Grace Krispy's Reviews > Ding Dong the Diva's Dead

Ding Dong the Diva's Dead by Cat Melodia
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Nov 02, 2011

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Read in October, 2011

It’s said that authors should write what they know, and Cat Melodia, a Seattle-based mezzo soprano and voice teacher, has certainly followed that rule of thumb. I have a pretty good vocabulary, but I found I had to look up several words in this story– all opera terms, as it turns out. I liked the look into the mysterious (to me) world of opera, and the author is obviously well-versed in the details of opera life, however, sometimes the narrative felt like it went a little too far into the tedium. For readers unfamiliar with this life, it might be too many details bogging down the storyline. Additionally, Debbie has an affinity for movie and literature references, and several of those went right over my head. All the references felt somewhat personal, like they would appeal most to someone with Debbie’s same interests, potentially leaving an awful lot of readers out in the cold.

Excessive references aside, the writing style was interesting and easy to read and in line with many “cozy” mysteries. The author’s skill in description was apparent, which made the book even more fun to read. I found the characters entertaining, although some seemed almost like caricatures. Caricatures of personality types don’t detract from a quirky cozy, in my opinion, so these characters fit the general feel of the book. An overriding feeling I had, however, was that the entire book seemed like it was somewhere between a crazy, fun ride, and a more serious mystery. While I liked most of the characters, and I liked most of the writing, nothing really stood out to me. It almost felt like the story hadn’t found its niche yet, or couldn’t decide whether to be serious or quirky. I think the excessive opera description served to pull down the lighthearted, somewhat eccentric feel the author may have been intending. With a little less effort on the sharing of information, and a little more lighthearted feel to the storyline, I think this book would have firmly found its place.

I found the book enjoyable, overall, and I can see this spinning out into a nice series with Debbie de Lille smack dab in the middle of some madcap adventures. She’s got a personality that would draw me to another of her books, if only to find out what craziness she found herself in. Although I did appreciate getting a little more insight into the world of opera, I think it’s possible to share information while still keeping the story light and fun, and that would be my wish for the next book.

3.5 /5 stars at GraceKrispy's MotherLode review blog
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