Final Curtain: An Edna Ferber Mystery
Poisoned Pen, Jun 3 2014, $24.95
In 1927, Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman wrote the hit Broadway play The Royal Family which was turned into a movie three years later. Now in 1940, a nervous Edna will star in her first acting role as the grumpy elegant matriarch of The Royal Family of Broadway Fanny Cavendish in a summer stock production in Maplewood, New Jersey. Already filled with fear over flopping on stage, Edna turns even more anxious when producer Cheryl Crawford tells her that George agreed to replace ailing Lawrence Burton as director.
Edna meets the cast including handsome Evan Street; who may be an understudy, but acts like an A-list Hollywood superstar even having the nerve to argue with others involved in the production. When someone murders Evan, Edna investigates.
This Edna Ferber mystery (see Downtown Strut, Escape Artist and Make Believe) is a delightful historical amateur sleuth that takes readers to both sides of the Hudson at a time America still remains out of the war. The whodunit is fun and well-written, but what makes this entry and series work is the deep look at the theatre in a bygone era.