• The Opera Lively Serial Novel Project - Chapter 5

    Chapter 5

    Detective Risi’s office was not the tidiest Detective Karen Lindstrom had ever seen. She was not the world’s tidiest person herself, but she at least tried to keep her office somewhat tidy. Her apartment was an entirely different matter, but she did not have many visitors, and did not really see the point of cleaning at home.

    Risi’s office was sparsely furnished, only a desk, a few chairs facing the desk, and a bookcase (mostly empty, although, Lindstrom noted, there was a whole Encyclopaedia Britannica and some kind of opera lexicon on the shelves) standing in the left corner, furthest from the desk. Still, the floor was littered with papers. As she walked in, she glanced at them and saw sheet music haphazardly strewn around, along with what looked like legal documents and reports. Here and there a book lay; often open at a random page.
    The wall opposite the windows was plastered with posters, most of them very striking, often bordering on the edge of absurdity. All of them had some kind of title on them, and here and there she recognized one. All opera titles.
    Behind his desk she could see a small stack of coffee cups, all dirty.
    The room smelled of stale coffee and old books. A strangely pleasant, but at the same time rather stomach-churning smell.

    ‘Sorry for the mess.’ Detective Risi looked somewhat embarrassed as he stood behind his desk, welcoming Lindstrom and Detective Green. They all shook hands before they sat down.

    ‘Now,’ Risi said. He turned to Green. ‘Have you brought the photograph?’
    Green reached into his jacket and pulled out a piece of paper folded in two and gave it to Risi. Risi opened it, and Lindstrom watched him as his eyes grew larger and larger. ‘Impossible,’ he muttered, more to himself than to the two in front of him.
    ‘What is it?’ Green looked worried.
    ‘It’s Giovanni Risi, my uncle,’ Risi said, sounding rather taken aback. ‘He was an opera singer before he died, and I think this is some kind of production photo. One of the last operas he did before he died was some new piece about Napoleon. They figured it would attract media attention if they had a descendant of Napoleon himself sing the part of the emperor. I can’t remember who wrote it, though, but it can’t be more than 20 years ago.’

    The other two sat in utter silence, stunned looks on their faces. Risi continued.

    ‘He died during the last performance. The doctors said he had a heart attack, and the whole thing died down. But …’

    The others looked expectantly at him.
    ‘Why would that photo be at the Memorial? My uncle never sang there. He did sing at the Lyric Theatre …’
    Green looked mystified.
    ‘Where Amelia Wells was murdered,’ Risi explained, looking rather annoyed at Green. ‘But he only sang there in the beginning of his career, at least fifteen years before this photograph was taken. Most of his career was spent in Europe, and as far as I know, the Napoleon opera was only given in Paris.’

    All three were silent for what seemed like minutes, until Green spoke again.

    ‘Wait, so your uncle was a descendant of Napoleon?’
    ‘Yes, he was. As am I, as a matter of fact.’ he said, not without a small hint of indignation in his voice.
    ‘But what has that got to do with anything,’ Lindstrom broke in. ‘That still doesn’t explain why suddenly three opera singers have been killed in the last couple of days.’
    ‘No, it doesn’t,’ said Risi, with a frown. ‘But it must be connected in some way. If only we knew how.’

    ‘OK, let’s get down to business,’ said Risi. ‘Marcello Gui, Italian tenor, shot on-stage whilst singing Cavaradossi at the Memorial Theater.’
    ‘I talked to some kids at the theater, and they said they talked to some man that said they were supposed to shoot the girl, but I didn’t really understand it,’ interrupted Green.
    ‘Really? Huh, that’s interesting.’ Risi looked puzzled. He continued. ‘Marcello Gui was murdered, shot, whilst singing Cavaradossi. We have reason to believe that the real target was his lover, the soprano Francesca Crivelli.’ Risi turned to Green. ‘You need to question the woman. Soon.
    ‘Right. Second victim, Amelia Wells, English mezzo-soprano, poisoned on-stage whilst singing Dido at the Lyric Theatre. She had indicated it was to be her last performance. Other than that, there were no unusual events that evening.
    And finally, the third victim, Helga Graunstadt, Swiss soprano, burned to death in a leap off stage. This was also a last performance, as Mrs. Graunstadt had announced her retirement because of complications due to asthma.’

    Risi looked at the others.

    ‘Well.’ Green stretched his arms in the air and yawned. ‘I think it’s time to question people.’
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Opera Lively Serial Novel Project started by Amfortas View original post


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