When the AWB Theatre troupe accepts an invitation to perform on the tropical island of Illyria, they get more than they bargained for. Sudden death. Many of them. When one of their own troupe is killed, however, Mark Louis, company member and amateur detective, has to first determine whether the supposed accident really was an accident. Mark concludes otherwise, but the actors must return home to New York, forcing Mark to conduct his investigation a thousand miles from the crime. Can he possibly bring a killer to justice from such a distance away?
Early morning. The sky a sparkling blue. The calm and gentle rolling ocean added its azure to the day. The soft greenery of the island caught the day’s golden sunlight, and before long the dappled gray shade would be a much sought after refuge from the eternal summer’s heat.
A squatter, grimier than most, shuffled along the tree-lined dirt road. She carried nothing, perhaps heading to the marketplace for some early shopping. Another squatter surveyed the road and determined they were alone. He pulled out the sharp, gleaming butcher knife he’d brought with him from home and pressed it against his right leg. The woman came even with him, and as she stepped past, he threw his left arm around her, pulling her head back and exposing her brown neck. He drew the knife across her flesh. Blood spurted, and the woman crumpled.
The man hurried away, surprised how easy it had been.
Mark Louis just feels as if there is something missing in his life. He lacks direction. He’s an actor, and an author, and he helped solve a murder several months ago, but still, he doesn’t feel focused. He confides this malaise to his girlfriend, Kristy, as the small AWB Theatre Company heads to the tropical island of Illyria at the request of Mr. Barset, who is trying to turn the island into a paradise resort. The AWB Company is to perform some Shakespeare to help woo investors. But as soon as they arrive on the island they are caught up in several murders. Mark is no longer lacking direction.
This is an exciting mystery which Mark has to solve long-distance as the theatre company stays on Illyria for only a few days. Mark comes up with various explanations which his friends find very far-fetched, something that a writer might think up. But Mark never gives up, and eventually, with some help from Kristy, he solves the case.
This is the second novel in this series and I feel it is even stronger than the first. The characters are fairly well developed and the plot has a number of twists and turns. I did figure things out, at least in a general way, before Mark did, but not by much. The island of Illyria seemed very real, and a trifle sad, as it was supposed to do. I loved all the Shakespeare quotes and I agree with Mark that the Bard has a quote for any situation. The clever ways Twelfth Night contributed to the plot just increased my enjoyment of the novel.
Mystery lovers, especially those who are also fans of Shakespeare, will certain enjoy A Dying Fall.
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