Chapter 1

Tuesday, May 22, 1990

West Berlin

If we had known it would eventually involve the Kremlin, the French Ambassador and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, we would have left that body in the river and called the Polizei like any normal German citizen, but we were Americans and addicted to solving other peoples’ problems, so naturally, we got involved.

It began like every Tuesday after school. All the other kids from the American school on the army base at Zehlendorf went to the playground, or the afterschool matinee, or the scout meeting at the community center, but Giselle and Vivian and I took the S-bahn to our music lesson in downtown Berlin. Ordinarily, Vivian would get out her advanced algebra book, and Giselle would disappear under headphones with a new cassette from the latest girl rock star as soon as we found seats on the train. If she remembered to bring extra headphones, I’d listen along, but usually I worked on writing my own music: minuets for the violin, mostly. Not nearly as hip as “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” but I had to start somewhere, and classical music was what I knew. Not that I’d admit this to just anyone, but classical music was what I loved—more than anything.

We were only a week away from the big Solo and Ensemble Contest in Paris. We’d been working at our competition piece, Pachelbel’s Canon, since Christmas. Our music teacher thought we had a shot at first place in the twelve to thirteen year olds age group, and Giselle’s dad, General Johnson, had bragged to the entire brigade that we were going to clean up, so no pressure or anything. Not that I didn’t love winning, but for me the big deal was that it was our first trip to Paris, and it would be our last time ever to perform together as a trio before the Army moved us back to the States.

Excerpt© 2011 Rosanne Parry


About the book:

It is 1990 and the wall that separated Communist East Berlin from the capitalist West has finally come down. For Jody this means moving back the States with her dad who’s retiring from the army and saying goodbye the the two best friends she’s ever had.

Before they part ways the three girls plan one last adventure a trip to Paris where they’ll compete in a classical music contest as a string trio.  Winning will (almost) make up for the fact that they’ll soon be separated. But as they walk home from their final music lesson the girls witness a terrible crime and must act to save a Soviet soldier’s life. Getting to Paris becomes urgent as the girls discover that the border between friend and enemy is not as clear as it once was.

In this fast-paced tale of music, friendship and adventure, Rosanne Parry, author of  Heart of a Shepherd, offers a sensitive portrayal of military families at a pivotal moment in history.

What people are saying:

Second Fiddle will be featured as a Spring Indy Next book at independent bookstores all over the country!

“The action may take place in the ’90s, but this reads like first-class historical fiction; Parry (Heart of a Shepherd) vividly conjures the political tensions of the period, the challenges of life as an army brat, and the redemptive power of music.”–Publishers Weekly

Released: March 22, 2011 from Random House

About the author:

Rosanne Parry moved to Germany in the spring of 1990 just as the Berlin Wall was coming down. She ran away to Paris for one glorious weekend with her soldier husband, first-born baby and an enormous purple stroller. The three of them are best friends to this day. Rosanne is the author of Heart of a Shepherd, which has been honored as a Washington Post’s Best Kid’s Book of the Year, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Book of the Year and a Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year. She also plays the violin for which she has never been honored with a prize of any kind. She now lives with her husband in a old farmhouse in Portland, Oregon, where they raise four children, three chickens, five kinds of fruit and their voices in the occasional song. Visit Rosanne at rosanneparry.com.