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Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse

Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse

5.0 1
by Mike Befeler

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When a staged murder at a mystery dinner playhouse turns into a real poisoning death‚ recently retired detective Gabe Tremont is called back to solve the crime and discovers the playhouse director‚ the cast and a spy from a competing theater all have reasons to want the murdered man dead.


When a staged murder at a mystery dinner playhouse turns into a real poisoning death‚ recently retired detective Gabe Tremont is called back to solve the crime and discovers the playhouse director‚ the cast and a spy from a competing theater all have reasons to want the murdered man dead.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A dinner theater where murder is on the menu provides a charming backdrop for this uneven mystery from Befeler (The Black Wing). Mildred Hanson operates a theater in Bearcrest, Colo., that's set up so the actors mingle with the guests, who in turn try to determine whodunit. Recently retired police detective Gabe Tremont and his wife, Angie, get more than they bargained for when actor Peter Ranchard dies of poison during a production. All the cast members, as well as the owner of a competing theater, disliked the victim for reasons ranging from seduction to blackmail. Gabe gladly returns to active service at the request of the Bearcrest police chief, since retirement, after one week, weighs heavily on his hands. Gabe's problem is that he has too many clues and too many suspects. The reader's problem is that all the characters are paper-thin, and Angie nags Gabe by insulting his manhood. That gets old in a hurry. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Former police detective Gabe Tremont did not plan his retirement well. He doesn't have any hobbies and doesn't know what to do with himself. His wife, Angie, tired of her bored husband sitting around the house, convinces him to attend a dinner theater production featuring a murder mystery. She figures that since Gabe puzzled out murder mysteries in real life, he will be a whiz at a play murder. Neither one of them could foresee an actual murder taking place at the theater. When the butler's body turns up dead backstage, the cast and crew of the Bearcrest Theater are the immediate suspects, as they all had a reason to hate the victim. Because the police department is shorthanded, Gabe is hired back temporarily to work the case. VERDICT Befeler, the author of the "Paul Jacobson Geezer-Lit Mystery" series (Nursing Homes Are Murder), introduces a new senior sleuth in a humorous cozy that recalls a classic English mystery, down to the finale with the cast of suspects gathered for the denouement.
Kirkus Reviews
A police detective's retirement turns out to be a lot briefer than he'd expected. Retired for one week, Gabe Tremont is already driving his wife, Angie, crazy. So she suggests he make a long list of things he might enjoy doing and decides that a night at the Bearcrest Mystery Dinner Playhouse is just the thing to cheer him up for starters. Before they even arrive at the theater, Gabe informs Angie that the butler did it. As the play proceeds, the cast members raise their glasses in a toast, the lights go out, and Peter Ranchard, who's playing the butler, is found dead offstage, poisoned with cyanide. Gabe immediately takes charge and, in the absence of any other detectives, agrees to handle the case. On stage at the time of Peter's death were theater owner Mildred Hanson and actors Sophie Elmira, Col. Harold Coats, Arthur Buchanan and Clara Jager, and Mildred identifies a disguised audience member as Helen Lameuse, owner of a rival dinner theater. Gabe proceeds to interview everyone who had the opportunity to poison Peter and finds that they all had motives. Peter had been blackmailing several cast members, had had affairs with several more and was stealing prescription blanks from his psychiatrist to obtain drugs to sell. While working the case, Gabe continues to eliminate items from his retirement list, which is getting shorter by the day. Finding the killer unsurprisingly persuades him that retirement is not for him. Taking a break from his Geezer series (Nursing Homes Are Murder, 2014, etc.), Befeler introduces an appealing new hero while maintaining his quirky sense of humor.

Product Details

Gale Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 5.70(h) x 1.20(d)

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Mystery of the Dinner Playhouse 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
KaraleeLong More than 1 year ago
When recently retired and very bored Detective Gabe Tremont attends a mystery dinner playhouse at his wife’s insistence, the murder of one of the actors turns out to be the real thing. With no other detectives available, Gabe takes on the investigation, not exactly the kind of hobby his wife thinks he needs for a successful retirement. The murder investigation continues amid a strange assortment of revelations, both criminal and personal, as Gabe also works his way down the list of potential hobbies he and his wife have created with each one ending in humorous disaster. But his current priorities being what they are, he deftly discovers the incriminating secrets harbored by all six suspects and puts the pieces of the puzzle together in a surprising culmination of this fun whodunit. Additionally, he realizes he should have planned how he would fill his days of retirement, and having learned more about himself by attempting and failing each potential hobby on the list, Gabe finally knows what he wants to do. Befeler’s acumen spinning suspense with quirky characters, ample humor, and an able protagonist keeps me laughing and turning the pages.