Act One Scene One–Murder, by A. H. Richardson
Book Two in the Hazlett/Brandon Murder Mystery Series
Actor Beresford Brandon returns after Murder in Little Shendon to appear in a stage play opening soon. As you might expect the characters in the play offer a wide range of personalities from shy beginners to over confident stars to stuffy long time actors.
In Act One Scene One–Murder, the author carefully sets the scene. The cast of the coming performance seems at odds with one another, each with their own secrets. In between rehearsals, Berry, as Brandon’s friends call him, is expecting a visit from his good friend Sir Victor Hazlett. Victor arrives just in time to join a dinner party for the cast held at playright Cleland Symeon’s mansion.
A celebration dinner has been quickly planned to bring the cast together, but that is not to be. Even before dinner, the party is interrupted when one of the guests collapses to the floor, dying. A heart attack, or Is it murder?
Once the doctor determines it was not a natural death, inspector Stan Burgess is on the scene. Again both the doctor and the police inspector return from the first book. It’s entertaining to have them work together once again.
The series is an English cozy-type murder mystery, with characters that offer charm of an old fashioned, quite proper sense. They seem quite formal with each other. Victor and Berry, along with accompanying law enforcement officials, work together well, lighthearted yet discerning.
Solving a murder is complicated in any situation of course. In this case the Inspector, Berry and Sir Victor each interviewed the guests and staff. I enjoyed reading the interview conversations, with their different approaches. You may pick up clues as you read. Still, the ending may surprise you. You’ll enjoy reading this one.