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Death Takes the Lead

(The ninth book in the Gilded Age Mystery series)
A novel by

When a series of mysterious deaths plagues a new Scottish play, heiress and lawyer Prudence MacKenzie and her partner ex-Pinkerton Geoffrey Hunter are called in to perform an investigation at one of Broadway’s most stunning theatres . . .


APRIL 1891:
 Prudence MacKenzie is delighted to attend a riveting rehearsal of Waif of the Highlands with her dear friend, Lydia Truitt, whose cousin, Septimus Ward, stars in the play. But the drama continues after the curtain falls, as the women overhear a ferocious argument between Septimus and the play’s famous playwright-director, Barrett Hughes.

When confronted about the dispute, Septimus reveals that 
he actually wrote the script, but allowed Hughes to claim authorship in return for casting Septimus’s paramour, Flora Campbell, in the lead. Septimus has come to regret the agreement and vows to reclaim authorship, even if it means the play never opens. But, days later, Prudence and Geoffrey are urgently summoned to Septimus’s boarding house, where the thespian lays dying in Lydia’s arms.

Lydia believes her cousin’s death is no accident and wants Hunter and MacKenzie Investigative Law to look into the matter, going so far as to help Prudence and Flora secure employment undercover in the play’s wardrobe department. At first, Hughes’s determination to keep the production running seems admirable, but his motives are soon called into question as Prudence hears whispers backstage about his notorious predatory behavior with young women. And when another body turns up at the theatre, it’s clear that someone is targeting the play and its company—but why?

Prudence and Geoffrey must improvise as they tread into an unfamiliar world where deceit is cultivated for entertainment and deception is celebrated as talent, to expose a darkness lurking behind the glittering stage lights. . .

Genre: Historical Mystery

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