Morice continues to provide awfully uneven cases for her once-so-promising actress/sleuth Tessa Crichton. Here Tessa joins the company of the Rotunda Theatre in coastal Dearehaven--where elderly, ill, theater-owner Elfrieda Henshaw is in the manipulative thrall of Melanie Jones, a vivacious would-be actress with an unsavory past. Among those concerned about this situation: playwright James Crowther and veteran Rotunda actress Viola Hopkins. And soon both Henshaw and Melanie are dead--one an obvious accident, the other clearly murder. This time Tessa produces the culprit without help or hindrance from C.I.D. husband Robin; her cousin Toby plays his usual dim, charming straight man; and there are several intriguing walk-ons. But the motivation is ill-defined and contrived, and the pace is terribly choppy, making this a just-passable diversion that's rescued (barely) by Morice's graceful prose and the moderately perky backstage atmosphere.