Tuesday, May 19, 2020

A Fatal Finale - A Review


A FATAL FINALE by Kathleen Marple Kalb
The First Ella Shane Mystery

Ella Shane is an opera diva, although not quite your stereotypical one. From a humble background, this mezzo soprano has made a career of opera's trouser roles and has created her own opera company which travels the country. Another tour finds yet another difficult soprano in the role of Juliet. But when she dies on stage, it's not an act. Ella, who didn't care for the new girl, feels badly that she didn't try harder to get to know her. When the young singer's cousin, an English duke, appears, Ella realizes she never knew her at all. She and the Duke decide to look into the young woman's life and tragic death only to find a lot more than they bargained for!

Ella Shane is a wonderful protagonist. She's worked hard to be where she is and doesn't mind standing apart from the crowd. Ella has a deep sense of responsibility and respectability, but also a sense of adventure and fun. I love her inherited parrot and the rest of her unusual household and entourage.

Admittedly, A FATAL FINALE starts off slowly. While there is a dead body early on, it isn't treated as a murder. The story itself was interesting and I loved seeing how Ella and her company lived and worked. Gradually the story evolves into questioning who the victim really was in life and finding there was much more to her death than a tragic accident. By the end, I was rapidly turning pages to see what would happen next and I adored the finale, which left me both satisfied yet eagerly anticipating Ella's next story.

A FATAL FINALE is an intriguing mystery that captures the work ethic as well as the flamboyancy of a Gilded Age opera company.

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