The Rest is Silence by John Paulits

The Rest is Silence by John Paulits
The Shakespeare Murders Volume 1
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (148 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

The director of the AWB Theatre Company, Lawrence Mickelman has alienated everyone in sight with his tyrannical manner. When his body is found in the locked theatre, a sword from Hamlet in his chest, the troupe’s owner asks Mark Louis, one of the actors, to dig a little deeper than she thinks the police will. The police investigation points toward Don Lovett, the play’s Hamlet, but Mark’s suspicions turn elsewhere. As the police prepare to arrest Don, Mark must bring the murderer out into the open before the killer strikes again

This is a fun mystery which takes place during a theatre company’s rehearsals for a production of Hamlet. And as I re-read the Prologue, I realized that there are a number of clues given right there, clues which both I and our amateur detective didn’t pick up on until near the end. The entire murder is detailed in the Prologue, with, of course, the exception of the names of the murderer and the victim.

John Paulits has written an engaging stories, and I could identify with many of the characters. The story is told from different points of view, which allows Paulits to show more dimensions to his characters. A murder in an acting company is ready-made for all sorts of intrigue, plotting, jealousies, and backstabbing. Mark Louis, the amateur detective, plays the role of Laertes, but in fact he would much rather be writing than acting, and he has just had one of his stories published in Ellery Queen Magazine. He does finally solve the mystery, with a lot of help from his friends, and the story ends well. It is refreshing to read a whodunit without a lot of blood and gore.

I did feel that the plot dragged in spots. The characters seemed always to be eating and/or drinking, frequently at a luxurious apartment belonging to Ashley, the aging actress who funds the AWB Theatre Company and also plays the role of Gertrude. Very little of the novel actually takes place in the theatre. Most of it occurs at the after rehearsal dinners and post-murder gatherings. Several events seemed contrived in order to provide the reader with necessary information.

However, overall, Paulits has written a light-hearted cozy mystery with a nice scattering of Shakespeare, and I found it to be an enjoyable read. I can recommend it to any fans of cozy mysteries.

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