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Ill Met By Murder
Shakespeare in the Catskills #2
Elizabeth J. Duncan

Crooked Lane Books
December 13, 2016/ ISBN 978-1-62953-769-6
Mystery/Cozy/Amateur Sleuth

Reviewed by Laura Hinds


Charlotte Fairfax is the costume designer for the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company. It’s time for the troupe to perform at the annual fund-raiser sponsored by Paula Van Dusen. It’s a special performance this year, as Mrs. Van Dusen’s daughter, Belinda will be getting married the very next day.

Since both events are held on the Van Dusen property, and the show will be A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it will be a case of life imitating art, since the show is about a marriage, and a wedding is set to take place in the morning.

When the groom, Adrian’s, rival for Belinda’s affections, Hugh Hedley, is found murdered with a show prop, a donkey’s head, Charlotte finds herself once again tapping into her skills as an amateur sleuth. She solved a murder previously and is ready to do so again.

The first thing I love about this book is that the murder didn’t come to light until the eleventh chapter, giving the reader a good build up into who the characters were, how they interacted and what might really be going on. Right away that kept me reading and reading until the body was discovered and the action moved to a new level. I so enjoyed this change of pace from the typical mystery novel, where the murder takes place early on in the story.

The next thing I love about this book is that while characters from the first in the series are brought back to join Charlotte, there is a whole new cast involved. It is great that Charlotte still has her little dog, Rupert. The middle age romance with her police chief boyfriend, Ray, is endearing. Aaron is still her assistant in the costume department, and the very British Bruce, who Charlotte has known since their time together there, is on the scene, too.

What a fantastic cozy! The premise is unique, the setting ideal, and the characters well-rounded and true to life. Charlotte’s a great sleuth with a nose for clues and yet level-headed enough to keep herself out of too much trouble. This is a satisfying read and should capture mystery lovers from the very first page. I can’t wait for the next book!

Reviews of other titles in this series

Untimely Death #1 [review 1] [review 2]
Ill Met by Murder #2
Much Ado About Murder #3

Reviewed 2016