BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Review & Giveaway: Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Bea's Book Nook, Review, Giveaway, Much Ado About Murder, Elizabeth J. Duncan
Series: Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery #3
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: November 7th, 2017 
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Chapters.Indigo | iTunes* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

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:

I've had my eye on this series for a couple years and was happy that the timing of this book worked for me to read it and take part in the tour.

The Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company unexpectedly finds itself in need of a new director shortly before a new play is to start production. The star of the production and her manager/sister, brought over from England specifically for this production, are displeased and don't hesitate to say so. They refuse the services of a local director and insist on one they know from England. He is hired and events go downhill from there. :D 

The new director's vision for the play is unusual, controversial, and poorly received. He also gives the star a hard time, much to her surprise. There's a lot of happiness floating around and before long, there are also dead bodies. Well, the bodies aren't floating but you get what I mean. :D 

The beginning was a little confusing for me as I kept getting some of the characters mixed up but that sorted out quickly. I liked both Charlotte Fairfax, the costume designer, and Paula Van Dusen, the chair of the theater company. They were interesting, smart, and complex. Their love for theater was palpable, and I enjoyed all of the theater scenes, on-stage and off-stage. I liked that Charlotte, while she didn't exactly work with the police, wasn't working at cross purposes with them either. He significant other is a cop and they respect each other. It was a refreshing change from many cozies where the relationship between the amateur sleuth and the police is adversarial.  

Charlotte and Paula worked well together, both in keeping the theater company running and in investigating the murders and other mysteries surrounding them. Duncan also did a super job of showing us the inner workings of community theater and producing a play. It was as if I were right there.

I thought the mysteries were done well with just enough red herrings to keep me guessing. While it wasn't the most clever or complex mystery, it wasn't easy to crack and it had some tricky elements to it. The setting, the people, the mystery - all were engaging and interesting and I had a fun time. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

About the author ~

Elizabeth J Duncan is the author of two mystery series – Shakespeare in the Catskills and the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. She is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Award for Canada’s best light mystery and lives in Toronto.

Find Elizabeth Online ~


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  1. Thank you for being part of this tour!

  2. That is a great show and play, look forward to reading it as a murder mystery!

    1. I haven't seen or read the play but that wasn't a problem. Theater in general makes for a great setting for murder so that was fun.

  3. This has been on my TBR too and I'm glad to see you really enjoyed it. This sounds like such a fun series!

    1. This is the only one I have read so far but it was fun.

  4. I really like the Catskills Shakespeare Theater storyline. Sounds like a great read.

  5. Thanks to both the author and the blog hostess for offering this. If I can't get another of Asil's Christmastime dates, this is going to be a nice Shifter holiday tale.

    1. Lol, I think you commented on the wrong post. Did you mean to comment on the post for Dreaming of a White Wolf Christmas?


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