Author: Laura Lebow
Title: The Figaro Murders
Genre: Historical, Mystery
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Minotaur (St. Martins)
Number of Pages: 336
Narrator: Lorenzo Da Ponte
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: I, Insufficient data; there are not enough ratings to accurately gauge the average reader rating.
What’s It About?
Priest and poet Lorenzo Da Ponte narrates his tail of getting mixed up in a murder plot while trying to help an old friend. As he is being hauled off to debtor’s prison, the friend asks Da Ponte to look for his birth mother–who he believes to be wealthy based on a fancy token she left behind for him. As Da Ponte seeks out his friend’s birth mother, he crosses the path of a tempestuous teenage boy and–out of annoyance–yells at him. Soon after, Da Ponte is arrested for the murder of that boy.
Insisting his innocence, Da Ponte is offered a deal. If he doesn’t want to go to prison for the murder of the boy, he can infiltrate the boy’s household in an effort to help the authorities root out the actual murderer. To keep up appearances, he also assumes the role of tutor for a young lady of the house–all the while continuing his work as a poet.
Throughout the story, Da Ponte tells of his struggle to balance the various components of his life. He is investigating a murder, working with Mozart (yes, that Mozart) on the development of a legendary opera, and trying to discovery the mystery of his friend’s birth bother–all the while trying to keep his own past from coming back to haunt him.
Should You Read It?
If you are into the Renaissance period of history, you will love this book. The descriptions of the urban landscape, as well as the everyday lives of the people Da Ponte encounters, are rich and lively. Wolfgang Mozart, a friend and colleague of the narrator, plays a central role as a minor character. If you’re into murder mysteries, you might like this as well. The descriptions are grisly or graphic, but there is quite a bit of secrecy and betrayal. It’s a good “whodunit” story. While descriptions of the setting are true to the time period, the voice of the narrator has a contemporary ring to it–rhythmic and slightly tongue-in-cheek, not so old-fashioned and verbose. Bottom line: if you like historical mysteries, you’ll love The Figaro Murders.
Links and References
Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads
Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, Dear Author, Publishers Weekly
Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com
Other Books by Laura Lebow: The Figaro Murders is Laura Lebow’s debut novel.