Wednesday, March 11, 2015

ARC Book Review: The Figaro Murders

Author: Laura Lebow
Title: The Figaro Murders
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publish Date: March 31, 2015
Buy: The Figaro Murders
Review Copy Provided By: The publisher
Book Blurb: 
In 1786 Vienna, Lorenzo Da Ponte is the court librettist for the Italian Theatre during the height of the enlightened reign of Emperor Joseph II. This exalted position doesn't mean he's particularly well paid, or even out of reach of the endless intrigues of the opera world. In fact, far from it.

One morning, Da Ponte stops off at his barber, only to find the man being taken away to debtor's prison. Da Ponte impetuously agrees to carry a message to his barber's fiancée and try to help her set him free, even though he's facing pressures of his own. He's got one week to finish the libretto for The Marriage of Figaro for Mozart before the opera is premiered for the Emperor himself.

Da Ponte visits the house where the barber's fiancée works--the home of a nobleman, high in the Vienna's diplomatic circles--and then returns to his own apartments, only to be dragged from his rooms in the middle of the night. It seems the young protégé of the diplomat was killed right about the time Da Ponte was visiting, and he happens to be their main suspect. Now he's given a choice--go undercover into the household and uncover the murderer, or be hanged for the crime himself.

Brilliantly recreating the cultural world of late 18th century Vienna, the epicenter of the Enlightenment, Lebow brings to life some of the most famous figures of music, theatre, and politics.

Review: Lovers of historical mysteries will devour Laura Lebow's The Figaro Murders. You get wonderful glimpses of Mozart as well as two mysteries that are intertwined.

Lorenzo finds himself in trouble after he does a favor for a barber friend, who is looking for his birth mother and through that mystery he gets caught up in the murder of a young prince who was working for the baron.

Lebow brings the historical figures to life while weaving a story full of intrigue, affairs and betrayal. Da Ponte is the librettist for Mozart and a court poet. For those not well versed in classical music, he really is the librettist for The Marriage of Figaro.

Da Ponte is instantly likable because things aren't all rosy for him. He's working hard to make Figaro a success and he has a lot of enemies that would like to see him fail. But it is his loyalty to his barber that will endear him to readers. His crush on the baroness is really sweet too.

He has only a small box of items that may or may not help him find his barber's family. This hunt leads him from pawn shops to schools for the deaf. I felt that this search was more important than his search for the killer.

There are many twists and turns along the way and it is virtually impossible to figure how whodunit as well as who the barber's mother was. When you finally get the big reveal, I guarantee that you'll be surprised.

A wonderful read. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5 flowers


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