Staged 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Arizona
Kensington (June 26, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07638MJJT
Sophie “Phee” Kimball wants to get some work done at her private investigation company in Arizona—and she’s distracted already by her old crush, who’s arriving from Minnesota to join the staff. The last thing she needs is constant updates from her mom on the local production of Agatha Christie’s “The Mousetrap.” Practically everyone from Mom’s book club and retirement community, with the possible exception of her chiweenie, Streetman, wants to join the cast and crew. But someone’s playing the role of the killer for real.
After a much-despised cast member is found dead on a catwalk in the theater, Phee has no choice but to be drawn into all the backstabbing and backstage gossip. Especially if her drama-queen mother is right about the vaguely threatening note left on her windshield, which could mean curtains for another victim.
Sun City West is launching a production of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap and because all the members of Phee’s mom’s book club love mysteries they all just have to be part of the play. Sophie “Phee” Kimball has other things on her mind, like the new private investigator joining the firm where she works. Someone from her past and she just doesn’t know how she can see him every day without telling him how she feels.
But of course, her mother has to interrupt her at work several times a day with all the happenings at the theater. When Phee receives a call saying a cast member was dead she rushes to the theater to find her mother and her friends uninjured but the star of the play dead up on the catwalk. Phee finds herself in the middle of another investigation along with the new P.I., Marshall Gregory because the Booked 4 Murder Book Club doesn’t think the police have a clue so they have hired the firm to solve the case. Curtain up, light the lights. there is a murder mystery to solve if Phee survives both her mother and the killer.
Thankfully Phee’s Aunt Ina is out of town, so she only needs to be at her mother’s beck and call. Harriet is a real force, says what she thinks, interrupts in the most inopportune moments, and demands her daughter do what she tells her to do, right now! If Harriet was my mother I would either be in jail or live far, far, away. Sophie has the patience of a saint and so does Marshall Gregory. Phee had warned him about her mother and her friends, who aren’t as demanding as Harriet but are pretty manipulative in their own right. Marshall doesn’t back off but takes them all with a grain of salt. He does have feelings for Phee, I just hope whatever relationship they try to have can survive one of the pushiest women on the planet.
After you get used to Harriet’s boldness we are treated to an exceptionable mystery. Twists, threats, “ghosts”, secrets, trapdoors, spotlights, and murder all collide to keep readers glued to the pages. The police really dropped the ball at the beginning of the investigation. It took some digging for the real suspects to come into focus. As all the clues start to fall into place and the mouse is almost trapped the suspense ramps up. I did think after learning all about the mechanisms around and under the stage that Phee would surprise the killer in a different way with to set up the ending. The approach used by the authors did bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion with some chilling moments too.
The Booked 4 Murder ladies do bring a lot of humor to the story. I do have hope for the budding romance between Marcus and Phee, but with Aunt Ina back in town, heaven only knows what the next book will bring.
A fast-paced entertaining read. I should be recovered from Harriet by the time the next book is released. 🙂 All three books in this series have been pleasures to read. I am looking forward to my next visit with Sophie “Phee” Kimball!
Ann I. Goldfarb
New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com
James E. Clapp
When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching. Visit the website at www.jceatonauthor.com
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