Ding Dong the Diva's Dead by Cat Melodia
Source: Received to Review
Age Recommendation: Adult
Content Warning: Sexual Innuendo and Swearing
Description from Goodreads: Deborah de Lille is an opera singer—in the least grand sense. Debbie doesn’t foresee a future beyond Handel Messiahs and low-budget tours ... until her agent finagles her a minor role with a small-town company. The artists assembled for this production of Offenbach’s spooky opera, Tales of Hoffmann, have more than opera on their minds. Their games of love are not for the faint of heart, and the cutthroat atmosphere may have become literal. How far are they willing to go to advance their careers and even the score? The singer Debbie replaced died under suspicious circumstances, and after another minor player bows out suddenly, she is also given her role. Now she has two small roles that no one in their right mind would kill for. So, either someone isn’t in their right mind, or the close calls threatening Debbie’s safety are all unlucky coincidences. Add to the mix three preening tenors, a sexy lesbian director, a vengeful conductor, an obscenely rich and Hollywood-handsome general director, a fading Italian pop star, a trio of bitchy leading sopranos, an ambitious understudy, countless attention-starved underlings, an anti-opera terrorist group, a resident ghost, and Debbie’s kooky and dysfunctional friends and family, and you have an opening night that promises to genuinely thrill and chill.
My thoughts: Amazing what can go wrong when inflated egos, jealousy, revenge, and lust are the background elements in an opera production. Of course, this is all behind scenes action, not necessarily what is happening onstage.
Debbie has taken a role in a production that the previous diva took an unfortunate dive off of a cliff. She is thrown into a cast that is having issues. Unexpected accidents and the resident ghost try to lure her away. She is committed to furthering her career and seeing it through.
The book is told with humor and introduces the reader to the world of an opera production. I believe that this production is overly dramatic which adds to the humor and interest. I was thinking that I should have had Colleen review this book. She is the opera singer reviewer on this blog. Instead I talked to her a little about it and she laughed and said that she had seen some of the background drama and that Cat did describe the production of an opera well.
At the beginning of the book, cat Melodia, struggles to find her writing voice. It took her a bit to her into her stride, once she did the story was more enjoyable to read.
I only recommend this book to mature readers due to the sexual innuendo that is a major theme of the book.
About Cat Melodia: Cat Melodia is the nom de plume of a Seattle-based mezzo soprano and voice teacher. Like her heroine, she often wears the pants on stage. Three of her opera adaptations/translations have been performed at community colleges. She has a Bachelor’s Degree cum laude in German Literature from Princeton and a Master’s in Music.
“I don’t think the general public realizes how unglamorous the lives of opera singers can be—at least those of the 99.9 percent who don’t hit the big time,” Melodia says. “The world of operatic also-rans is a goldmine of humor, peopled as it is with larger-than-life characters whose insecurity, desperation and envy make them unusually good murder suspects. Most of what happens in my book is unlikely in the extreme, but there is more truth to it than you might suppose.”
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Reviews by Molly