Thursday, November 2, 2017

ARC Review: Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Much Ado About Murder
Author: Elizabeth J. Duncan
Series: Shakespeare in the Catskills Mysteries
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)

Description: Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company’s steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright.

Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner’s secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund’s plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way?

With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it’s final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan’s third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.

My Thoughts: A new English actress. A director who abruptly quits. A new director who wants to set Much Ado About Nothing in New York after the Civil War. This isn't the smooth, trouble-free season that Charlotte Fairfax was hoping for. It doesn't help that the director - Edmund Albright - is found dead in his bungalow, an apparent suicide victim.

Charlotte doesn't believe that Albright killed himself despite evidence to the contrary. She is determined to find out what really happened. She has lots of suspects to investigate. The hotel secretary is afraid that the play will flop and she will be laid off again. The director the board wanted but the actress vetoed has stepped in at the last minute to direct but did he help create the job opening. Then there is the ingenue actress who had a one-night stand with the director and felt threatened by him. Is it the star actress who fears that Albright's vision won't give her the positive publicity she wants. Or perhaps her sister who is her manager might have killed him to clear up her sister's problems. There is even a chauffeur who is the star actress's biggest fan and becomes her stalker.

I enjoy the setting and the characters in this series. Charlotte is good at putting together clues from a variety of sources. It was fun following the clues along with Charlotte. Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy this third episode in the Shakespeare in the Catskills series.

Favorite Quote:
"Harvey, we've got a problem with the new director."

"I'm sorry to hear that." He made a hearty you've-come-to-the-right-person kind of gesture accompanied by a reassuring smile. "How can I help?"

"I want you to fire Edmund Albright."

The smile faded and his arms dropped to his side. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Van Dusen, but I couldn't possibly do that. I didn't hire the man. The theater board did. I'm not responsible for the theater personnel. You know that."

"Does he have to know that? We're desperate to get rid of him."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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