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04 July 2016

Rambling About.. Show Time by Suzanne Trauth

Title: Show Time
Author: Suzanne Trauth
Publication: 19 July 2016 -- Lyrical Underground (Kensington Books)
Amazon Description: 
The tide has turned for Dodie O’Dell since a hurricane upended her life on the Jersey Shore. Now she’s further up the coast in sleepy Etonville, managing a restaurant that dishes dinners themed around the community theater’s latest productions. But Dodie just never imagined she’d land the starring role in a case of bloody homicide . . .

Intrigued by rumors of vanishing box office money, Dodie has agreed to help oversee the casting of Romeo and Juliet at the modest Etonville Little Theater. If nothing else, it’s a welcome escape from the thirty-something’s usual going-to-bed-with-a-mystery-novel routine. But when Jerome Angleton, a well-respected member of the theater company, is inexplicably found murdered on the loading dock, deadly drama transcends the stage—and the page. As a crime wave crashes over the small town, the spotlight is on Dodie to orchestrate her own investigation behind the scenes . . . before someone has a chance at a killer encore.

First Lines: There is no such thing as a Jersey girl. For example, if you lived below the Driscoll Bridge and were a citizen of the Jersey Show, as I had been  for more of my life, you were not necessarily defined by certain hairstyles and a particular accent. You were more likely to have a six-month tan and a strong penchant for boardwalk fries and fresh oysters. So I was a Jersey Shore girl.

Ramble (with Faves on 4s): After Hurricane Sandy had devastated the Jersey Shore, Dodie O'Dell headed north to Etonville to help manage a restaurant as a fund-raising pitstop of sorts before heading on to New York. 18 months later she's not only still at the Windjammer, but she has close friends and is involved with the local community theater thanks to a dinner-and-show event that she's helped to establish between the two.
By the time the ELT produced Dames at Sea and I had devised a seafood buffet, patrons were getting used to dining early and darting next door to the show. I was a marriage made in culinary heaven. (4%)
Dodie gets roped into helping with the upcoming production of  Romeo and Juliet and on the night of the auditions her friend Jerome is murdered. Jerome was a retired English teacher, a fixture at the theater box office (and stage), and shared Dodie's love of mystery novels. She ends up following the lead of so many fictional amateur detectives before her and starts to investigate the crime herself -- often to the chagrin of the handsome new police chief, Bill. Sometimes she shared with him what she was doing. Sometimes, well, she put it off.
Still, I was feeling some guilt at holding back this information and remembered my great aunt Maureen's favorite saying, that she had crocheted on a wall hanging: In life's wardrobe of emotions, guilt is the itchy wool turtleneck that's three sizes too small. I'd been scratching for several days now. (44%)
The mystery gets more complicated than just "who killed Jerome?" His apartment, the theater and the library are all broken into and tossed about, and there's a strange black SUV that appears to be stalking Dodie. These additional events mean that Dodie gets even further involved with the investigation and with Bill -- at least, in a professional manner.
"I hope this isn't too early?"
So this was what Bill sounded like in the morning, slightly hoarse, slightly sexy. (54%)
It's not just Dodie and Bill, of course. Etonville is small-town living at its finest and most gossip-mongering. Between the theater crowd, the restaurant crowd, and the crowd at her friend Carol's hair salon, everyone knows at least a version of everything almost as soon as it happens. Often times these versions are hilarious -- especially if the elderly Banger sisters are involved in the telling -- but even Bill finds out that small-town gossip can be helpful.
Bill opened his mouth, the closed it. "How did you--?"
"Snippets." I grinned. "Don't underestimate the power of the hair salon. Gossip central."
"Well, I'll be..." (64%)
It's a splendid little cozy and, even though I had a guesstimate as to whodunnit, I wasn't able to piece it all together until Dodie could herself. I loved getting to know her, Bill, and the residents of Etonville and I'm incredibly happy that this is the first in the series. I'm hoping that the tie-in of the theater productions continue because those gave a good bit of light-heartedness to the stress surrounding the mystery at hand.
Juliet lay back down.
Abby went back to work. "Alas alas! Help help! My lady's dead."
Thwap. She slapped Juliet across the face and caught her unawares. "Stop it!" Juliet screamed. (94%)
Show Time  is being released on July 19th by Lyrical Underground/Kensington Books. I'm very thankful to the publishers and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read it in advance. It was absolutely a pleasure and I highly recommend it to cozy mystery fans!

3 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun. I always like amateur dramatics in cosies - they let the characters go a bit over the top!

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  2. I just found your blog using the #20BooksofSummer hashtag on Twitter. I'm doing the challenge, too! I look forward to reading more of your reviews!

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