November 1911. Lady Emily Hardcastle is celebrating her birthday by seeing a play at the Duke’s Theatre in Bristol with her maid and confidante, the inimitable Flo. Act One is a triumph. Then Act Two opens with a body on stage—a real one. One of the cast has been brutally murdered during the interval.
When other matters get in the way of Inspector Sunderland overseeing the case himself, he asks the ever-resourceful Lady H to keep a watchful eye on the suspects—and his police colleagues. Rustling up some cunning disguises of their own, she and Flo are soon in deep cover among the cast and crew, pulling back the curtain on some shocking secrets and rivalries…
The problem is, everyone seems to have a motive, and everyone seems to have an alibi…In this locked-room mystery in which nothing is as it seems, the amateur sleuths need to put on the performances of their lives if they’re to stand a chance of shining a spotlight on the truth…
I love the Lady Hardcastle series so imagine my joy at being able to get my wee mitts on a copy of the newest instalment on NetGalley! This book whizzed to the front of my tbr queue.
I thought that this book was just so fun! Yes it was a murder mystery but it was a very light and fluffy one. While this is book 9 of an existing series, I strongly feel like this book could work as a standalone. Anything you need to know about the characters has been included. I do enjoy that in a series, where it doesn’t matter if you remember the previous editions.
The double act of Lady Hardcastle and Flo (who I decided long ago was her lover and I’m going with this) was just so fun. I love their dynamic and the way that the interact with each other. It’s such a caring partnership that they have and you can tell how much they care about each other. In this book, Flo’s twin sister arrives for a visit and some identical twin high jinx ensued.
The theatre troupe was jam packed with suspects which is something that I want from a murder mystery. I want options for my suspects! It felt like everyone had a motive and I really enjoyed trying to put the case together. I did guess the murderer and motive though. I feel that there was one chapter that made it so obvious who the villain of the story was. That was a little disappointing because I’d been really enjoying the book up until then. I did enjoy the sheer volume of motives supplied, the theatre troupe was so interesting. I loved the drama of their relationships!
There was a wee side quest of Lady Hardcastle and Flo which was just as fun as their big theatre case. Although this one got me in the feels a little.
This was a quick and enjoyable read and I’m still very much into this series. Huge thank you to NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.