The Figaro Murders
Review: Real-life Italian theatre court librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte finds himself enmeshed in several mysteries in The Figaro Murders, a historical mystery by Laura Lebow.
Da Ponte, who wrote the lyrics for many operas, the most famous of which were composed by Wolfgang Mozart, stops by his barber for a shave when Vogel, his barber, is being hauled away by the police to be put in debtor's prison for owing money to Rosa Hahn, the housekeeper for the baron on the Palais Gabler. Coincidentally, Da Ponte once worked for the baron as a valet. Vogel, who had just learned from his dying mother that he was not her son, pleads with Da Ponte to find his real parents. Da Ponte agrees, but doesn't really see what he can do. He visits the Palais Gabler to talk to Rosa about Vogel's debt, and to inform Vogel's fiancée Marianne as to what charges he faces. He meets there a young man named Florian, a protégé of the baron, who is later found dead with Da Ponte accused of his murder. The police can't prove their case, so offer Da Ponte a choice: go undercover at the Palais Gabler in an attempt to identify who is stealing valuable documents from the estate, or be held indefinitely in custody while they investigate the murder and likely be convicted anyway. What choice is that? He agrees, of course, but with less than a week before he needs to complete the lyrics to The Marriage of Figaro, he barely has time to do the work of the police let alone that of his own.
The Figaro Murders gives the reader a vivid recreation of Vienna during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II. The multiple mysteries are cleverly intertwined and while it may seem like an overly complicated plot scenario, especially with the political situation of the time, it's handled very well. Potentially (and most probably) the first in a new series, readers will eagerly welcome back Lorenzo Da Ponte into their homes in a future mystery. Recommended.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Figaro Murders.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Figaro Murders for this review.
Review Copyright © 2015 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Figaro Murders: Vienna, Austria
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The Figaro Murders by Laura Lebow
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: March 2015
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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