My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Donna Leon is back in full glory in this latest of her books featuring the scholarly Venetian police detective, Guido Brunetti and all our other favorite characters: his erudite wife Paula, his children, his side kick Vianello, and the secretarial worker of miracles, Signorina Elettra.
In Falling in Love, we are re-introduced to opera singer Flavia Petrelli, a woman Brunetti had occasion to save twice before in Aqua Alta, and toward whom he felt more than a passing attraction. In Falling in Love, she is the target of a violent stalker.
But the subject of the book matters little. What does matter is that we are seeing Leon in absolutely top form here. I had feared after her last couple of books that she had tired of her creation and wanted to kill him off, as Agatha Christie finally did with Poirot. Clearly I was wrong, because Falling in Love is as strong and compelling a read as her much earlier ones that also revolved around opera and singers, Aqua Alta and Death at La Fenice. This is every bit as good a read as those two. Her intimate knowledge about, and love of, opera infuses the pages as does her intense dislike of Tosca, the opera that frames the book.
Of course she manages always to infuse the pages with a sense of the setting, Venice, and Brunetti’s (Leon’s) sorrow at the “decline of the city and its gradual transformation into Disneyland on the Adriatic”…a feeling all of us who knew Venice back when, share.
This is a Leon to put on your bookshelf and keep. And by the way, Chapter One is a tour de force even if you are among the few who instantly recognize what you are reading.
Recommended most highly to all lovers of detective stories, and to all readers who simply enjoy reading a highly literate book of any kind.
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4 out of 5 Stars - Deb Sanders, DebSanders.com
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