mystery set at a Catskills resort involves the cast and crew
of a small Shakespearean acting troupe, along with their family,
friends, and the resort management team. When the lead actress
in the play, Romeo and Juliet, nearly dies from a drug overdose,
the local police and hospital staff fear her experience may
be due to a homicide attempt rather than an accident. When
the same actress – whom everyone has a reason to dislike
– then receives a fatal stab wound during a rehearsal,
the intention becomes all-too clear. The murderer’s
identity, however, is less clear.
The very British Charlotte Fairfax (wardrobe mistress for
the acting troupe) and her local policeman boyfriend, Ray,
search for clues to solve the mystery. The ill-tempered actress
who met her untimely death had a history of aggressive and
bullying behavior that gave nearly everyone at the resort
a motive for killing her. And many of these people have shady
backgrounds themselves that could have influenced their behavior.
With opening night of Romeo and Juliet approaching and a replacement
actress who needs costumes and rehearsals, pressure mounts
to solve the case quickly.
As a cozy mystery with muted sex and violence, Duncan instead
fills the story with fascinating tidbits about theater, fashion
design, and British customs. She provides plenty of clues
about the murderer, plus offers the obligatory red herrings
to keep readers guessing throughout the story. The characters
are intriguing with a range of personal problems, including
drug and alcohol addictions, bad taste in romantic partners,
and other assorted flaws.
If Duncan makes the perpetrator seem a little obvious, readers
can likely forgive her because of the limitations associated
with the charming resort setting she chose as the backdrop
for her story. In a secluded community with a tiny police
force aided only by Charlotte’s amateur sleuthing (and
her helpful little dog), they could not have handled the technical
and financial challenges of a more difficult murder mystery.
As it stands, the local flavor and theatrical details help
create a satisfying tale for fans of similar mysteries, such
as those of Agatha Christie, in this first book of what promises
to be a delightful series.
of other titles in this series
[review 1] [review
Met by Murder #2
Ado About Murder #3