Opera singers are often described as being larger than life, and certainly this is true of Gaylene Ffrench. Her appetites?for men, for food, for attention?are gargantuan, and her ability to irritate is similarly outsized. So when someone electrocutes the bombastic Australian contralto, few tears are shed at the Northern Opera Company (though it's a pity her understudy's soOpera singers are often described as being larger than life, and certainly this is true of Gaylene Ffrench. Her appetites?for men, for food, for attention?are gargantuan, and her ability to irritate is similarly outsized. So when someone electrocutes the bombastic Australian contralto, few tears are shed at the Northern Opera Company (though it's a pity her understudy's so lousy). In fact, most of the company members are dancing a jig, and it falls on Superintendent Nichols to determine which of them might have helped Gaylene along to her just reward. The black tenor tired of being the butt of Gaylene's bigotry? The soprano weary of jealous whispers in her ears? Gaylene's many bedroom conquests, all anxious to avoid a repeat performance? With so many potential suspects, Nichols has his hands full, but Barnard and his readers have a deliciously malicious good time....
|Title||:||Death on the High C's|
|Number of Pages||:||209 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Death on the High C's Reviews
This was my second attempt at reading a Barnard book. The first attempt didn't go too well - the book got on my nerves and I gave up. Barnard tells a good story, but he can get pretentious and annoying at times. However, this one is fun and interesting with its portrayal of a struggling English opera company trying to put on "Rigoletto" when the singer performing Maddalena is murdered. She's such a delightfully nasty character you can't help but feel the killer should get a reward, an opinion echoed by more than one character:“Pity,” said Mrs Hogben, shaking her head, “because it would have been so neat, and she did have it coming to her. And whoever did it, I’d hate to seem him actually suffer for it.”It seemed to Sergeant Chappell that no murdered had enjoyed such universal sympathy since the gentlemen who robbed the Russian Imperial family of the counsels of Gregory Rasputin.None of the characters are saints. In fact, they are all rather self-centered, including the young lovers, Calvin Cross and Bridget Lander, who is a rising star. The death of Gaylene Ffrench (born Gay French) is nothing more than an inconvenience to them. The motive for Gaylene’s death appears to be pretty simple – someone hated her enough to kill her. However, a second murder complicates matters. Barnard’s constant fat-shaming is tiresome. Yes, we understand that Gaylene is overweight, but there’s no need to beat it into the ground. Barnard’s other weakness is that I never really cared for any of the characters. There’s always more than an element of satire in his books, and his characters tend to suffer for it by being rather cardboard at times. The ending falls a little flat as well, and I never entirely believed the reason for Gaylene’s murder. However, this is a fun, short read that is well worth a try.
I was listening to La Traviata, which made me want to read this old favorite set among an opera company. A bitchy coloratura delights the rest of the company by getting electrocuted, but in return they have to put up with opera buff Inspector Nichols detecting as they rehearse. Some careers are taking off and others are winding down, and that might or might not be significant to the solution.
I got a huge kick out of this book, as it spoofs the opera world none to gently. The plot relies on an intimate knowledge of a particular opera, but the careful reader will see the essential clue. Just a fun way to pass a bit of time.
Very funny, especially if you like opera or have been part of a stage production.
Robert Barnard brings his characters to life with such ease that his stories are unforgettable.