Death Takes the Stage

Donald Ward, Author St. Martin's Press $15.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-02128-3
Smooth writing, good dialogue and a smattering of theatrical lingo contribute to an appealing mystery. Hollywood agent Jake Weissman has problems: his clients don't get many parts; his new secretary, a sexy illegal alien with a very large boyfriend tries to seduce and reform him; and a client he's almost forgotten, would-be actor Bobbie Lang, is murdered in a particularly nasty way. Bobbie's lover, truck driver and body builder Arnie Siganski, asks Jake to find the murderer. Much against his inclination, Jake finds himself hanging around Bobbie's most recent place of employment, the Quest Theater, a failing operation run by Hank Harvey, a former stunt man who wants to play Hamlet, and his wife, who once was a back-up swimmer for Esther Williams. The theater is in the middle of a crisis over avant-garde playwright and actress Yolanda Meltzer, who is not, to put it mildly, a box-office attraction but who is backed by Tim and Tina, the backstage mainstays of the Quest, without whose services the company could not survive. Having fallen for Ginny Warner, who runs the Quest's box office, Jake finds his role of private eye getting complicated when two of the principal characters are killed in separate ``accidents.'' Out of such offbeat material, Ward has crafted a truly engaging and funny debut.(July)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Hardcover - 248 pages - 978-0-312-01744-6
Paperback - 248 pages - 978-0-312-03474-0
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