Flavia Petrelli, a renowned opera singer, appeared in the very first Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery, in which he saved her life. Now, 27 novels later, she reappears singing Tosca at the Venice opera house, La Fenice. In the first book, she was a suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor. Now, she is the victim of an unidentified admirer who inundates her with yellow roses, not only in Venice, but in London and St. Petersburg, where she had sung earlier.
The plot unfolds as the soprano becomes more and more concerned about the flowers, especially when she arrives at the apartment she is temporarily occupying and finds more roses. How was the person who delivered them able to enter the building? The Commissario and his wife, Paola, attend an early performance and meet with the singer following the opera and invite her to dinner at his titled in-laws. During dinner, Brunetti learns of her fears and begins to connect her apprehensions with another case he is investigating, that of an assault on a young woman who was pushed down the steps of a bridge resulting in a broken arm and stitches on her head.
The story gives the author the means to not only highlight Venice and its attributes, as is usual in the series, but also the world of opera and the mind of a stalker, as he narrows his efforts to nab the culprit before any further harm occurs. Somehow, some of the endearing aspects of prior novels are downplayed in this latest effort. Brunetti’s prodigious appetite is muted, relegated too often to the equivalent of fast food restaurants; the more-than-adequately described succulent meals (and recipes) Paola prepares are seemingly offered as an afterthought; the tender relationship between husband and wife is almost ignored as well as the precociousness of the son and daughter, much less the conversations over the dinner (or luncheon) table we have come to love. While these are charming, their lack hardly takes away from the Commissario’s skills as a detective as he pursues the case.
The novel is well worth reading, and recommended....Continua