Morrow, Nov 2004, 23.95, 240 pp.
Jane Jeffrey and Shelley Novak have been neighbors and best friends for years and now with their children grown they have time to do any project they want to for fun. Shelley's husband bought a run down theatre thinking he can renovate it and use it for storing food supplies but it wasn't cost effective so he donated it to the community college's theater department. Shelley is in charge of hiring different caterers for the rehearsals, a job she wants because she hopes to find some good companies that would cater Shelley and her husband's business affairs.
The cast detests the nasty uncouth director- playwright Steven Imry. When one of the actors, Denny Roth is murdered everyone wants Imry accused of the crime, but lead detective Mel VanDyne (Jane's long time lover) has no evidence to arrest the man. Mel asks Jane's opinions about the various cast members. When the janitor is attacked, Mel instinctively knows that it is the work of the same person who killed Denny, but remains at a total loss for a viable suspect until he finds a safety deposit key that unlocks all the secrets that are needed to solve the case.
Between helping Shelley audition caterers, watching the play several times, working on her book and taking stitching lessons, the protagonist is a busy person. Mel plays a prominent role as the audiences sees things from his point of view as well as that of Jane. Jill Churchill has written an entertaining police procedural that emphasizes finding the killer as much as it does on the daily activities of Jane and Shelley. Fans of this series will thoroughly enjoy this charming work.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner