A Fatal Finale

Kathleen Marple Kalb. Kensington, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2723-7
Set in 1899 Manhattan, Kalb’s unfocused debut and series launch introduces Ellen O’Shaughnessy, who runs a traveling opera company under her stage name, Ella Shane. A “trouser diva” whose mezzo-soprano voice suits her to male roles originally written for castrati, Ella is performing as Romeo when the singer playing Juliet, Violette Saint Claire, dies on stage. Ella knows little about Violette, so when the coroner rules the death an accidental nicotine poisoning, Ella considers the matter closed. Then Gilbert Saint Aubyn, Duke of Leith, announces that Violette is his missing cousin, Lady Frances Saint Aubyn, who disappeared from England two years before. Ella agrees to help the attractive duke find out more about the death. The autopsy report reveals handprint-shaped bruising, and Ella narrowly escapes several unlikely accidents in what becomes a murder case. Appealing characters and the well-drawn opera-world setting compensate only in part for the slow, unsuspenseful plot. Kalb displays enough talent to suggest she’ll do better in the sequel. Agent: Eric Myers, Myers Literary Management. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/24/2020
Release date: 04/28/2020
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-4967-2726-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-68457-841-2
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