Friday, December 10, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Scream by Jill Churchill

Book Details
A Midsummer Night's Scream by Jill Churchill
Paperback, 272 Pages
2005, Avon
ISBN: 0060501006
Series: Book 15 of Jane Jeffry

Jane Jeffry has a new hobby: the theater––specifically, a rundown theater that close pal Shelly and her husband have donated to a local college drama department. Jane has graciously agreed to lend her taste buds to the college's newest production, helping Shelly judge prospective caterers who will be feeding the actors. But soon she's drawn deeper into the real life drama surrounding the play than she ever hoped or anticipated.

The cast is embroiled in petty, off–stage jealousies, ego trips and power struggles, all of which are further fueled by the clueless, blowhard director. Even the presence of two aging professional thespians––a lecherous old boozer and his genteel, seriously gifted wife––fails to bring a sense of decorum to this train wreck of a production. And the plot takes a decidedly darker turn when a particularly rebellious young performer exits stage left––permanently––courtesy of a head–bashing killer! Now Jane and Shelly have their own roles to play in this twisted, true life theatrical where each member of the dramatis personae has a make–up case full of secrets, masks and motives.

The obvious theme of A Midsummer Night's Scream is the theater, but this book had a lot more going on than that. We see Jane making progress in her blossoming career as a author, Shelley testing caterers, and the the two of them taking a needlepoint class. With so many different activities going on, readers are sure to find something to grab their attentions. I may not care much about acting or needlepoint, but I loved the look at Jane's road to publication as well as the culinary aspect of the different caterers.

In A Midsummer Night's Scream, Jane and Shelley are on their home turf as they look into the death of an actor. That means finding time for the investigation while raising kids (not as much as before since the children are mostly grown). It also means more involvement from Mel, as it's his case.

The case itself is surprising. I only had the tiniest inkling who the murderer was right before they were revealed. The motive behind the murder was only slightly more obvious given earlier clues. All in all, it was a fun addition to the series.


Jill Churchill's website

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