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lgpiper

Reading Slothfully

I was told in elementary school that I only could read at half the speed for success in college. Oh well, one benefit of slow reading is you get to live with the characters a longer period of time. I read in a vain attempt to better understand people. At my other homes, I'm known as a spouse, pop, guy in the choir, physical chemist, computer/web dilettante and child-care provider. In theory, I'm a published author, if you consider stuff like Quenching Cross Sections for Electronic Energy Transfer Reactions Between Metastable Argon Atoms and Noble Gases and Small Molecules to count as publications. I've strewn dozens of such fascinating things to the winds.

Currently reading

A Good Death
Christopher R. Cox
The Black Cargo
John P. Marquand
A Highland Christmas
M.C. Beaton
Tales from Moominvalley
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
Moominland Midwinter
Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton
On The Beach (Vintage Classics)
Nevil Shute Norway
The Maltese Falcon
Dashiell Hammett
Obscure Destinies
Willa Cather
A Start in Life (The Michael Cullen Novels)
Alan Sillitoe
Mobilizing Web Sites: Strategies for Mobile Web Implementation
Kristofer Layon

Diva Detective

Diva Detective - Rosemary Boyd

A number of people who write murder mysteries provide some kind of background for their settings. Nevada Barr has national parks, Martha Grimes had British pubs, Diane Mott Davidson has a catering service, Susan Conant has malemutes...and Rosemary Boyd has an itinerant opera troupe. When done well, these stories are as good for the background one imbibes as for the plotting and action themselves. Fortunately, Boyd appears to know well the various fascinating details of the lives of opera companies traveling around Europe, performing a few nights in one place, then moving on to the next. This should come as no surprise, of course, given that Ms. Boyd's daughter was involved in just that life for a number of years.

Anyway, the two principals in Così fan Tutte, who had previously been the best of friends, suddenly have a major row just before the curtain is to rise. One of them gets sick during the first act, and dies an agonizing death back stage. The company's hair dresser makes an off-hand comment to the understudy for the stricken diva that the bad blood between the two principals is likely related to something that happened in the Hungarian home town of the one of the divas back before World War II. Apparently, the murdered woman's mother had lived there at the time as well. So, the protagonist, understudy Deanne Brown, investigates. She has some facility at this, we are told, because her mother is a famous writer of mysteries and her father is a forensic chemist.

So, we get a trip or two to Hungary, lots of background on the workings of an itinerant opera company, and the daily lives of the cast and crew, and so forth. It's all good fun.