A Shakespearean theater group is rocked by a series of directorial changes.
The Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company brings sorely needed visitors, guests, and money to both the struggling upstate area and the Jacobs Grand Hotel, which provides the venue. English costume designer Charlotte Fairfax, who lives in a cottage on the hotel grounds with her beloved corgi and her fiance, the local police chief, is joined by her close friend Paula Van Dusen, the wealthy chair of the board of directors, to welcome Audrey Ashley, the popular British actress who stars in their latest production, and Maxine Kaminski, her sister and manager. But disaster strikes when the director leaves for a funeral and never returns. Paula suggests that local Wade Radcliffe might be willing to step in, but Audrey, who has director approval in her contract, insists on bringing in English director Edmund Albright, who shocks everyone by insisting on staging Much Ado About Nothing in the post–Civil War period. Eventually, however, most people, including Charlotte, who would have to redo all the costumes, come to think it a good idea. When Edmund is found dead in his cottage, an apparent suicide, Radcliffe, who’s been hired to take his place, retains the period staging. The entire cast and crew must work doubly hard in order to get everything ready by opening night. Although the police still seem to think Edmund killed himself, both Paula and Charlotte, who’s had considerable sleuthing experience (Ill Met By Murder, 2016, etc.), doubt that he had any reason to commit suicide. As Charlotte investigates, she finds any number of people who may have wanted Edmund dead.
An enticing setting and diverse characters make this latest return to the Catskills a pleasure.