Death Takes A Bow

CrabbyPatty rated it really liked it

Shelves: 2019-reads, book-in-a-series, gaybookreviews, mm-established-couple, mm-historical, mm-mystery-suspense, netgalley

"Death Takes a Bow" drops us into the midst of the dress rehearsal for a Milwaukee theatre production titled "Death Comes to Lochwood." There's a rich tapestry of characters here, three of whom share a past that includes a death of a fellow actor and a betrayal, a drunken husband / ingenue wife pair, the harried director who desperately needs a packed house, an actor who may be on the brink of getting a part in a Hitchcock movie, Alan Keyes (making his stage debut in a non-speaking role), the diva's ward / assistant, and a completely obnoxious Broadway "star" everyone in the theatre had a reason to despise. Toss in a supposed ghost haunting the venue, and David S. Pederson's latest mystery has plenty of suspects as well as red herrings.

As the book began, I will admit to being somewhat confused by the huge cast, but the pre-opening night cast party scenes helps flesh out the characters, as well as their pasts and motivations. And when the obnoxious actor, Shelby Berkett, is murdered on-stage on opening night, it falls to Detective Heath Barrington and Alan to solve the murder. The plot really explores the full range of motives and opportunities and keeps your interest to the denouncement.

As in past books in the series, Heath and Alan's relationship is all off-page, but Heath makes an interesting comment about the nature of deception:

"Don't we all do that to some extent or another, Heath? Isn't that a part of life, getting along?"

I glanced over at him, and I knew he was right. I was playing a part right now, keeping my true self hidden, and that was indeed a part of life. Of my life, anyway. And it was necessary for my survival.

But there's also a lovely scene near the end of the book that puts into words the feelings that Alan and Heath share for one another, but can't openly share because of the time they live in and their jobs in law enforcement. All in all, an interesting murder/mystery and an apt depiction of the times. 4 stars.

Because there are a million stars in the sky, but you're the only one for me , the only one I see.

Jun 25, 2019Eric rated it really liked it

Ordinariness is not a quality one would normally refer to when highly recommending a book to other readers, but that is just what is so clever about David S. Pederson’s novel of the murder of the star of a play in late 1940s Milwaukee.Here is a novel with gay protagonists in which sexual activity plays little part, and in which the main characters, while personable, are markedly unglamorous.

I greatly enjoyed the fourth instalment of this mystery series featuring two gay detectives who, despite the necessity of keeping their feelings secret, manage to lead fulfilling and ordinary lives.

Heath Barrington and Alan Keyes are a couple, they are lovers. However, they are, primarily, police officers and so their relationship is fraught with danger. They live apart, but their emotional bond is intense. When a handsome actor takes a great interest in Alan, Heath feels jealousy. Will this impair his ability to investigate the crime, and will it jeopardise their affair?

The bitchiness and backbiting of the theatre world are well-captured, although I thought some of the dialogue a little stilted.The murder investigation is thorough, and the classic reveal, at a gathering of all the suspects, is neatly-done.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for the digital ARC. (less)

Jul 23, 2019Claudia rated it it was amazing

Shelves: lgbt, mystery, series

This is a really fantastic story, and there is only one thing I deeply regret about reading this book, and that thing is that I didn't know that it was part of a series, and therefore miss the joy of reading it from the beginning :P

This is a really clever mystery, with two gay main characters whose relationship is not at the forefront of the narrative but definitively there. My favourite kind of story, I must say it: genre books with queer main characters.

The plot is very well done, and we have lots of suspects and a fair number of red herrings running through the story, which kept me guessing and wondering about the real culprit until the end.

I really liked the description of a theatrical production backstage and the faithful description of the times. All in all, this is a great reading, and I'm going to go back and read the whole series from the beginning :)

"...My thoughts bit: This book is like a wreath knot of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. It’s been a long time since I read a good, well-crafted murder mystery. The only thing that makes this book one step above your average murder mystery is that the two main characters… a Detective and a Police Officer are a gay couple. This book is the fourth in the Detective Heath Barrington Mystery series. I read it as a stand-alone and it was easy to follow.

This is a mystery in its purest form. The book is primarily the dialogue and procedure of solving a mystery. Detective Heath Barrington is a laid back guy, but his attention to detail is amazing. And, in spite of the fact that he seems to be comfortable with his relationship with Officer Alan Keys, he’s a little jealous about Alan’s new friendship with a handsome actor. It’s Alan’s involvement in the theatre which leads to the two men being in the theatre the very night a murder is committed.

This book falls into one of my favorite categories; this is a story … with queer characters. Queer is not the focus of the story, it’s just a facet of what is going on. The fact that Heath and Alan are a couple is definitely an integral part of the story, but it’s subtle and well-written… it’s… just another relationship. And what a wonderful way to read about a queer couple!

The murder occurring in the theatre brings Heath and Alan into contact with a snarky, colorful cast. What a delightfully bitchy and back-stabby crew of folks! Some of the supporting characters are equally as interesting as the mains!

If you like murder mysteries and are particularly interested in the old-school type, you’ll love this book!" Kinzie Things