Put Out the Light

Sara Woods, Author St. Martin's Press $13.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-312-65702-4
Devotees of Woods's brainy London barrister, Sir Anthony Maitland, are accustomed to his dramatic, courtroom vindications of ""hopeless'' defendants. To chronicle his latest exploits, however, the author places the action in an equally theatrical setting, behind the scenes of a play in rehearsal. The unusual drama is based on an outline by Sir John Cartwright, a 17th century playwright, whose descendant, Chester Cartwright, discovers the script and entrusts the task of fleshing it out to a friend of Maitland's. Whenever the actors are gathered on stage, frightening manifestations of supernatural enmity plague the company. A member of the cast is felled by escaping gas; ghostly warnings are shouted; a magpie is let loose; the tricks progress to murder and, finally, an actress is fatally stabbed in her dressing room. Because the director and leading man is Scotland Yard's prime suspect, but innocent according to Maitland's perceptions, the attorney is quick to produce proof of the guilty person and the mad motive for killing. This whodunit is as archly spun out as its 44 predecessors, but it will undoubtedly captivate the author's large and loyal following. December 27
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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