STAGESTRUCK

Author(s): 

Near the end of the 19th century, Gwen Barlow leaves Ohio to move to a riverboat that her family inherited from her decea-sed uncle Eli. As they journey along the Mississippi, Gwen, mother Lillian and brother Preston encounter the boat, the Jubilee Palace, which the townspeople have nicknamed Eli's Folly, because Eli was never able to pay his theatrical employees.

Eli's death, it turns out, is under suspicion, and a constable insists that the boat stay docked until he solves Eli's murder. Meanwhile, Gwen organizes a performance of a play written by her uncle—and also conducts her own investigation. She wonders whether vagrant worker Travis Veazey is the murderer—or perhaps handsome riverboat captain Carson Stockwell, who has a reputation for torching riverboats.

While the plot flows smoothly, the rather straightforward solution lacks the intricacies that create true suspense. Still, this is an enjoyable cozy that will prove entertaining to readers. (Oct., 241 pp., $25.95)

Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick