Ding Dong the Diva’s Dead (246 pp, $13.95/paper, $24.95/cloth, ISBNs: 978-1-60381-807-0/978-1-60381-808-7) is a cozy murder mystery by Cat Melodia that takes place in the world of second-string opera singers.
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“After the first couple of sentences I was giggling uncontrollably, deciding to start it from the beginning, as it should be read. Granted, being fluent in more than one language certainly helped me to catch some of the well-placed barbs, but even without that I would have found the book to be an absolute delight …. Ding Dong the Diva’s Dead is a well-paced and utterly charming mystery. Its cast of characters, although large enough to be difficult to keep track of, was extraordinarily charming, even when it came to the villains. The dialogue, the story line, the twists and turns, author’s obvious insider knowledge of all opera related things and her wicked sense of humor kept me turning the pages until I finished reading the story late the same day. My favorite part? It would have to be some of the names. Kopfschlager, Perlmutter, Mannschliesser and Poubelle? Chapeau, Madame Melodia, and “Brava!” for sure. I would recommend Ding Dong the Diva’s Dead to any lover of unpredictable mysteries with a hefty dose of intelligent humor. If this person happens to be an opera lover, even better – but I certainly do not believe love of opera would limit the enjoyment of this clever whodunit.”
–Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views
4.5 out of 5—Top Pick: “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 …. 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 ….”
—Terri, Night Owl Reviews Read More …
“It’s Bloody Backstage At The Opera. Wonderful fun, and just as snotty as any theatrical company can be.”
—Donna Barr, “The Desert Peach”
Praise from singers in the trenches:
“An entertaining romp through some of the unglamorous parts of being a professional musician, with intrigue to boot.”
—Sara Jobin, Opera Conductor
“Cat Melodia knows the score … the opera score, that is. Her witty debut as a mystery writer sparkles, with backstabbing divas, clever repartee, backstage antics, budding romances, and enough background color to leave her readers—as well as dyed-in-the-wool opera fans—shouting ‘Encore!’ ”
—Nanette McGuinness, Lyric Soprano
“I read it straight through—very entertaining (and I hardly ever read fiction anymore)! It really kept me turning the pages, and I could ‘see’ the action—it would make a fun movie. Singers will find it amusing from an inside-baseball viewpoint, and non-singers get a glimpse of the (albeit elegant) sausage factory of regional opera along with the mystery story—and maybe develop a bit of sympathy for us struggling artistes!”
—Andrea Matthews, Lyric Soprano
Deborah de Lille is an opera singer—in the least grand sense. Her future looks bleak … until her agent finagles her a role with a small-town company. Offenbach’s spooky opera, Tales of Hoffmann, features three leading ladies. The cast is well-acquainted, and familiarity has bred contempt. Debbie is the outsider, and someone is hell-bent on driving her out with smoke bombs, ghostly visitations, and booby-traps. If she stays the course, will opening night mean “curtains” for Debbie?
“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.”
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. Check out her blog: DingDongDiva.Camelpress.com.
Ding Dong the Diva’s Dead is available in Kindle ($4.95) and print editions on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, and Amazon Japan. Bookstores and libraries can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Ingram. Other ebooks versions can be purchased on Smashwords ($4.95) or through most major distributors. Libraries can also order from Follett Library Resources or Midwest Library Service.