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WesternSFA


Death in Castle Dark
A Dinner and a Murder Mystery #1
by Veronica Bond
Berkley, $7.99, 288pp
Published: August 2021

Actor Nora Blake finds her dream job when she is cast in a murder-mystery troupe that performs in an imposing but captivating old castle. When she stumbles upon a real murder, things take a nightmarish turn in this first book in an exciting new series.

Maybe it was too good to be true, but when Nora Blake accepted the job from Derek Corby, proprietor of Castle Dark, she could not see any downsides. She would sink her acting chops into the troupe’s intricately staged murder-mystery shows, earn free room and board in the fairy tale–like castle, and make friends with her new roommates, which include some seriously adorable kittens.

But something sinister lurks behind the walls of Castle Dark. During Nora’s second performance, one of her castmates plays the part of the victim a little too well. So well, in fact, that no one can revive him. He has been murdered. Not ready to give up her dream gig—or to be the next victim—Nora sets out to see which one of her fellow actors has taken the role of a murderous real-life villain.

Nora takes a job in a acting troupe performing murder mysteries at an actual castle outside a small town in Illinois. It is a dream job, it comes with meals, a nice apartment in the castle, a wonderful and a friendly troupe of fellow actors. Things are going splendidly until in the midst of one murder mystery night one of the actors ends up really dead.  Suspicion falls on the castle residents but there seems no motive, Nora stumbles across a variety of clues which she passes on to the good-looking police detective who was undercover at the castle. Will they find the killer before there is another victim?

This is the first in a new cozy series. We have a cast of interesting characters, cute kittens, a happy dog and just a touch of romance.  Nora figures things out naturally, the ways in which she learns relevant information in completely believable and she does not rush off to apprehend the killer herself, she does the realistic thing and informs the handsome police officer of what she finds out when she finds it out. A quick and pleasant read. I look forward to more in this series. ~~ Stephanie L Bannon

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