Much Ado About Murder
A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery
Elizabeth J. Duncan
This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.
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.
Third book in series!
Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan is the third tale in A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery series. Charlotte Fairfax is the costume designer for Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company in Walkers Ridge. They are getting ready to stage Much Ado About Nothing with British actress, Audrey Ashley. When Simon Dyer, the director, bails on them, Audrey recommends (insists) upon Edmund Albright. Albright decides to stage Much Ado About Nothing just after the Civil War much to Audrey’s (and many others) dismay. The day after a special dinner party, Albright is found dead in his bungalow. It looks like suicide, but Charlotte is not so sure. Albright had no reason to kill himself. Charlotte, with assistance from Paula Van Dusen, starts looking into Albright’s life to discover what could have gotten him killed. Can Charlotte uncover the truth before the curtain rises on Much Ado About Nothing?
Much Ado About Murder is easy to read and can be read as a standalone. I did find the pace a little slow and the book lacks substance. The mystery was straightforward (aka simple) and the killer easily identified (I knew the person’s identity before the body was found). One clue is all that is needed (if that) to figure out the culprit. I did find the secondary mystery of Maxine’s admirer to be more entertaining. I felt that more of the book was devoted to Charlotte’s, dog, Rupert than to the mystery. There are few details on the characters. I was curious as to why Paula Van Dusen is always referred to as Paula Van Dusen. I wanted more substance and less filler (or fluff). If you are looking for a light cozy mystery (with emphasis on cozy), then you will like reading Much Ado About Murder.
A fast and wonderful read
“Theater audiences,after all, agree at every performance to suspend disbelief and to believe the unbelievable.”
Charlotte Fairfax, costume designer with the fairly sucessful Catskills Shakespeare Theater, is getting excited as Much Ado About Nothing is the choice for the end of their season, and the company can finally afford a known British actress, THE Audrey Ashley, to headline the production. Then, the director leaves and Audrey exercises choice of director in her contract by insisting that Edmund Albright be brought in to do the show.
Edmund’s ideas on how to stage the play sound at first absurd and upsets moreand more of those connected to the production from both the cadre of actors to the long time owner of the Catskills Hotel the company calls home. As his vision of staging begins to get acceptance, his body is found and it seems he has taken his own life.
Or has he? Can Charlotte and her allies find out why? As she begins to unwind the threads of the crime, she finds a whole slew of reasons, and they are very disturbing. Will they stop the show from going on? You’ll just have to see.
In this, the third Shakespeare in the Catskills series, Duncan shows just why she has a loyal following. Each character feels real. Intelligence, often one of the hallmarks of this genre, shines forth on every page as we are privy to the backstage lives of a small theatrical “family” as “the plot thickens”. This is a very fast, very satisfying read that kept me guessing until almost the end. Recommended.4 Stars
- Category: Women Sleuths
- Published: Nov 07, 2017
- Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
- Seller: Perseus Books, LLC
- Print Length: 272 Pages
- Language: English