Hi everyone! I am really excited to be one of today’s tour stops for Murder at the Playhouse by Helena Dixon, which is hosted by my faves over at Bookouture!
Murder at the Playhouse
Author: Helena Dixon
Publication Date: 30 June 2020
Genre: Adult Fiction – Cozy Mystery/Historical Fiction
The scene is set for murder… and Kitty Underhay’s partner has been cast as the killer.
Late Summer, 1933. After a quarrel with too-plucky-for-her-own-good amateur sleuth Kitty Underhay, dashing ex-army captain Matthew Bryant is nursing his wounds, and a tumbler of brandy, when there’s a heavy knock at the door and he finds himself arrested for murder. The body of aspiring actress Pearl Bright has been found, strangled with one of Matt’s own bootlaces, and the evidence seems to be stacked against him.
The local constabulary might have locked Matt up, but before they can throw away the key, Kitty hears the news and hies to his aid, determined to prove his innocence. And when her investigations lead her to the home of retired theatre impresario Stanley Davenport, and the local amateur dramatics society, Kitty uncovers a web of deceit that stretches far beyond the stage make-up. But Kitty’s digging is bringing her to the attention of the killer. Without her partner in crime-fighting, can Kitty expose them and clear Matt’s name? Or will it be curtains for them both?
A gripping Golden Age cozy murder mystery, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, T E Kinsey and Lee Strauss.
This is the three installment in the Miss Underhay Mystery series. If you haven’t read the first two books, don’t worry you can definitely still enjoy this one as a standalone (I definitely recommend the first two though!).
After the quarrel at Enderley Hall, Miss Kitty Underhay and Captain Matt Bryant aren’t exactly on speaking terms when the story first opens. Matt is interrupted one evening by a loud knock at the door where he discovers two girls that are partaking in his neighbor’s scavenger hunt. Being the gentlemen that he is, Matt offers up the item that the ladies seek and continues his night in solitude. Everything comes crashing down when one of the girls ends up dead and he becomes suspect suspect number one.
While Kitty may not be happy with the way things ended at Enderley Hall with Matt, she will hardly stand for Matt to be wrongfully accused of murder. Even though everyone wants Kitty to simply do what is becoming of a lady and not be involved in such matters, Kitty decides to investigate on her own to clear Matt’s name. In doing so, Kitty has to go head to head with very influential people while not losing herself along the way.
I’ll be honest, of the three books this far, I felt that this one was much more subdued in terms of the spark that Kitty and Matt have since they are both still nursing the wounds of the row they had at Enderley Hall. Even though Kitty refuses to be chalked up to a fragile woman who needs to be constantly protected, there’s still hesitation between her and Matt which was a bit frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, they end up getting into their normal stride, but the first half of this book isn’t the snark that we’ve grown to love with this dynamic duo.
One thing that I always love about Kitty is her determination to always throw herself into the messiest of situations without any care for what people might think of her. It is clear that she goes to head with some pretty influential families, and rather than lose her cool, she manages to get information while being involved in high society events that would normally bore her to tears.
I always enjoy the fact that Helena Dixon introduces us to some many possibilities surrounding the murder at hand, but nothing is ever overly obvious. There’s always lots of twists and turns that really keep you guessing and then second guessing up until the very end.
Overall, if you love cozy mysteries and historical fiction, definitely pick up this series!
Thank you to Bookouture for the blog tour invite and providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
Grab your copy of Murder at the Playhouse here!
Nell Dixon was born and continues to live in the Black Country. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, a crazy cockapoo and a tank of tropical fish. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. Her addictions of choice are coffee and reality TV. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 with her book Marrying Max, and winner of Love Story of the Year 2010 with her book, Animal Instincts. She also writes historical 1930’s set cozy crime as Helena Dixon.
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