Archive for March 2010

Irene Adler’s no “Soprano”

Because of a feature called “Google Alert,” I can track my books  through the webverse. This can be rewarding (finding good reviews or references to my work), or this can be shocking (finding “torrent” and other sites that offer stolen versions of my books) and sometimes it can be maddening.

Often when I wish to comment on an entry or thank a blogger for a good review, I find I’m not allowed to post because the initial “code” numbers and letters aren’t visible. No technocrat, I haven’t found a way around this barrier.

More frustrating is when I can’t post in response to an error. I was a daily newspaper reporter back when celebrity scandals weren’t Page One material and reporters needed to get every word right. So egregious misstatements more than annoy me; they scream for correction.

Today, I found a site of a reader/writer who’s sampled her first Irene Adler novel, starting with the second, The Adventuress (previously Good Morning, Irene).

http://melannen.dreamwidth.org/79796.html?thread=696244

says a lot of great things about the book, but in reviewing the next book, also says:

“Remember where I was annoyed that Irene Norton in the Carole Nelson Douglas series is a soprano, rather than a contralto?”

The fact is that I knew Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had  described Irene Adler as both a “contralto” and a “prima donna” in error. Like all writers, he was busy 12/7, and didn’t know that contraltos don’t play leading roles in opera, but are usually nursemaids or gypsy fortune tellers or the like.

The issue of Irene finding “suitable” leading roles for her voice is one I addressed through all eight novels. She sings a “trouser role” (plays a man) in one short story. I searched the operatic canon for the few leading roles she as a contralto might stretch to perform. Even the “reviewers” in the novels have trouble categorizing her, and I recall one fiction reviewer used the term “dark soprano.”  But the author and Irene herself never call her a soprano. She has a “difficult to categorize” voice that limits her operatic options.

No one should be “annoyed” by my efforts to make realistic as many details of Doyle’s “A Scandal in Bohemia” story that introduced Irene Adler . . . while embroidering around the original structure to create a new slant on the characters and story.

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NEW Midnight Louie mystery

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Midnight Louie/Delilah Street

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