Commissario Guido Brunetti returns to La Fenice for another dramatic encounter with the diva Flavia Petrelli.
In his first appearance (Death at La Fenice, 1992), Brunetti looked into the murder of an eminent conductor, proving that Flavia wasn't the killer. A few years later, in Aqua Alta (1996), he saved her female lover's life. Now Flavia's back in Venice, and trouble follows as surely as the pigeons flock to Piazza San Marco. Someone has been showering her with too many yellow roses at performances around Europe, and things get creepier when she finds flowers by the door of the apartment she's borrowing in her friend—and former lover—Freddy's palazzo, especially when Freddy tells her he hasn't let anyone into the building. Then a voice student Flavia had complimented at La Fenice is pushed down the steps of a bridge, and Freddy is attacked. Brunetti needs to find Flavia's stalker (a strange word the computer-phobic detective finds mostly on English-language websites when he deigns to give Google a whirl) before someone gets killed. There isn't much of a mystery here, but there are the usual pleasures of following Brunetti as he walks around the city he knows like the back of his hand; goes home for lunch with his bookish wife, Paola, and their two teenagers; has dinner with his wealthy and surprisingly sensible in-laws; outmaneuvers his dim boss, Vice-Questore Giuseppe Patta; and looks the other way while Patta's supercompetent secretary, Signorina Elettra, finds the information he needs in a possibly extra-legal manner. Leon begins each of her mysteries with an epigraph from an opera, and she obviously loves placing Brunetti backstage at La Fenice during a performance.
Come for the Venetian atmosphere and backstage tour of the opera house, and don't worry too much about the crime.