The Second Ella Shane Mystery
Ella Shane and her cousin Tommy are riding high as opening night of their opera company's new production goes off without a hitch. With thunderous applause still resonating Ella welcomes the usual stage door Lotharios, as well as her family and friends. The highs of a successful opening quickly die, however, when shouts lead everyone to the dressing room of the basso playing Richard III. Bloody knife in hand and a dead body at his feet his guilt seems obvious. But is it too obvious?
Although a historical novel, the second Ella Shane Mystery tackles current issues as it confronts racism as well as murder. In fact, A FATAL FIRST NIGHT is all about acceptance. How do you create a circle of friends and family? Do you take people as they are or do you want to change them? What will you do to fit in? What will you do to stop others from joining in?
Ella Shane is nobody's fool. She may be an opera diva, but she was raised on the harsh streets of New York City and is not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for her friends. She's also willing and physically able to muck in and can handle herself in a fight. She's loyal and loving and has made a family of friends and opera company employees. I adore Gil and hope that he and Ella are able to overcome their situational differences and arrive at a mutually satisfying arrangement. In the meantime I enjoy their unusual chaperones as they maintain propriety while their romance blossoms.
A FATAL FIRST NIGHT is not a fast paced rush to find a killer. This historical mystery takes a meandering route in solving the murder. Ella Shane's first priority is her work and continuing the run of her company's new opera. With details of another sensational murder and the surprising visit of Gil, the murder and subsequent arrest of the show's basso take a backseat. This is a more realistic approach. Ella's quiet investigatory techniques are more believable than charging in where no amateur sleuths belong. Readers are able to become more immersed in historical details and develop better connections with the characters.
With murder and intrigue both onstage and off, A FATAL FIRST NIGHT proves a delightfully rich character driven historical mystery. Engaging characters, simmering romance, and an exhilarating climax make for a satisfying and enjoyable read.