Friday, October 28, 2011

DING DONG THE DIVA'S DEAD: A COZY MYSTERY REVIEW AND BONUS ENTRIES

GIVEAWAY ENDED
DING DONG THE 
DIVA'S DEAD
A Debbie de Lille Murder Mystery
BY CAT MELODIA

MORE ABOUT THE BOOK:
AN OPERA CAREER CAN BE MURDER: Deborah de Lille is an opera singer—in the least grand sense. Debbie doesn’t foresee a future beyond Handel Messiahs and low-budget tours ... until her agent finagles her a minor 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?


PRAISE FOR DING DONG THE DIVA'S DEAD:
"I loved this novel! It introduced me to a world I knew nothing of, and gave me a new perspective on murder mysteries. I really enjoyed the humor and the rollicking parody of the very genre she is working in."
Peter G. Beidler, Author of A Reader's Companion to Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

“It’s Bloody Backstage At The Opera. Wonderful fun, and just as snotty as any theatrical company can be.”
Donna Barr, “The Desert Peach” 

"A good ol' bodice ripping sexual fever dream and an easy-reading page burner. Self-deprecatingly funny, sophisticated, and observant."
Tim Askew, CEO/Founder, Corporate Rain, International, and former operatic tenor 


“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

“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

READ AN EXCERPT FROM DING DONG THE DIVA'S DEAD:
Visit Scribd. to read an excerpt from Cat Melodia's new book, DING DONG THE DIVA'S DEAD by going HERE.

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cat Melodia, a Seattle-based mezzo soprano and voice teacher, has a Bachelor’s Degree cum laude in German Literature from Princeton and a Master’s in Music. About her book, she says:

“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.

MY THOUGHTS/REVIEW:
As someone who has only started reading "cozy mysteries" of late, I think it is fair for me to review, or share my thoughts about, the first mystery that Cat Melodia has written. In DING DONG THE DIVA'S DEAD, I found myself in a world I know a little about, but you know what they say about a little knowledge is a dangerous thing! So although I don’t know opera well, I do know how to appreciate a well written, enjoyable mystery.

Deborah de Lille is working small town musicals/operas at local schools and such, when her agent calls to rescue her. An opera company has lost a cast member in a car accident/suicide (?) and needs a quick replacement. Thus Deborah gets the small role in “Tales of Hoffman”, a somewhat menacing opera by Offenbach. The rest of this cast of zany characters know each other well and Deborah finds it hard to fit in. The prankster cast doesn’t make it easy on her either. What starts out with seemingly innocent gags, like a smoke bomb, escalates and Deborah begins to feel that there really is danger ahead for her. When another cast mate who has a small role leaves the show, Debbie takes over that part as well. The subsequent danger she faces is what creates the real mystery in this story. It is almost as if someone is jealous of her which she can’t understand in that she is playing two minor, unimpressive in her mind, roles.

Word of caution, the well-developed characters keep the story moving but there are a lot of them. With their names as well as the parts they play in the operas, it is easy to be confused. Cat has kindly included a “Playbill” like cast of characters from “Tales of Hoffman” that does help in some cases to keep players straight. The other references to opera were mostly foreign to me but using context clues and imagery, I was able to get around truly understanding all of that part as the story itself moved along quite well anyway for me.
 

In DING DONG THE DIVA’S DEAD, readers will definitely find mystery, on the lighter side with spot-on humor and a great deal of irony as well. Being a mezzo-soprano herself, Cat Melodia did what she said in her interview with me; she wrote about what she knows best - Opera! Her experience lends a truthful air to the story as far as background, setting, and, I’ll bet, even characters are concerned. The characters, in fact, are definitely remarkable. And the main character, Deborah de Lille, (Debbie), is well defined and fleshed out by Melodia giving readers someone in the story they care about. When the story slows in parts, as it did for me, at least, the drive to find out Deborah’s fate keeps the reader going. Just when I thought “enough description already!” the action takes off and one is motivated to read on to find out what happens. I did feel personally that there was more than I cared for in the way of sexuality amongst characters. I don’t mind some but chalked it up to perhaps the ways of the opera world I know so little about but still felt like it was a bit too much at least for me. Other than that, the story was different from any I remember reading and it did draw me in. I think Melodia has a good character in Deborah de Lille and with some polish, could produce a very successful series around this character as she fine tunes her operatic writing talents.
GIVEAWAY

THANKS TO NICOLE AND TRIBUTE BOOKS
BLOG TOURS, I HAVE TWO COPIES OF
THIS COZY, OPERATIC MYSTERY TO
GIVE AWAY TO MY READERS
(BE SURE AND READ MY FIRST POST
WITH AUTHOR INTERVIEW AND MORE
WAYS TO ENTER TO WIN HERE!
 
--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
 

COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!

HOW TO ENTER:

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON WHAT YOU THOUGHT ABOUT THE REVIEW AND VIDEO ABOUT DING DONG THE DIVA'S DEAD THAT MADE YOU WANT TO WIN THIS BOOK, AND DON'T FORGET YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
 
+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG AND/OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND COME BACK HERE AND LEAVE ME YOUR LINK

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FIND INTERESTING AT CAT MELODIA'S DING DONG THE DIVA'S DEAD BLOG  HERE

+1 MORE ENTRY: COMMENT ON ONE WAY THAT YOU FOLLOW MY BLOG. IF YOU FOLLOW MORE THAN ONE WAY, YOU MAY COMMENT SEPARATELY TO RECEIVE EXTRA ENTRIES

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, NOVEMBER 8
 GOOD LUCK!

88 comments:

mamabunny13 said...

The Opera setting has intriqued me to want to read this book.
mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

holdenj said...

Sounds like I will be glad there is a 'playbill' too! Thanks!
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holdenj said...

I am an email subscriber.
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holdenj said...

I am a GFC follower.
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holdenj said...

I subscribe via RSS feed.
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mamabunny13 said...

Something I found interesting on Cat's blogs is the "Divas in Drag 2: The Castrati" post.
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Tribute Books said...

Thanks for the review, Karen. I'm glad that has a new reader of the cozy mystery genre you enjoyed Cat's book and look forward to more from the "Diva" series.

Best of luck to all who enter the giveaway!

Karen B said...

This brings back many fond memories of my Aunt Loreen, who sang with the Chautauqua Opera Chorus back in the 30s/40s.
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Sue Farrell said...

I like that the review stated that the main character is well developed since I enjoy being able to relate to the characters I read about---I also like the playbill of characters so I can refer to it when I have a question about one of them.
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Tore said...

I love mysteries. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower and email subscriber. Tore923@aol.com

Carol N Wong said...

I have the many characters situation in cozies before so I am very glad that you pointed out that there is a playbill in your review.


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Carol N Wong said...

I have had the "too many characters" situation before in a dew cozies so I am very glad that you pointed out that there is a playbill to keep things straight.

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Carol N Wong said...

I tweeted:

http://t.co/6Y5nnbzL

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Sue Farrell said...

On the website, I liked the author's description of the daily comics as palate cleansers for the rest of the bad news of the day.
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Sue Farrell said...

I am an email subscriber.
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I follow on facebook where I am Suzan Morrow Farrell.
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Carol N Wong said...

My goodness! I looked at the casting list! It is very long. If I win it, I think I'd copy it from the book or print it from the website before starting to read it.

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Carol N Wong said...

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I entered City of Whispers giveaway
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Linda Kish said...

If it's as quirky as the video, it's got to be funny.

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I thoroughly enjoyed her post Handsome is as Handsome Does.

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lag123 said...

I couldn't get the video to work, but I thank you very much for your honest review. I too tend to get confused when there are too many characters involved. However I would still love to read this.

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lag123 said...

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I liked what Cat's father's cousin said about Reade: she thought he was suspect since he was handsome.

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