Much Ado About Murder: A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery

Much Ado About Murder: A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery

by Elizabeth J. Duncan


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The show ruthlessly goes on as costume designer-turned-amateur sleuth Charlotte Fairfax investigates the death of a disagreeable director in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan's third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683313250
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 632,577
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth J. Duncan is the award-winning author of the beloved Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. A former editor and broadcaster in England, Elizabeth is currently an instructor at the Humber School for Writers in Ontario, Canada. This is her tenth mystery and her third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery.

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Much Ado About Murder: A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
AWilcox777 More than 1 year ago
Such a smooth, easy and intriguing read! A definite recommend! This is the first book I've read by Elizabeth Duncan and definitely not the last. Her writing style is so smooth and flowing. The story was great and the characters were so easy to relate to and keep identified from the start. There was no issue remembering who was who and how they played in the whole story. The murder and mystery were done so well and kept you turning pages until the very end. Duncan is also able to wrap things up and give closure to everything very eloquently. I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.
djerickson14 More than 1 year ago
Much Ado About Murder is the third installment in the Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery series. This series is about a small Shakespeare theater group in New York with main character Charlotte who is in charge of the costumes and her friend Paula Van Dusen, who is a member of the theater board. When the company is set to put on the romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, nothing but trouble seems to be the case. The first director up and leaves with no notice, so Charlotte and Paula scramble to find a replacement. Local Wade Radcliffe seems to fit the bill, but star actress Audrey Ashley uses her contractural right to demand fellow Englishman Edmond Albright to be brought in as director. Things take a turn when Edmond announces his vision to make the play a darker version with a Civil War Theme. When Paula and Charlotte find Edmond dead of an apparent suicide, the two are not convinced and launch their own investigation. This is a very well written, if a bit predictable, cozy mystery. The detail about what it takes to run a theater company is very interesting, as well as what goes into developing costumes that fit the roles. There are plenty of characters with motives, and Charlotte and Paula have their work cut out for them in sorting out the evidence. I look forward to the next installment in this series. I was provided a copy of this book for a fair and honest review.
Michelle_Palmer More than 1 year ago
Charlotte is a fashion designer. She works for a Shakespeare theater company in the Catskills. A new guest lead actress arrives from England just as the director suddenly quits. Because the actress has director-approval rights a new director who she has worked with before is brought in from England at her demand. Charlotte has a bad habit of finding dead bodies. This is the third murder in this sleepy little town within a short span of time. The setting is the grounds of a hotel. Charlotte lives in a bungalow on the grounds and the other two are reserved for the guest actor and the director. I love the idea of the victim and investigator living in such close proximity. The hotel grounds are well described. The characters are fully fleshed out. Their motivations are clear and they act in natural ways. The plotting is well paced and although the murderer was (in my opinion) obvious there were multiple suspects to keep you from knowing for certain.
cresotko More than 1 year ago
Directing Shakespeare can be deadly. This is the first book I have read in Elizabeth J. Duncan's Shakespeare in the Catskills series. The main character is Charlotte Fairfax, a Brit who now lives in the Catskills and is the costume designer for the Catskills Shakespeare Company. When she comes across the body of their new director in his bungalow, the investigation is on. The main characters are well thought out. Each personality is distinct, and all of their actions are believable. The author has kept the plot fairly tight, and all the clues you need to figure out the murderer are there, if you notice them (I didn't catch it until the very end). What I liked most is that there is a lot of insider information on how a professional production works. The book talked about the roles of director, stage manager, actor, and costume designer and what each does and how they work together. I gained new insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Ms. Duncan's language also harkens back to some of Shakespeare's own imagery and language style, which adds to the enjoyment. Overall, a good solid mystery that should keep you guessing until the end. I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
This is a fun series centered on Shakespeare Theater Company. Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare's more comedic plays, so when the Brits hit the Catskills and the director has some of his own ideas, trouble brews quickly. Charlotte is the fashion designer and it falls to her to suss out what happens when the director allegedly commits suicide. Great characters and setting, a very fun read.
rokinrev More than 1 year ago
“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
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
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.
Missisue4 More than 1 year ago
I might be a tad partial to Much Ado About Murder by Elizabeth J. Duncan because it is A Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery and I live in upstate New York. But whatever reason you choose to read Much Ado About Murder, I am quite certain that you will love it !! Even though this is the third book in the series and I haven't had the pleasure of reading the previous two, I was able to pick it up and breeze right through it. As soon as I started reading, I was lost in the Catskills.... The story is so fun !!! You have a theater company attached to a grand hotel with three bungalows and the bungalows are housed by the director of the current play, the main star of the current play and Charlotte, the costume designer and her police officer boyfriend. Unfortunately the current Shakespeare play has trouble from the start with the director leaving abruptly and unable to return and then his replacement, Edmind, is found dead in his bungalow as a result of an apparent suicide. But as they say in show business the show must go on so with a third director they continue with rehearsals. Charlotte and her friend Paula, who is on the board of directors for the theatre have a hard time accepting that Edmund would commit suicide. He was very passionate about the play and the direction he was taking it, it just didn't fit that he would kill himself. Charlotte and Paula dig into their own investigation and try to find out who killed Edmund and why. But with a cast of over-eager actors and a very eager replacement director, how will they narrow down the list of suspects ??? Much Ado About Murder was such a treat to read, Duncan has a way with her writing that you feel like you are right there walking along side Charlotte as she walks the paths along the grounds and you can almost taste the gin and tonic that she makes when she gets together with Paula.....
BeagleGirl123 More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth J. Duncan's third installment in the Shakespeare in the Catskills series, Much Ado about Murder, finds our heroine, Charlotte Fairfax, once again embroiled in murder at the Jacobs Grand Hotel. After theater director Simon Dyer abandons the troupe, English director Edmund Albright is hired to take over. Edmund's unorthodox idea for the bard's production is met with resistance, especially by star actress Audrey Ashley. After Edmund is found dead by an apparent suicide, Charlotte is suspicious.....and rightly so! As Charlotte and society maven Paula Van Dusen work to discover the murderer, they discover that not everyone is as nice as they seem. Loved it - 5 stars! :-)
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Much Ado About Murder is the third book in the A Shakespeare In The Catskills Mystery series. Charlotte Fairfax, costume designer, and Paula Van Dusen, chair of the Shakespeare In The Catskills Theater group, are busy putting the finishing touches on the “star” bungalow in anticipation of the arrival Audrey Ashley. Charlotte and Paula are all set to introduce Audrey to the production’s producer, only to find that he has abruptly left to return home. Scurrying to find a new producer, they ask Wade Radcliffe, a local producer who they have worked with before, if he would be interested in producing their next play, but Ashley’s contract gives her the right of refusal. She refuses and asks that Edmund Albright, a producer she has worked with in England, be hired as producer. Once Albright arrives on the scene and starts a meeting with the cast and crew, he announces that he wants the play to set just after the Civil War. This doesn’t sit well with many of the cast member, nor with Charlotte and her assistant, Aaron. Being professional actors and with the first performance quickly approaching the cast begins to accept the changes, soon learn of Albright’s death. Since Albright was found with a gun in his hand and with no evidence to prove otherwise, the police are considering it a suicide. But Charlotte and Paula believe that it was murder and begin their own investigation. The first person they suspect is Mattie, one of the members of the troupe, who feels that Audrey is too old to play the lead. Could see have had an argument with Albright over this and killed him. They also want to learn more about Audrey and her sister/manager, Maxine. Audrey is playing the role of a diva to the hilt and Maxine seems to be going out of her way to protect her sister. What may they be hiding? With the first performance quickly coming up, Charlotte and Paula want to find the answer before anyone else gets hurt and before the curtain rises. I love this series and its wonderful cast of characters. Once again Ms. Duncan provides the reader with a well-plotted and beautifully told story. I am looking forward to the next book in the series.