Booklist Reviews

Showy Hollywood actor Gerry Harlington, star of the Wasp Man movies, has recently settled in the village of Lakehurst in Sussex. Hoping to ingratiate himself with the locals, he offers to direct the son et lumiere show, which celebrates the area's eleventh-century Fulke Castle. But when he performs a hip-hop dance in the midst of an Elizabethan fair at dress rehearsal, he's clearly gone too far, and cast members revolt. So when Harlington is found dead after the first performance, there are plenty of suspects, including the victim's wife, who had decided to divorce him. Compounding matters is the death of a young woman who apparently witnessed Harlington's murder. In the second Reverend Nick Lawrence mystery, after The Mills of God (2010), the vicar, who shares his vicarage with a ghost and a cat, helps DI Dominic Tennant find the murderer. The presence of the over-the-top Hollywood figure adds a campy element, but this settles down to a nice cozy with sympathetic characters. A good choice for village-crime fans. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Cozy fans will welcome the pseudonymous Lake's second whodunit set in the quiet Sussex village of Lakehurst (after 2010's The Mills of God). When the director of a local theatrical production—a sound and light show depicting the history of landmark Fulke Castle—suddenly dies, a replacement appears in the form of a flamboyant African-American film actor, Gerry Harlington, best known for portraying a Hollywood superhero called Wasp Man. Harlington, who has recently moved to Lakehurst with his megawealthy Russian wife, offers ideas for jazzing up the drama—like inserting a hip-hop dance into an Elizabethan fair scene—that grate on those under his direction. A murder on opening night prompts clergyman Nick Lawrence, a participant in the show, once again to apply his skills as an amateur sleuth. Insp. Dominic Tennant, the requisite sympathetic member of the force, lends a hand. Brisk prose and vivid portraits of the villagers more than compensate for the rushed and somewhat lame resolution. (Mar.)

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