We know, pretty early on, that something bad is going to happen because actress Ivy Meadows (real name: Olive Ziegwart) has been cast in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and almost immediately in to the rehearsal period, somewhere says “Macbeth” (and not in the context of rehearsing the lines). For anyone with even the smallest bit of theatre knowledge, this is known as the Curse of the Scottish Play. (If you aren’t familiar with it, you should google it.)
This is a delightful little diversionary mystery. Ivy/Olive is a plucky young woman who is still a bit green when it comes to acting roles. She is cast as one of the witches in a production of Macbeth that will be staged as if it were part of circus (that’s actually not one of the stranger concepts I’ve encountered for a Shakespeare play).
The plot isn’t too terribly strong, but the character of Ivy makes the story interesting. Following her with her budding romance and with her work for her uncle’s detective agency was a lot of fun. Following her with her role in the circus-themed Macbeth was … well … there wasn’t enough of it to experience, which was a missed opportunity. A dark, brutal play set in a circus? What a tremendous playground for a murder mystery! But author Cindy Brown’s forte here is her characters, and they are a fun lot to follow.
Ivy has a lot of work to do to elevate her to the ranks of some of the best detectives in literature, but I liked her spunk and I like the idea of the theatrical setting (I’ve liked it since reading The Hamlet Trap by Kate Wilhelm, back in the late 1980’s) and I look forward to another mystery adventure in the theatre.
Looking for a good book? MacDeath is a light, easy-to-read mystery with a number of fun characters.
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author: Cindy Brown
series: An Ivy Meadows Mystery #1
publisher: Henery Press
paperback, 250 pages