Donna Leon’s Death at La Fenice, the first novel in her beloved Commissario Guido Brunetti series, introduced readers to the glamorous and cutthroat world of opera and one of Italy’s finest living sopranos, Flavia Petrelli;then a suspect in the poisoning of a renowned German conductor. Years after Brunetti cleared her name, Flavia has returned to Venice and La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca.
Brunetti and his wife, Paola, attend an early performance, and Flavia receives a standing ovation. Back in her dressing room, she finds bouquets of yellow roses too many roses. Every surface of the room is covered with them. An anonymous fan has been showering Flavia with these beautiful gifts in London, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, and now, Venice, but she no longer feels flattered. A few nights later, invited by Brunetti to dine at his in-laws’ palazzo, Flavia confesses her alarm at these excessive displays of adoration. And when a talented young Venetian singer who has caught Flavia’s attention is savagely attacked, Brunetti begins to think that Flavia’s fears are justified in ways neither of them imagined. He must enter in the psyche of an obsessive fan before Flavia, or anyone else, comes to harm.
The latest Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery, Falling in Love, reintroduces the famous soprano Flavia Petrelli years after their first meeting at the start of Donna Leon's series. Flavia is terrified by an extravagant secret admirer whose actions quickly escalate to stalking. Not only does she receive lavish gifts but somehow the giver is able to bypass security and leave these offering within Flavia's private spaces.
Flavia is already uncomfortable with the public side of her profession. As the admirer grows more and more bold, her fear and distress increase. When victims of violent attacks are somehow linked to Flavia, it's clear that her admirer is building up to a dangerous climax.
Once again, Donna Leon delivers a delightful glimpse into Brunetti's Venice. I particularly enjoyed the return of the old character, the friendship between Flavia and Brunetti adds another layer to the investigation. Brunetti and Paola, their children and the political sparring all make Falling in Love a fun installment in one of my favorite detective series.
About the Author:
A New Yorker of Irish/Spanish descent, Donna Leon first went to Italy in 1965, returning regularly over the next decade or so while pursuing a career as an academic in the States and then later in Iran, China and finally Saudi Arabia. Leon has received both the CWA Macallon Silver Dagger for Fiction and the German Corrine Prize for her novels featuring Commisario Guido Brunetti. She lives in Venice.