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Ding Dong the Diva’s Dead by Cat Melodia

Ding Dong the Diva’s Dead by Cat Melodia
* I received a copy of this book from Tribute Books in exchange for an honest review*

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.

Deborah de Lille is an opera singer that has been performing in small community theater’s playing roles where she wears the pants.  She doesn’t mind but has dreams of one day making it big.  With the help of her agent Frankie, she has a small role in The Tales of Hoffman at Ville d’Aurore Opera.  She sets out for the opera house with her mother’s warning in her ears but what could go wrong right?

The opera is full of Diva’s literally.  The Diva’s seem to have something on the cast and everyone seems afraid of them.  They all steer clear of them as much as possible.  Debbie happens to overhear a conversation at Starbucks and she immediately makes their list.  They either ignore her or treat her with disdain.  She just wants to perform her role and tries to keep to herself.

Every time she turns around though someone has targeted her trying to injure her and get her out of the play.  Each time, Reade not only seems to come to her rescue but he has to provide her with his jacket for cover too.  She can’t figure out why someone would target her, her part is a small part in the overall play but is determined to stick it out. The opening night performance is one she will never forget.

Debbie tries to melt into the woodwork and stay out of the politics of the opera.  She has made a few friends but she’s really not sure she can trust anyone.  She’s a good opera singer but has resigned herself to playing male roles, she’s not a lead.  She is thrilled to be playing the part of Nicklausse and getting the second part is icing on the cake, now to protect her parts.

This story is full of interesting characters that help add to the mystery of what is going on.  I love Corabell’s interpretation of the play and how she modernized it.

My only problem with the story was that Debbie used too many movie or opera references.  She would be describing something or someone and then on top of the description, she references a movie or opera.  It became a distraction after awhile.

Overall I enjoyed the Ding Dong the Diva’s Dead and give it 3½ Flaming Hearts.


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