Monday, February 9, 2015

Falling in Love by Donna Leon

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 quantities 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, quickly establishes that sense of “something wicked this way comes.”
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.  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. 
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 done.

FALLING IN LOVE (Pol. Proc – Comm. Guido Brunetti – Venice, Italy – Contemp) – VG+
Leon, Donna - 24th in series
Atlantic Monthly Press – April, 2015

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