"Darnell historical mystery"
In 1919 English Professor John Darnell and his wife of
seven years Penny are expecting their first child in a
couple of months so he plans to do no sleuthing. However,
Mayor Blake Aylmer of Stratford-on-the-Avon calls to ask
John to look into two sightings of ghosts on the eve of the
American John Barrymore performing Macbeth and Hamlet.
Penny persuades John that they can enjoy the performances
while he conducts an investigation.
In Stratford, while John begins his inquiries, Penny visits
the sights. However, the case begins turning ugly as dead
cats (out of Othello) are found and a near fatal accident
occurs. Soon the actress Portia Regan is murdered with
suspicion on the director Rex Flint, who had an affair with
the actress and offers a shaky alibi. A second murder
follows, that of a night watchman, who must have seen
something though he insisted he slept through the Portia
killing. With a Scotland Yard friend on the scene with
John, they investigate two homicides while the great
Barrymore does justice to Shakespeare.
The latest Darnell historical mystery is an interesting
tale that places a great deal of emphasis on John Barrymore
so that the audience receives a sense of knowing the
actor. The investigation is fun, but takes a back seat to
the era and the stage. The cast is a solid group that
enables readers to better observe post WW I England. The
answer to whether to read or not to read Sam McCarver's
latest work is an affirmative for those fans of early
twentieth century who-done-its with an emphasis on the
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted August 8, 2003