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Jane Jeffry has a new hobby: the stage, specifically a rundown theater that close pal Shelley and her husband have donated to a local college drama department. Students from the nearby college are in rehearsal there for a never-before-produced "magnum opus" written by the company's director, a surefire bomb-in-the-making distinctly lacking in style, wit, and substance. Though Jane's connection is culinary -- helping Shelley handle caterers who will be feeding the actors -- she's soon drawn deeper into the drama than she ever hoped or anticipated.
What a scene it is, with petty offstage feuds and jealousies, ego trips, and power struggles between the clueless director-author and his dubiously talent ed cast. Even the presence of two aging professional thespians -- a lecherous old boozer and his genteel, seriously gifted wife -- does nothing to stabilize a volatile situation. And the plot takes a decidedly darker turn when a particularly rebellious young performer exits stage left -- permanently -- courtesy of a head-bashing killer.
Hark It's murder, which means it's a cue for Detective Mel VanDyne, Jane's longtime leading man, to get into the act. But Jane and Shelley have their own roles to play in this twisted true-life theatrical, where each member of the dramatis personae has a makeup case full of secrets, masks, and motives. And they'll have to act fast to uncover the villain of the piece before the denouement turns into a real, corpse-strewn, Shakespearean-style tragedy
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