rhapsody?

    The novel is set in a grand, historic hotel in the Catskills, where a music festival and a series of mysterious events take place.

  4. Is Bellweather Rhapsody suitable for young readers?

    The book contains mature themes and is recommended for adult readers.

  5. What are some themes explored in Bellweather Rhapsody?

    The novel explores themes of trauma, music, friendship, and the impact of the past on the present.