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08 February, 2008

Book Review: The Diva's Fool by Silvia Foti

Read and Reviewed for Front Street Reviews

Alexandria Vilkas, a reporter for the Chicago based Gypsy magazine, is interviewing world renowned opera singer Carmen Dellamorte about her passion for tarot cards. During the interview, Carmen’s understudy in a moment of anger utters the name of the opera, Macbeth. This is taboo in the operatic circles, as it is considered a part of a 400 year old curse in which if the name of the opera is uttered out loud while in production a cast member will die. After a stunning final performance, Carmen steps on stage during her curtain call and collapses. She has been as the police will discover shortly, poisoned.

Alexandria is pulled into the mystery surrounding Carmen’s death for three reasons. Her first reason is her interview with the diva before her death. The second reason, Carmen entrusted Alexandria with a box of material to help her ghost write a biography of Carmen’s father - a box which may contain clues to the diva's death written in her own hand. Finally, and most importantly to Alexandria, the third reason, it was predicted that she would have to solve this case in order to become a member of the secret society, the Order of the Tarot.

Her boss at Gypsy Magazine changes her story from one about celebrity usage of Tarot cards, to one that finds and reveals the murder responsible for Carmen’s death. Alexandria finds herself learning more about Carmen’s past, family, and career as she investigates the murder. She finds herself in a race against time to find an answer to the question that everyone is asking.

Has the curse claimed another victim, or are there other sinister plots in play to bring down the diva?

The Diva’s Fool is Silvia Foti’s second mystery with reluctant detective Alexandria Vilkas. It is also, the first book in The Tarot Chronicles series. I was a little reluctant to start this without having first read Skullduggery, however the story is paced well enough that you don’t feel as though you have missed something by not having read the introductory book. Paranormal themes have recently started to creep into every genre from science fiction & fantasy to thrillers, mysteries, and romance. It is also, a theme that is extremely hard to write and have come off convincing and not cheesy. The adventures of Alexandria Vilkas ended up grabbing my imagination while reading. The fact that the story is set in Chicago, the city I grew up in and still live near was another good thing for me while reading. It was extremely easy to imagine Alexandria running around the city I love. Like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files books, The Diva’s Fool shows another layer to Chicago, one filled with ghostly encounters, and where nothing is what it seems. I found the book to be thrilling read filled with murder, music, and unseen forces at work. I am looking forward to reading Silvia Foti’s first book, and her future books.

Publication Date: April 2007
Publisher: Echelon Press
Author's Web Site:

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