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Falling in Love

Summary Falling in Love

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 Br Here in Venice a city where she had spent a great deal of time and where she should know a lot of people she had no desire to mingle with her colleagues a baritone who spoke only of his success a conductor who disliked her and found the feeling hard to disguise and a tenor who seemed to have fallen in love with her – with certainly no encouragement from herSoprano Flavia Petrelli is back in Venice performing the lead role in Puccini's Tosca at La Fenice Now in her early forties divorced with two almost grown children she is at the height of her career undertaking a demanding programme of appearances She met Guido Brunetti years earlier when falsely accused of murder and now she needs his help again to save her from an unhinged fan following her from London to St Petersburg and now to Venice showering her in bouuets of yellow roses These flowers made no sense they should have been a compliment to her talent sent in appreciation of a good performance Instead she felt in them menace and something stronger than that something approaching madnessEvents escalate when a young contralto whose voice Flavia compliments is assaulted and left for dead on the streets of Venice raising concerns for Flavia’s own safety Brunetti gave thanks that he lived in a country where a woman who had just spoken of being in fear of her life would put on eyeliner and lipstick for ten minute walk across a deserted city after midnightI admit that had not given a great deal of thought to the concept of opera singers as “vocal athletes” yet the comparisons to sports stars are there swap wigs and costumes for sportswear both trainpractice for performances the travel and hotels taking care of diet and health Both have a loyal following of fans This book takes the reader backstage at La Fenice to dressing rooms and rehearsal rooms and from the stage manager and stage hands to the dressers and orchestra and the security guard I learned so muchWe have the familiar character of Commissario Guido Brunetti happily married to Paola an avid reader and their two now teenage children Brunetti goes home for lunch and gets on well with his in laws At work he is answerable to the Vice uestore Giuseppe Patta and Lieutenant Scarpa whom he uietly despises and works well with his colleagues including the formidable secretary Signorina Elettra and forensic technician Bocchese There is a constant whiff of corruption and a general distrust the Venetians harbour against those from other parts of Italy who moved there to further their careers Then there is the growing disuiet at the cruise ships disgorging thousands of tourists proven by recent events to be well founded and the tackiness of souvenirsWhat I really liked about this one is that it is only late in the story that the identity of the stalker is revealed and the strength of Donna Leon’s writing is that each book is complete unto itself allowing a reader to pick a Brunetti novel at random and enjoy the fine writing evoking the sights and sounds of Venice

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Unetti and his wife Paola attend an early performance and Flavia receives a standing ovation Back in her dressing room she finds bouuets 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 invite First Sentence The woman knelt over her lover her face her entire body stiff with terror staring at the blood on her hand Flavia Petrelli the operatic soprano from “Death at La Fenice” has returned to Venice singing the lead in “Tosca” Although is it usually flattering to receive flowers an anonymous fan seems to be following Flavia around Europe sending her increasing uantities of yellow roses Although it’s disturbing things change when a young singer with whom Flavia spoke is brutally attacked Leon opens the story in a way that conveys drama and excitement and without an obvious portent still establishes that sense of “something wicked this way comes” For those who read Leon’s first book “Death at La Fenice” it is nice to see one of the characters return For those who did not there is no feeling of information missing Leon has such a wonderful voice and subtle humor When referring to Brunetti’s mother in law ”The fact that she did not mention the year of that debut only reminded Brunetti that the Contessa’s family had contributed a large number of diplomats to both the Vatican and the Italian state” The characters come alive One cannot help but admire and perhaps envy a bit the relationship Brunetti has with his family Not only is it enjoyable to have him be happily married but scenes with his family are always natural and delightful One also sees his pride at being a Venetian On the other hand Signorina Elettra secretary to Brunetti’s boss is intriguing and enigmatic which only adds to her appeal The plot is well paced and fascinating in its addressing the subject of fans particularly obsessive fans; the physiology of fandom and the effect being stalked has on the victim “Falling in Love” is yet another excellent book from Ms Leon The sense of threat and danger is subtle but very well doneFALLING IN LOVE Pol Proc – Comm Guido Brunetti – Venice Italy – Contemp – VGLeon Donna 24th in seriesAtlantic Monthly Press – April 2015

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D 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 fraught and rather bloody opening scene had me wondering what exactly had happened to the usually uieter and internalized Donna Leon until the heroine leapt from atop Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo and I realized Commissario Brunetti was sitting at La Fenice watching the finale to Puccini’s TOSCA In this book Leon revisits the world and characters of opera that she first explored 24 books earlier—a subject she knows well I’ve heard that some of her royalties went toward underwriting the late Alan Curtis’s Baroue opera productions in Italy She also has Brunetti characterize the opera as “that shabby little shocker” which suggests either Brunetti or the author had been reading the late Joseph Kerman’s opera criticism from almost 70 years ago Once the curtain comes down Leon returns to her accustomed style Venetian milieu and the familiar characters whom her fans happily read about The freuent topographical references as Brunetti explores the Venetian lagoon and the numerous musical references may trouble readers who bristle at feeling left out of the in crowd but are no a stumbling block for readers than when Jonathan Kellerman has Alex Delaware zipping around the highways and byways of LA Once again plot seems chiefly to provide readers with the excuse to engage with all the familiar characters and the city that make Leon’s novels a pleasure to read Tales From The Darkside Vol. 1 usually Stained Glass Pattern Book uieter and internalized Donna Leon Figment (Insanity, until the heroine leapt from atop Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo and I realized Commissario Brunetti was sitting at La Fenice watching the finale to Puccini’s TOSCA In this book Leon revisits the world and characters of opera that she first explored 24 books earlier—a subject she knows well I’ve heard that some of her royalties went toward The Innocent Flame of Seduction – A Tale of Love and Loyalty in Medieval Ireland underwriting the late Alan Curtis’s Baroue opera productions in Italy She also has Brunetti characterize the opera as “that shabby little shocker” which suggests either Brunetti or the author had been reading the late Joseph Kerman’s opera criticism from almost 70 years ago Once the curtain comes down Leon returns to her accustomed style Venetian milieu and the familiar characters whom her fans happily read about The freuent topographical references as Brunetti explores the Venetian lagoon and the numerous musical references may trouble readers who bristle at feeling left out of the in crowd but are no a stumbling block for readers than when Jonathan Kellerman has Alex Delaware zipping around the highways and byways of LA Once again plot seems chiefly to provide readers with the excuse to engage with all the familiar characters and the city that make Leon’s novels a pleasure to read


10 thoughts on “Falling in Love

  1. says:

    If you like the excitement of a gruesome murder and the ensuing chase of a cynical serial killer then you’d better look elsewhere On the other hand if you enjoy observing the native Venetians as they go about their daily routines and listening to them as they bemoan the ‘loss of the city that was’ then this might just be the place for you Little of criminal conseuence happens in this book – well insufficient you’d think to occupy a high ranking police officer and his team – but there is plenty to delight existing fans of the series and anyone who just loves the city and its peopleI think Venice is the most wonderful of all cities it’s just so different from anywhere else Already enchanted by Donna Leon’s Brunetti books I travelled to the municipality some years ago with my wife and then young son I’d already circled on my tourist map the location of the uestura police station that features in all of the books and is home to Brunetti and his colleagues Determined to track it down I dragged our small group around through and over the calli and canals until I came to the spot marked on my map I knew that in reality the police had moved to a new site some years ago and there would be no sign to identify the building Nonetheless I was convinced I had enough of a description to be able to spot it and therefore gaze upon the office window Brunetti regularly stands before as he ruminates upon his latest case But I just couldn’t identify the building We didn’t spend long there – my companions were anxious to track down the nearest gelateria – so I left disappointed The rub to the tale is upon my return to the UK I checked my map against available reference material only to find that I was looking on the wrong side of the canal The building I’d had my back to as I scanned the area of which I have no memory at all was the fabled uestoraLeon has written 24 books now featuring Venice based policemen Commissario Guido Brunetti The cast have barely changed his wife and children feature prominently as do his boss the pompous Vice uestore Patta and his other work colleagues Every time I pick up a new book I instantly feel at home and am transported immediately to this delightful place In this latest episode we are returned to the scene of the original crime described in the very first Brunetti book Death at La Fenice This time the volume of yellow roses lavished upon her by an adoring yet anonymous fan spooks a renowned opera singer well I did say not to expect a hunt for a serial killerAs always with this series it’s the small things I love There is much talk of food lentils with hot salami and candied currants veal roll filled with sweet sausage and Brunetti is apt to put his temporary lethargy down to the simple fact he’s had insufficient coffee A glass of wine with your lunch? Not a problem – even if there are witnesses to interrogate laterIt’s all wrapped up nicely in the end and here’s a nice mix of humour and pathos Moreover we’re able to track another period in the lives of this long running cast Time for a coffee or maybe a glass of Prosecco it’d be rude not to


  2. says:

    This 24th Commisario Brunetti mystery is an exception in this series as a former main character Flavia Petrelli makes another appearance This rarely happens in Donna Leon's books apart from the main castBrunetti's family and friends the police corps and the people working in the various places Brunetti freuently visits all characters usually don't appear than once I was looking forward to this because Flavia is a very memorable character and it had been a while since her last appearanceI also enjoyed that parts of the book were told from her perspective also something uncommon in this series The setting at the opera was also well chosen It reminded me of the first book Death at La Fenice one of the most memorable and best crime novels I've ever readBut even though all the conditions were set for me to expect a great mystery I still found the book rather mediocre I found Brunetti and his colleagues uite slow witted my Italian is very rudimental but I saw the meaning of É mia much faster than any of the police did I also found Signorina Elettra's strike rather ridiculous and wondered why no one found Alvise's suspension without payment weird On the positive side I liked the idea of the stalker something I find very scary The show down was great but I wish that the stalker hadn't died and we would have found out about her motives and why it was exactly Flavia she was afterI received a free digital copy via Netgalleythe publisher in exchange for an honest review Thanks for the opportunity


  3. says:

    Here in Venice a city where she had spent a great deal of time and where she should know a lot of people she had no desire to mingle with her colleagues a baritone who spoke only of his success a conductor who disliked her and found the feeling hard to disguise and a tenor who seemed to have fallen in love with her – with certainly no encouragement from herSoprano Flavia Petrelli is back in Venice performing the lead role in Puccini's Tosca at La Fenice Now in her early forties divorced with two almost grown children she is at the height of her career undertaking a demanding programme of appearances She met Guido Brunetti years earlier when falsely accused of murder and now she needs his help again to save her from an unhinged fan following her from London to St Petersburg and now to Venice showering her in bouuets of yellow roses These flowers made no sense they should have been a compliment to her talent sent in appreciation of a good performance Instead she felt in them menace and something stronger than that something approaching madnessEvents escalate when a young contralto whose voice Flavia compliments is assaulted and left for dead on the streets of Venice raising concerns for Flavia’s own safety Brunetti gave thanks that he lived in a country where a woman who had just spoken of being in fear of her life would put on eyeliner and lipstick for ten minute walk across a deserted city after midnightI admit that had not given a great deal of thought to the concept of opera singers as “vocal athletes” yet the comparisons to sports stars are there swap wigs and costumes for sportswear both trainpractice for performances the travel and hotels taking care of diet and health Both have a loyal following of fans This book takes the reader backstage at La Fenice to dressing rooms and rehearsal rooms and from the stage manager and stage hands to the dressers and orchestra and the security guard I learned so muchWe have the familiar character of Commissario Guido Brunetti happily married to Paola an avid reader and their two now teenage children Brunetti goes home for lunch and gets on well with his in laws At work he is answerable to the Vice uestore Giuseppe Patta and Lieutenant Scarpa whom he uietly despises and works well with his colleagues including the formidable secretary Signorina Elettra and forensic technician Bocchese There is a constant whiff of corruption and a general distrust the Venetians harbour against those from other parts of Italy who moved there to further their careers Then there is the growing disuiet at the cruise ships disgorging thousands of tourists proven by recent events to be well founded and the tackiness of souvenirsWhat I really liked about this one is that it is only late in the story that the identity of the stalker is revealed and the strength of Donna Leon’s writing is that each book is complete unto itself allowing a reader to pick a Brunetti novel at random and enjoy the fine writing evoking the sights and sounds of Venice


  4. says:

    By all accounts Donna Leon’s long running series of detective novels featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti is widely popular even loved I wish I could understand whyFalling in Love the 24th installment in Leon’s series is an insipid tale of an opera diva and her violence prone stalker I kept reading until the end in hopes that something at least mildly interesting would happen No such luck Instead the painfully slow moving action is further retarded at far too many places by useless verbiage such as the following“Paola said she’d bring coffee into the living room or — if he thought it was warm enough — they could drink it on the terrace It wasn’t warm enough so Brunetti went to the sofa and thought about literature When Paolo joined him a few minutes later two cups of coffee on a wooden tray ”Snooze There is no excuse for such boneheaded excess And don’t think for a minute that that was an isolated example Here or less at random is another one“He called Vianello who must have been at home or at least in a place where there was a television for in the background Brunetti could hear the patently artificial voices of the Italian speakers who did the voice over for foreign films Vianello told him to wait and the sound diminished as he moved away from it”El Leonard would gag if he read filler copy like this I certainly did It’s reminiscent of the bad old days when the writers of genre fiction were paid by the wordBut wait — there’s The novel is punctuated by dialogue in Italian that’s nowhere translated into English; I complain when pretentious writers do that with French which at least is spoken by a halfway reasonable number of people so I regard a showoff in Italian as a worse offenderIf the plot of Falling in Love were interesting — if it were than a simple straightforward linear story — some of this nonsense might be excusable Regrettably nothing relieves the tedium of the boring plot line in this unfortunate excuse for a mystery


  5. says:

    Everyone in this book is tired They actually say they are tired and I believe them so was I after reading this last sad entry in Donna Leon's once marvelous Guido Brunetti series Venice is dying overrun by tourists and immigrants from points south Leon's dream world that gave power to a few honest souls with courage a sense of justice and devotion to family a special city great food and a handful of friends is dead Soprano Flavia Petrelli is back for an encore performance in Tosca in Venice but the magic is gone Death at La Fenice and Acua Alta both featuring Flavia had suspense brilliant characters and a rich sense of place But Flavia is almost unrecognizable and all of the elements that made those books special are missing in this phone it in seuel The jacket blurb noted that Leon now divides her time between Venice and Switzerland I'm guessing that she spends most of her time in her Swiss enclave The sense of furious righteousness that gave her Brunetti novels their strength has succumbed to old age and disillusionment I sort of liked the opera bits but the plot was thin and the denouement so predictable that I guessed it half way though It's sad to see an author force herself to write when her heart is no longer in it


  6. says:

    First Sentence The woman knelt over her lover her face her entire body stiff with terror staring at the blood on her hand Flavia Petrelli the operatic soprano from “Death at La Fenice” has returned to Venice singing the lead in “Tosca” Although is it usually flattering to receive flowers an anonymous fan seems to be following Flavia around Europe sending her increasing uantities of yellow roses Although it’s disturbing things change when a young singer with whom Flavia spoke is brutally attacked Leon opens the story in a way that conveys drama and excitement and without an obvious portent still establishes that sense of “something wicked this way comes” For those who read Leon’s first book “Death at La Fenice” it is nice to see one of the characters return For those who did not there is no feeling of information missing Leon has such a wonderful voice and subtle humor When referring to Brunetti’s mother in law ”The fact that she did not mention the year of that debut only reminded Brunetti that the Contessa’s family had contributed a large number of diplomats to both the Vatican and the Italian state” The characters come alive One cannot help but admire and perhaps envy a bit the relationship Brunetti has with his family Not only is it enjoyable to have him be happily married but scenes with his family are always natural and delightful One also sees his pride at being a Venetian On the other hand Signorina Elettra secretary to Brunetti’s boss is intriguing and enigmatic which only adds to her appeal The plot is well paced and fascinating in its addressing the subject of fans particularly obsessive fans; the physiology of fandom and the effect being stalked has on the victim “Falling in Love” is yet another excellent book from Ms Leon The sense of threat and danger is subtle but very well doneFALLING IN LOVE Pol Proc – Comm Guido Brunetti – Venice Italy – Contemp – VGLeon Donna 24th in seriesAtlantic Monthly Press – April 2015


  7. says:

    Donna Leon's mysteries are not your standard police procedural see if you can solve the crime stories You are not going to be able to figure this one out so just let the mostly congenial gang at the uestura police department handle the investigation and enjoy the gondola ride through VeniceIf you're a regular reader of Donna Leon you'll enjoy the banter between Guido and his wife Paola and between Guido and his colleagues If you are new to these mysteries you will no doubt find the pace slow and the mystery so subtle as to be nearly nonexistent The pace is something that comes with the territory which is of course Venice nicknamed La Serenissima The Serene One No car chases here The drama in Falling in Love is provided by the opera Tosca which features the center of our attention Flavia Petrelli a diva that Guido met in the very first mystery in the series Death at La Fenice Back for another encore she appeared in at least one book Flavia is feeling stalked by an anonymous fan who is leaving her too many flowers and giving her ostentatious gifts Guido isn't too concerned until another singer that Flavia has recently met is assaulted and left for dead The action picks up in the second act and as the music reaches a crescendo there's a dramatic confrontation that threatens to mimic the opera's tragic ending Meanwhile back at the uestura the usually hyper efficient Signorina Elettra makes a wrong move in her computer hacking and may have jeopardized her own career as well as Guido's and several others So plenty of atmosphere banter Venetian delicacies opera and yes even a mystery thrown in for good measureThanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for a digital review copy


  8. says:

    I was very happy to win this book as it's one of a series and I do love mystery series Having said thatWell I'm a sucker for a good mystery Especially set in a foreign country with an inspector his sidekicks and assistants his long running feud with superiors etc etc Give me a new one that's pretty good and I'm in heavenThis didn't turn out to be one of those A bit long winded when it comes to obsessing over trivial and frivolous matters this writer just isn't doing it for me Also obsessed with repetition commas and endless phrases in every fourth or fifth sentence something which left me confused and often flabbergasted I read several chapters in found myself constantly re reading whole paragraphs because on the first read they just didn't make sense But I told myself once I got into the 'swing' of so many phrases and commas and repetition the book would just breeze alongIt didn't Then I thought wellone must really allow for artistic license the writer's writing style the witty dialogue and banter did I just say banter? Let me say it again Banter this and that and if there are people bowing say it once twice say it a dozen times And the scene with the roses How many ways can one say roses? At least a dozenHowever if one does love a story filled with banalities and an excess of dwelling on the obvious this is surely the book for him or her or them or anyone Just not the book for me


  9. says:

    The fraught and rather bloody opening scene had me wondering what exactly had happened to the usually uieter and internalized Donna Leon until the heroine leapt from atop Rome’s Castel Sant’Angelo and I realized Commissario Brunetti was sitting at La Fenice watching the finale to Puccini’s TOSCA In this book Leon revisits the world and characters of opera that she first explored 24 books earlier—a subject she knows well I’ve heard that some of her royalties went toward underwriting the late Alan Curtis’s Baroue opera productions in Italy She also has Brunetti characterize the opera as “that shabby little shocker” which suggests either Brunetti or the author had been reading the late Joseph Kerman’s opera criticism from almost 70 years ago Once the curtain comes down Leon returns to her accustomed style Venetian milieu and the familiar characters whom her fans happily read about The freuent topographical references as Brunetti explores the Venetian lagoon and the numerous musical references may trouble readers who bristle at feeling left out of the in crowd but are no a stumbling block for readers than when Jonathan Kellerman has Alex Delaware zipping around the highways and byways of LA Once again plot seems chiefly to provide readers with the excuse to engage with all the familiar characters and the city that make Leon’s novels a pleasure to read


  10. says:

    This is #24 in the series and I don't know if I'm tired of Guido Brunetti and Venice or if I just didn't like the return of Flavia Petrelli for the third time as a damsel in distress She was not a likable character in this book She played of the prima donna in Falling in Love I found her a much sympathetic character in Death at La Fenice and Acua Alta In this book she wants help but doesn't want to cooperate with the Commissario and acts like he's beneath her I tend to believe it's the return of Flavia that detracts from the book It's hard to be sympathetic to an arrogant characterFlavia Petrelli the famous opera star has a fan that seems to be a little too ardent This fan is like a stalker showering her almost everywhere she goes with countless yellow roses and ultimately a priceless necklace This fan also seems to be getting into places they shouldn't be able to get into Flavia also start missing articles from her dressing room such as her address book People that this fan thinks are too close to Flavia are being attackedThe characters in this book seem very flat even Commissario Brunetti I was very disappointed in this book I will probably read the next one just to see if it's any betterI am posting this review on Goodreads and


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