Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Murder at the Mikado

Author:  Julianna Deering
Genre:  Mystery, Inspirational

Five Stars

When a celebrated actor is found murdered in his dressing room, all signs point to Drew's old flame.  But behind the curtains nothing is what it seems and it quickly becomes his most puzzling case yet.

Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. She's married now, no longer an actress--but the lead actor in her former troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect.

Drew would rather focus on his fiancee, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur and her family in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe can could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between.

Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madeline's relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure?

********

I was drawn to this book because it takes place in the 1930's, and I love to read books centered around that period.  When I began the book, the conversations felt stilted and mundane, forced, if you will; but as I read on the dialogue definitely improved and along with it, the book.

Drew, preparing for his wedding to Madeline, has a dinner party, and one of the guests, Fleur, is an actress he had a one-night-stand with several years ago.  Fancying himself in love with her, he proposed, only to be rebuffed immediately.  Now he sees that she is still as beautiful as ever, but married to one of his employees; and he doesn't feel the same.

When she approaches him the next day because she is a suspect in the murder of a fellow actor, she wants him to find the real killer because she has a husband and child and doesn't want any scandal.  Reluctantly, he agrees, but Madeline isn't too fond of the idea, being jealous of Fleur.  Still, he takes the case, and along with Madeline and his best friend Nick (who also happens to be the butler's son), they set out to prove Fleur innocent and find the real killer.

The book moved along nicely, the action quite in tune with the setting and time it takes place.  I enjoyed the interaction between the characters, but to be honest, I really didn't understand the irrational - yes, irrational - jealousy of Madeline.  I get that Fleur is gorgeous.  But since he obviously never mentioned her before during their relationship, I can't see that it would make any difference.  And after explaining it, toward the last third of the book, I understand; but that would be her own insecurity and have nothing to do with Drew nor his behavior.  It's not as if he were paying any attention to Fleur now.

Be that as it may, the book was good, and the plot was good.  When the killer was revealed, I don't know whether I was surprised or not, but it was certainly unexpected.  Just when you think you have it all figured out, something changes; in this case it was at the last of the book and made perfect sense. 

I urge you to supress the desire to peek to the end and see who the killer is.  You will enjoy the book much more if you do.  Recommended reading for anyone who likes mysteries.

Note:  This is a Christian mystery, so there are references to God throughout, but not so many that it will spoil the book for anyone who doesn't read the genre.


http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Mikado-Drew-Farthering-Mystery/dp/0764210971/

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