Ding Dong the Diva's Dead

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Ding Dong the Diva's Dead

Deborah de Lille is an opera singer in the Washington State area. She hasn’t landed any really big roles and probably never will but she makes enough to get by so is fairly happy with what she is doing. As she nears the end of her current gig, introducing opera to school children, her agent is able to offer her a job playing a male in a small town company in Idaho. She jumps at the chance as she not only needs to pay her bills but there are some fairly well known singers in this little company!

Sven Gorsson is a 6 foot five inch gorgeous Swedish singer and the male lead for the company. He wanted out of his contract but his agent, the same one Deborah has, made a deal instead. If they wouldn’t let Sven out of his contract, they had to take Deborah. They took Deborah. Sven doesn’t worry Deborah in the least. From what everyone can figure out, he walks on the other side of the street, well, most of the time!

Reade Phillips is the owner of the company, the theater and much of Ville d’Aurore, ID. This isn’t because he was born to money. No, he won the lottery. Before that he was a detective. Reade is a major opera fan and clearly wants to bring good opera to his part of ID.

Things start going down hill very quickly for Deborah. Her motel is horrible, even after she gets it changed to a better one. She has several mishaps which end up with her being found by Reade pretty close to naked. And the other women in the company are pretty much bitches, except for the sexy lesbian director who would love to hook up with her.

This is a quirky and perky mystery with an operatic background. Things move along quickly throughout the story and each character is unique and different.

There are no real chapters but instead this story is broke down into scenes. Each scene is around 2 or 3 pages, though some are longer and some shorter. The story is entirely from Deborah’s point of view so if it doesn’t happen to her, you learn about it by third person.

A lot of bad things are happening while getting ready for this production. A group called The Enemies of Elitist Entertainment takes credit for some of them but there are plenty of other suspects running around with in the opera company. Rumor has it that one of the principle singers is cheating with the principle backer of the production and may even be pregnant! Apparently, Sven slept with two of the divas, though that isn’t his preferred sex. A resident ghost may be behind a few of the happenings. And there is plenty of possible motive with many of these characters.

Deborah’s character is very well done. She has an interfering family that makes several appearances and a rich life. Because this story is done from her perspective, you get her insights on many of the things going on. However, the rest of the characters aren’t as well rounded. You get an idea about them and learn about their possible motive on disrupting the production but you don’t get much else. There are a few romantic sparks that flare up from time to time so what to see if they flare up into something more.

I didn’t know anything about the opera that was the backdrop for this story but I sure did by the time I finished the story. What I really liked was the adaptation that was made of the opera. It was modernized and translated. I can’t think of a better way to learn about a fun and interesting opera. Also, it gave us a story inside a story.

Overall, I liked this book and didn’t want to put it down. Deborah’s adventures interested me. I also had to wonder how many times poor Deborah would be found naked and in public. As for who was causing all the problems. It sure wasn’t anyone I was thinking it might be but a couple of dead singers later and another time Deborah ends up naked in public and the culprit is exposed.

A cute fun mystery that has to make you smile. Now, I can’t wait to see what next.

Book Blurb for Ding Dong the Diva's Dead

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.


Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2011 4.50