Falling in Love: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery


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Attending a performance by a opera star he saved in Death at La Fenice, Brunetti learns that the singer is being stalked by an obsessed fan who subsequently attacks a fellow performer.

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Apr 2, 2016

A Painfully-Thin Plot

Our mystery begins with Italian Soprano Flavia Petrelli returning to Venice to sing the lead roll in the opera Tosca. Flavia has graced Donna Leon's pages twice before; in "Death at La Fenice", and then again in "Acqua Alta. " Now, Flavia is an international star. Leon shows what famous people like Flavia (actually any public personality) experiences, no matter where they work: Fans who want a piece of her, the loss of privacy and the conflicts between artists.

Flavia becomes frightened when a fan starts stalking her and showering her with hundreds of yellow roses and expensive gifts. Things take a dangerous turn when people in Flavia's life are attacked. She turns to her old friend Guido Brunnetti for help.

All the usual suspects are there, including Signorina Elettra, Guido's family and ever-present Lt. Scarpa (going after the weakest of the policemen at the Questura).

It is not surprising that Donna Leon returns to opera because readers know she is extremely fond of this particular form of entertainment. She certainly has a grasp of the complexities of a diva's life. However, readers need to be prepared for a subtle and slow-moving story. I was prepared for the slow pace but I was not prepared for the abrupt ending. I was also dismayed by the thin plot.

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