Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book Review: Ding Dong the Diva's Dead by Cat Melodia

Looking for a unique mystery? Pick up a copy of Ding Dong the Diva's Dead by Cat Melodia.

Fate and a good agent help struggling opera singer, Deborah de Lille, secure a small part in Offenbach's spooky opera, Tales of Hoffmann. She joins a well-acquainted cast of quirky characters, and soon finds herself the victim of smoke bombs, ghostly visitations, and booby traps, leading her to believe something sinister is afoot.

There's a great deal to enjoy in Melodia's Ding Dong the Diva's Dead. It has a unique setting and plot. I can't remember ever reading a mystery set on the stage of an opera. The attention to detail makes the reader feel like she is truly on stage and in the hotels and restaurants surrounding the theater. While steeped in detail, the heavy dose of humor keeps the reading light. The characters are definitely memorable. While I'm not overly fond of a first person narrative that speaks directly to the reader, it works for this novel.

One challenge I had with the book is that so much time is dedicated to details and character development that it slowed down the pace; especially since you're about 70 pages in before Debbie begins to wonder about things. I wasn't expecting a runaway freight train type of story, but I wanted a bit more than the speed of a railroad handcar in a lot of places. I also didn't care for how much attention sexuality garnered in the book. Perhaps this makes sense for the setting, which since I have no exposure to opera, I couldn't tell. I'm definitely not prudish about sexuality in books, but the focus on so many physical relationships in Ding Dong the Diva's Dead took away from the reading pleasure.

Since the cover indicates this is "A Debbie de Lille Murder Mystery," I'm guessing we'll see more of Debbie and perhaps some of the other zany characters that filled this book. I would welcome reading the next one in the series. The unique setting and plot, combined with this fabulous cast of characters, more than make up for the few challenges I experienced.

Title:  Ding Dong the Diva's Dead
Author: Cat Melodia
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN-10: 1603818073
ISBN-13: 978-1603818070
SRP:  $16.95 (paperback)

Also available in hardcover and a Kindle edition!

Blog Tour web site:

Cat Melodia's blog:

Cat Melodia's Bio:

Cat Melodia is the nom de plume of a Seattle-based mezzo soprano and voice teacher. Like her heroine, she often wears the pants on stage. Three of her opera adaptations/translations have been performed at community colleges. She has a Bachelor’s Degree cum laude in German Literature from Princeton and a Master’s in Music.

Hardcover buy links:


Barnes & Noble

Paperback buy links:


Barnes & Noble

eBook buy links:

Kindle - $4.95

Nook - $4.95

Smashwords - $4.95

I received a copy of this book from the author through Tribute Books. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation of any kind.


Tribute Books said...

Cheryl, thanks for recommending Cat's book to all those mystery readers out there. I'm glad that you enjoyed the uniqueness of the opera setting and that you're looking forward to more installments of the "Diva" series.

Susanne Drazic said...

Sounds like an interesting mystery. Cheryl, thanks for sharing your review of the book.

Unknown said...

Hi Cheryl,
I'm glad you enjoyed Ding Dong and are looking forward to the next in the series. I'm getting lots of great feedback, which should make the new book better than ever.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful review--