To Die or Not To Die Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of To Die or Not To Die

Five Star, Sep 2003, 25.95, 215 pp.
ISBN: 0786254440

In 1919 English Professor John Darnell and his wife of seven years Penny are expecting their first child in a couple of months so he plans to so no sleuthing. However, Mayor Blake Aylmer of Stratford-on-the-Avon calls to ask John to look into two sightings of ghosts on the eve of the American John Barrymore performing Macbeth and Hamlet. Penny persuades John that they can enjoy the performances while he conducts an investigation.
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In Stratford, while John begins his inquiries, Penny visits the sights. However, the case begins turning ugly as dead cats (out of Othello) are found and a near fatal accident occurs. Soon the actress Portia Regan is murdered with suspicion on the director Rex Flint, who had an affair with the actress and offers a shaky alibi. A second murder follows, that of a night watchman, who must have seen something though he insisted he slept through the Portia killing. With a Scotland Yard friend on the scene with John, they investigate two homicides while the great Barrymore does justice to Shakespeare.

The latest Darnell historical mystery is an interesting tale that places a great deal of emphasis on John Barrymore so that the audience receives a sense of knowing the actor. The investigation is fun, but takes a back seat to the era and the stage. The cast is a solid group that enables readers to better observe post WW I England. The answer to whether to read or not to read Sam McCarver's latest work is an affirmative for those fans of early twentieth century who-done-its with an emphasis on the times.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of To Die or Not To Die

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   80% Murder of certain profession?    -   actors/producers/directors Kind of investigator    -   amateur citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   teacher Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Sam McCarver Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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