A theater’s summer season is plagued by murder and other problems.
Reporter Leigh Girard has garnered a reputation for crime-solving in the time she has lived in Wisconsin’s Door County, the lovely, peaceful area where she moved after she was beset by breast cancer and recieved an unsupportive reaction from her husband. She’s writing a story for the Door County Gazette on the 65th anniversary of the Bayside Theater, whose checkered past includes the mysterious disappearance of an actress 23 years ago. Now, many of the same actors from that time have gathered to raise money for the failing theater, including talented stage actor Julian Finch, Hollywood hunk Nate Ryan, and Ryan’s ex-wife, Nina Cass. Leigh is also looking into the death of a recovering alcoholic Vietnam vet whose roommate in their lakeside shack is the No. 1 suspect. In addition, she must deal with the sudden appearance of her husband with divorce papers, the tentative revival of a romance with her editor and the unwelcome advances of the theater’s jack-of-all-trades. Nate dies after a night of drug-fueled sex with Leigh’s best friend, a nurse who remains distraught over her failure to save him. The police won’t say whether it was accident or murder, but Leigh finds that both the cases she’s trying to untangle have roots deep in the past.
Leigh’s third (Death’s Door, 2009, etc.) gives her two excellent mysteries to solve and a brace of deeply realized characters to search among.