Donna Leon is an American who has lived in Venice for more than thirty years. This makes her an expert in the life and culture of this unique city. As an award-winning mystery writer, her Commissario Guido Brunetti mysteries combine murder, mayhem, and the workings of the Questura against the background of Venice.
Her latest Brunetti mystery is “Falling in Love” and, very atypically of her novels, does not deal with a murder. Set in the opera world, Brunetti and his team investigate the stalking of a star of La Fenice, Venice’s opera house. Flavia Petrelli, an opera star, is Brunetti’s old friend. She has been the recipient of dozens of roses that arrive mysteriously in her dressing room, as well as, being thrown in appreciation of her performance during curtain calls. At first, she thinks they are the actions of an avid fan, but when others are harmed because of their association with her, Brunetti suspects that she is being stalked.
Leon’s novels usual have involved plots. Often the mystery involves a social issue: pollution, illegal immigration, child trafficing, police and governmental corruption. “Falling in Love” is an exception. The plot is one dimensional. There are no social issues tackled. A sub-plot dealing with Brunetti’s fellow worker at the Questura, Signorina Elettra, is actually more interesting than the stalking of Petrelli. Hopefully, Leon’s next novel will recapture the magic of her earlier works and the beauty of Venice.