On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Peachy Scream: A Georgia B&B Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07XXBK3CX
To die, or not to die? Georgia B&B proprietor Nina Fleet turns amateur thespian to bring the curtain down on a Shakespearean actor’s killer.
It’s nothing short of inevitable that Cymbeline, GA, hosts an annual Shakespeare festival. But stage-struck Nina Fleet is about to learn that putting on an amateur theatrical production can be murder. Nina’s anticipating showbiz glamour and glitz when a community Shakespearean troupe arrives for a two-week stay at her B&B. But the lights dim when she learns the company’s director is her nemesis, struggling actor Harry Westcott–who still claims to be the rightful heir to Nina’s elegant Queen Anne home.
Meanwhile, the troupe members are not content to leave the drama up on the stage. Accusations of infidelity and financial malfeasance make a shambles of rehearsals. And then, two days into the troupe’s stay, the lead actor is found dead in Nina’s formal Shakespeare garden. Natural causes…or murder most foul?
Nina uncovers evidence that something is indeed rotten in the town of Cymbeline. Too bad Harry is the only one who believes that she’s not going completely off-script. And exposing the truth isn’t easy when the remaining troupe members say the show must go on…particularly when all of them seemingly had a motive for wanting their fellow actor to permanently exit stage right. Determined to keep the killer from making a curtain call, Nina and her trusty Australian Shepherd, Matilda, join forces with Harry to sleuth out the murder plot. Will they succeed before someone else shuffles off this mortal coil? Find out in Anna Gerard’s delightful second Georgia B&B mystery.
Harry Westcott is back and he has brought a troupe of Shakespearean actors with him. They are booked into Nina Fleet’s Georgia B&B for the next two weeks to take part in Cymbeline’s annual Shakespeare festival. Nina is sure this is just part of Harry’s scheme to take her home away from her but with no other lodging available she can’t send the group away and be responsible for ruining the festival. The trouble with actors though is they always bring the drama. This crowd seems to snipe at each other constantly and are not beyond playing a prank or two. But did someone’s prank go too far? Just two days into their stay lead actor Len Marsh is found dead in Nina’s Shakespeare garden. Foul play? or natural causes?
Nina definitely believes there is murder afoot and shares her thinking with Harry. Soon Nina and her nemesis are teaming up with a little assistance from a certain Australian Shepherd to catch the killer before the curtain comes down on another B&B guest.
Nina (Nine-A) Fleet is a great protagonist and is learning the ropes of being a great innkeeper. She does her best to keep her guests happy and to tend to their needs. Even Harry Westcott. Harry does put his career first and agrees to put his feud with Nina on the backburner if she allows everyone to stay. Having them work together on the murder investigation really shows how much these characters have grown.
Readers are introduced to quite a group of thespians. They include lead actor, playing Hamlet, and victim Les Marsh and his trophy wife Susie, who will be playing Ophelia. Earth Mother, Professor Tessa Benedict, and her hippy husband Bill, who will be playing Queen Gertrude and King Claudius. Bill will also be playing the ghost of Hamlet’s father. Radley Heller, a research and development bigwig, will be playing Laertes. Marvin Lasky who just sold his small electronics development company for a few million dollars, playing Polonius and Horatio. And Chris Boyd, the youngest and newest member of the group. He is quiet with his nose in his phone and earbuds in his ears. He will be playing a variety of minor roles, but really wants the major role of Hamlet. The author does a fine job of fleshing out these characters quickly. It seems they all had reasons to kill Marsh and with everyone staying together at the B&B they all had the opportunity too.
The mystery is well-plotted and I did like Harry and Nina working together but I did pick the culprit out early in the story. That being said I loved the way all was revealed on opening night. A little rewrite of the script and a few background images changed and the show must go on. And go on it does, allowing the killer to reveal themselves. It was entertaining to read and I bet it would have been delightful to watch.
Peachy Scream is a peachy keen addition to this series. I enjoy the realistic characters and the way Ms. Gerard injects humor in all the right places. The Shakespeare theme was fun too.
The next book in this series, Peaches and Schemes will be released on May 11.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with FOOL’S MOON. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series (also written as Anna Gerard) debuted in 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.” Book 3 in that series, PEACHES AND SCHEMES—her 17th published novel—will be on the shelves in May 2021.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”