Thursday, January 22, 2015

Macdeath (An Ivy Meadows Mystery Book #1)

Author:  Cindy Brown
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars

Like every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm—not her flying cauldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career—and her life.


Ivy Meadows (real name Olive Zeigwart) is an actress in Phoenix, Arizona.  Unfortunately, it's not yet a lifetime career, and she's barely struggling to get by.  So when she's given the opportunity to act in Macbeth, she jumps at the chance, and finds out she'll be working with a famous actor who also happens to be a personal friend.

Yet almost from the beginning, things begin to go wrong.  For anyone who knows about theater (and for those who don't) the name Macbeth is never spoken in a theater, attributed to a curse dating back to Shakespeare's time.  When someone unexpectedly mutters it, Ivy and the rest of the crew believe it to be a bad omen - which proves to be true.  Someone dies (which we already know, since this is a mystery, after all), and although it is deemed to be an accident both by the police and her P.I. Uncle Bob, Ivy believes in her heart that the person was murdered, and sets out to prove it.

I absolutely loved this book.  It combines theater (which I love), Shakespeare (which I love), and murder (which I love - in books, to set that record straight).  Watching Ivy stumble through life trying to solve a murder, and not so successfully at times, trying to follow her uncle's instructions on how to question people, is fun.  She's also trying to navigate a possible new relationship, and decide who she can and cannot trust at the theater.  

Her missteps are part of the enjoyment in the book, because she isn't a professional investigator nor a police officer, and she has pitfalls that would occur to anyone who hadn't done this before, which is refreshing.  She is also struggling through life, literally, with little money and keeping her apartment at ninety degrees (this is Phoenix, and it's hot, which I know for a fact, having lived in Tucson for several years myself) in order to keep her electric bill low.

We find out about her past in bits and pieces - her relationship with her parents, her uncle, and her beloved brother, Cody.  Although nothing is said about past relationships with boyfriends, we learn that in this area she might be a little too trusting, and even when she finally figures it all out, we end up thinking we would do the same as her in the situation.

The book is altogether engaging, quite funny at times, and the resolution to the murder at the end interesting and worth the wait.  Highly recommended.

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