Sunday, February 06, 2011
Backstage Stuff by Sharon Fiffer
Tim is to sell all the contents of the Kendell mansion. Freddy Kendell, grandfather of the current heirs to the family fortune, was also a playwright. And, Tim has permission to stage one of his melodramas. Jane can't believe it when he doesn't ask her to star in it, since she was a theater major. Instead, Jane's mother, Nellie, has a featured role as a woman in a coma, onstage for much of the play. But, Freddy's play has brought nothing but bad luck in the past, and it looks like that's continuing. And, Tim's not the only one who finds confusing messages from "Old Bumby." The messages say things like, "People foolish enough to put on this play will die - And they will die fools. Listen to Old Bumby on this!"
Tim found the perfect projects to force Jane back into life. The Kendell mansion is filled with interesting pieces. Jane has to bring Tim up to speed as a director, and gather the props for the play. Then, there's the mystery that connects the play and Jane's mother. Nellie has secrets that relate to Bumby, Freddy Kendell, and, possibly even a murder that threatens the play.
Fiffer's mysteries are always most successful when Jane and Tim return to Kankakee. Jane's relationship with her parents is as much a mystery as Jane's involvement in murder investigations. This time, Backstage Stuff is a satisfying mix of family, suspense, and theater. In bringing closure to one stage of Jane Wheel's life, it opens up wonderful possibilities for the continuing series. Backstage Stuff is more than the seventh book in this series. It's the kick-off to a whole new stage in the life of the books.
Sharon Fiffer's website is http://www.sharonfiffer.com/
Backstage Stuff by Sharon Fiffer. St. Martin's Minotaur, ©2011. ISBN 9780312609795 (hardcover), 304p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, in hopes I would review it.