A Catskills resort’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes a wickedly ironic turn when the leading lady, Lauren Richmond, is first poisoned and then stabbed. Who would extinguish the life of such a beautiful young thespian? Who wouldn’t? Seems like just about everyone had a motive to pull the ropes on her final curtain call.
At the center of this Shakespearian tragedy is Charlotte Fairfax, formerly the costume mistress of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Upstate New York is a long way from the royal stage, but Charlotte is always the queen of her domain. As this small production’s costume designer, she has stitched her way into everyone’s lives, learning more than anyone could possibly imagine about the rise and fall of Lauren Richmond. But curiosity killed the cat. And it might well kill the costume designer.
Witty and wise work, Untimely Death, the first in Elizabeth J. Duncan’s charming cozy series, is sure to delight.
What could have more charm than a cozy set in the Catskills? Why, a cozy about a Shakespearean theater company at a vintage resort in the Catskills, of course. This appealing series launch from Agatha Award finalist Duncan is perfectly accessorized with a has-been British actor, Brian Prentice; his imposing wife, Lady Deborah; and costume mistress Charlotte Fairfax, who turns amateur sleuth after her college-age assistant, Aaron Jacobs, becomes the chief suspect in the poisoning and fatal stabbing of Lauren Richmond, the theater company's ingenue. Could the real killer be Prentice, with whom Charlotte shares a complicated history? Or Lady Deborah? Or maybe it's young Aaron after all? Amid the bucolic backdrop of springtime in upstate New York, Duncan (The Cold Light of Mourning and five other Penny Brannigan mysteries) drops just enough clues and red herrings to keep the reader guessing whodunit to the end.