A mystery, yes, but more of a psychological…. ummm…. well, not thriller, exactly, but maybe treatment, of a mystery. Yeah, that’s what it is.
It is about a young Canadian policeman – a Mountie, actually, but without the horse, ( so you can wipe that image of Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy right out of your mind), a young lady psychotherapist, and a girls Catholic school, The Perpetual Soul, called the Old Soul by the locals, headed by a feisty old soul herself, Sister Winifred, set on Vancouver Island.
The nice lady therapist is also an opera singer who rides a motorcycle. The nice young policeman is the son of an abusive retired policeman, and is related to Sister Winifred. She is his great aunt.
The story is built around the plot of Rigoletto, an Italian opera by Guiseppe Verdi, written in 1851. Don’t know the story of Rigoletto? Pah! Who does. It is thus:
In the 16th century, in Mantova, Italy, in the house of the Duke who isa lech, a daughter of Count Monterone fell for the Duke’s sweet talk. The Count was angry with the Duke. Rigoletto, who is a clown and the Duke’s retainer, makes Count Monterone a laughing stock. The Count says to Rigoletto, “You have a laugh about father’s torment. You’ll be damned.” Rigoletto is upset by Monterone’s curse, because he has a secret daughter.
Unfortunately, Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, has already met with the Duke at the church. The Duke tells a lie to Gilda, he pretends to be a poor student. Gilda falls in love with him. Then, the Duke’s subordinates kidnap Gilda for their boss
Rigoletto finds out that his daughter is kidnapped. When Rigoletto goes to the Duke’s house, he bumps into his daughter there. Gilda explains to her father that she has really fallen in love, but strangers forced her to go to the Duke yesterday, and she was insulted by him. Rigoletto is angry with the Duke, and so decides to kill him.
In a seedy pub in the suburbs, the Duke attempts to seduce Maddalena who is a sister of the manager, Sparafucile. Rigoletto requests Sparafucile to kill the Duke for a large sum of money.
Sparafucile attempts to kill the Duke, but Maddalena stops him, because she has also fallen in love with the Duke. Sparafucile tells her that he has already received money, so he needs a substitute. Gilda has heard this talk between Sparafucile and Maddalena. Gilda makes up her mind to become his substitute.
Rigoletto receives a bag from Sparafucile, being told it is the Duke’s body. Rigoletto checks the body and finds it is his daughter’s body. He is shocked and disappointed. The curse has been realized.
Confused? Yeah, me, too. But basically, it is about the relations between ego-driven parents and their children. Fortunately, the plot of the book is a lot clearer than the plot of the opera. It twists and weaves and …. well, it more weaves than twists what with all the interconnectedness. Great story. Oh, yeah. You probably want to know about the suicides. And the hemorrhaging of souls. That is from Jean-Paul Sartre. He says that sexual abuse is a horrible, soul-destroying thing. It results in a powerful sense of shame, a hemorrhage of the soul.
PLUS….. there is a lot of nifty information on how an opera singer trains and cares for the voice, and the breathing, etc, that we learn as the nice lady shrink/opera singer prepares for the role of Gilda in the opera, working on and about the opera business that I found interesting. I love fiction where you learn about different subjects.
Mz. Furlong is a prolific writer, with a cozy mystery series, and a couple of books on how to write mysteries and how to self-publish your ebook.