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Untimely Death (Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery #1)

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A Catskills resort’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes a wickedly ironic turn when the leading lady, Lauren Richmond, is first poisoned and then stabbed. Who would extinguish the life of such a beautiful young thespian? Who wouldn’t? Seems like just about everyone had a motive to pull the ropes on her final curtain call. At the center of this Shakespearian A Catskills resort’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes a wickedly ironic turn when the leading lady, Lauren Richmond, is first poisoned and then stabbed. Who would extinguish the life of such a beautiful young thespian? Who wouldn’t? Seems like just about everyone had a motive to pull the ropes on her final curtain call. At the center of this Shakespearian tragedy is Charlotte Fairfax, formerly the costume mistress of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Upstate New York is a long way from the royal stage, but Charlotte is always the queen of her domain. As this small production’s costume designer, she has stitched her way into everyone’s lives, learning more than anyone could possibly imagine about the rise and fall of Lauren Richmond. But curiosity killed the cat. And it might well kill the costume designer. Witty and wise work, Untimely Death, the first in Elizabeth J. Duncan’s charming cozy series, is sure to delight.


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A Catskills resort’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes a wickedly ironic turn when the leading lady, Lauren Richmond, is first poisoned and then stabbed. Who would extinguish the life of such a beautiful young thespian? Who wouldn’t? Seems like just about everyone had a motive to pull the ropes on her final curtain call. At the center of this Shakespearian A Catskills resort’s production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet takes a wickedly ironic turn when the leading lady, Lauren Richmond, is first poisoned and then stabbed. Who would extinguish the life of such a beautiful young thespian? Who wouldn’t? Seems like just about everyone had a motive to pull the ropes on her final curtain call. At the center of this Shakespearian tragedy is Charlotte Fairfax, formerly the costume mistress of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Upstate New York is a long way from the royal stage, but Charlotte is always the queen of her domain. As this small production’s costume designer, she has stitched her way into everyone’s lives, learning more than anyone could possibly imagine about the rise and fall of Lauren Richmond. But curiosity killed the cat. And it might well kill the costume designer. Witty and wise work, Untimely Death, the first in Elizabeth J. Duncan’s charming cozy series, is sure to delight.

30 review for Untimely Death (Shakespeare in the Catskills Mystery #1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Reading this book is a bit like listening to your senile grandmother try to explain an entire episode of "Murder She Wrote" that she watched twenty years ago. She rambles a lot and gets the story all mixed up and none of the characters register because she's not actually describing them or telling you anything about them. It's set in a regional theatre in the Catskills in New York but she's never been there so she doesn't actually describe a theatre or the Catskills at all accurately and there's Reading this book is a bit like listening to your senile grandmother try to explain an entire episode of "Murder She Wrote" that she watched twenty years ago. She rambles a lot and gets the story all mixed up and none of the characters register because she's not actually describing them or telling you anything about them. It's set in a regional theatre in the Catskills in New York but she's never been there so she doesn't actually describe a theatre or the Catskills at all accurately and there's sort of a mystery because someone got killed but your grandmother doesn't actually know anything about how the police investigate crime and she can't actually be remembering this right at all because Jessica Fletcher was at least entertaining. Ugh, man, that was mean even for me. Elizabeth Duncan looks like a lovely person and I'm sure she is. This book is NOT lovely. Calling this a "cozy mystery" is like calling Kraft Singles cheese. Technically you're right but I still don't want to eat it. In what reads more like a barely finished outline for a longer, more detailed story we are introduced to Charlotte Fairfax who is a costume designer or costume mistress who doesn't actually design anything or both since these are two ENTIRELY different things and thus not interchangeable at a struggling theatre attached to a has been hotel in the Catskills. In a move straight out of a game of "Clue" the star of the world's most bizarrely staged production of Romeo and Juliet gets murdered and Charlotte decides to solve the crime herself and then the bad guy gets arrested. In between those two plot points we are treated to the daily travails of what just might be the most inaccurately described theatre company in the history of literature. There is so very much wrong with so much of what Ms. Duncan has written that I feel the need to spell at least some of it out in list form... 1.) A "read through" of a play is..bear with me...a read through of the play. The actors usually sit around a large table and...wait for it...read the play. A "read through" is not the director yelling "Places!" since its the first day of rehearsal and no one has any "Places!" to be then suggesting that the cast "Transport me back to old Verona!" while he sits in the front row and watches them. 2.) Consequently its kind of hard for your almost but not quite washed up alcoholic star to mess up his lines since at the "read through" he's READING!!!!!! from the script. 3.) It is literally impossible to stage a production of anything with only a director and a costume designer/costume mistress. No seriously. I know your theatre company is "struggling" but you have to have an actual producer, stage manager and a crew and a lighting person and a sound guy and someone who sells tickets and ushers and the guy who makes the programs. 4.) An "intern" who went to "design school" but doesn't know anything about design who is supposed to be assisting the costume designer and also being the stage manager doesn't count as what I just explained above. 5.) A "stage manager's" entire job is not "minding the prompt book." 6.) A "struggling" theatre that somehow affords to import even a semi famous "star of the season" from frickin' England can afford a crew. They also usually know that you should probably make the "star of the season" either Friar frickin' Lawrence or Lord Capulet since Lord bloody Montague has about four seconds of stage time and ten lines. 8.) As a general rule when someone is taken to the hospital for unknown reasons and you take it upon yourself to search their home without a warrant or frankly any kind of probable cause its kind of frowned upon to steal their jewelry simply because you don't believe it could possibly belong to them to have it "analyzed." That is called theft even if you are a police officer. 9.) "Costume design" and "putting on a Shakespeare play" and "directing" usually involve actually doing something. Its called having a "concept." That's when your "crew" (which you have because you are an actual theatre company) determine where and when your play is taking place, what the directors "vision" is and how that will be realized with the addition of sound, light, and costumes. Then you tell the actors what to do to realize this "concept." This is called "directing a play." This is the only way you can put on a play people will actually pay to see. 12.) A "director" does not randomly shout out "Pay attention to the words!" and "I want projection" while your cast wanders aimlessly on the stage. That is not "directing." I have no clue what that is. Please see above for definition of "directing." 13.) A Tylenol overdose? Really? Tylenol? 14.) In the whole history of police work no police officer has ever said "It'll be good when we get the one missing piece that wraps this case up for us...in every case, there's always that one thing that ties it all together." 15.) The passage of time is an actual thing that you need to acknowledge. We use things like days of the week, months, and times of day to keep track. Try it! 16.) It takes roughly two to two and half hours to get from "the Catskills" to NYC making it kind of a hike to "pop in for lunch" three times a week. I know because I looked up something called a "train schedule" on something called "Google." 17.) In the whole history of talking on the phone no one has ever, not even once, said "what's that you say?" and then repeated word for word everything the person they're talking to just said out loud. This has never happened. 18.) Do not write lines like "then came the cocaine years." Just don't. Please. Ever.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Robbins

    For complete review check out my blog at https://booksaplentybookreviews.blogs... For complete review check out my blog at https://booksaplentybookreviews.blogs...

  3. 4 out of 5

    QNPoohBear

    Charlotte Fairfax was once the costume mistress for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon, until a production and a man brought her to New York. When the relationship ended badly Charlotte chose to stay- not in the City but in the Catskills at a rundown old hotel that happens to have a resident theater company. Charlotte is readying the costumes for the upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet. She isn’t thrilled to be saddled with an intern. Aaron Jacobs, nephew of the hotel owner Charlotte Fairfax was once the costume mistress for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-Upon-Avon, until a production and a man brought her to New York. When the relationship ended badly Charlotte chose to stay- not in the City but in the Catskills at a rundown old hotel that happens to have a resident theater company. Charlotte is readying the costumes for the upcoming production of Romeo and Juliet. She isn’t thrilled to be saddled with an intern. Aaron Jacobs, nephew of the hotel owner, has come to the Catskills to work for his uncle for the summer. Aaron is eager to get designing but there are a million other tasks to do. Simon, the director, also has his hands full. Julie (Lauren Richmond) is not happy with her costume; Brian Prentice the aging, alcoholic former darling of the British theater can’t stay sober long enough to focus and his awful wife, Lady Deborah, is more interested in shopping and socializing than supporting her husband’s career. When Lauren doesn’t appear for rehearsal, Charlotte is sent to check on the younger woman. Charlotte is shocked to find the young woman barely breathing. It appears she overdosed on something. Was it an accident or on purpose? Then Lauren ends up stabbed to death. Who could have done such a thing? The police suspect Aaron because he is the only one without an alibi. Charlotte is certain her new intern is not a murderer. She is determined to prove the police (and her boyfriend, a local cop) wrong. This mystery was only so-so for me. Technically it’s a cozy but it’s different. The story skips around in point-of-view from Charlotte’s head to the other characters involved. I didn’t like that. It was confusing at first and then it made it too easy to figure out who the killer is and why. The author seems fixated on people's appearances. The descriptive adjectives include "attractive" (attractive to whom? What makes her attractive?) and "young man in a black yarmulke" (in a jewelry store nonetheless... Is he supposed to be Shylock?). I can't stand that kind of description. Don't be lazy authors. I didn’t really care for Charlotte all that much. She doesn’t have much personality. She’s rather no-nonsense mixed with a warm heart. I don’t have much respect for anyone who gives up everything because some lousy man broke her heart. Charlotte doesn’t have that much chemistry with Ray either. She has more chemistry with Simon and Aaron. Her constant name dropping “You know who told me that?” is seriously annoying and she’s super judgmental of young people who don’t know the names she brings up. (They should at least know Sir Alec Guinness if she told them Obi Wan Kenobi). She also does a lot of stupid stuff during her investigation and believes in a young man she’s only just met. For someone in her early 40s she's technologically clueless! She sounds like an old lady. Charlotte is also quite judgemental about people she barely knows and reveals stupid details to her intern. I liked Aaron at first but then he got annoying. He’s such an eager beaver and taking on too many projects. His alibi is stupid and made me not like him. People would KNOW if he was doing what he said he was doing. Could he be lying? I had my suspicions. His uncle Harvey, the owner of the hotel is also under suspicion. He doesn’t lift a finger or part with a cent to fix up his hotel or get involved with the troupe until there’s a murder. Could he have done it himself? He has a few reasons to be happy about that. Brian Prentice and Lady Deborah are two mismatched people and very unpleasant. She’s a downright nasty, snobby, awful person. Brian is not a wonderful person either. His alcoholism is becoming a huge problem and he wasted his career. He’s married yet having an affair with Lauren. Lauren is a nasty beyotch so clearly Brian has a type. Even though Lauren is a horrible mean girl with a boob job, she didn’t deserve to die. If you like more classic British cozies with less focus on quirky characters, small towns and budding romance, you will enjoy this.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kellene

    This book wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either, so I'm giving it a 2.5 rating. I enjoyed parts of the book, namely the setting and some of the minor characters. I didn't really dislike Charlotte, but I'm not sure I got to know her at all. But I did like her dog a lot. There were so many things in the book that made me pause in light of the ridiculousness (the whole deal with the ring, for one, and how there was no money for anything with the play until miraculously there was). And I had t This book wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great either, so I'm giving it a 2.5 rating. I enjoyed parts of the book, namely the setting and some of the minor characters. I didn't really dislike Charlotte, but I'm not sure I got to know her at all. But I did like her dog a lot. There were so many things in the book that made me pause in light of the ridiculousness (the whole deal with the ring, for one, and how there was no money for anything with the play until miraculously there was). And I had the murderer pegged from the time the crime was committed. But again, it wasn't terrible, and I will probably read the next one in the series just to see if it gets better.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Reads Books

    After reading Elizabeth Duncan's series featuring Penny Brannigan, I felt sure I would love the Shakespeare in the Catskills mysteries. I wasn't disappointed. The setting is quite lovely and really draws the reader in. The characters are charming and well developed. I loved the relationship between Charlotte and her assistant, Aaron. They make a great sleuthing team. After reading Elizabeth Duncan's series featuring Penny Brannigan, I felt sure I would love the Shakespeare in the Catskills mysteries. I wasn't disappointed. The setting is quite lovely and really draws the reader in. The characters are charming and well developed. I loved the relationship between Charlotte and her assistant, Aaron. They make a great sleuthing team.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chaitra

    Two things: 1. The young ingenue, Lauren, is rushed to the hospital with what is supposed an overdose. (It turns out it is). Charlotte, on the premise of bringing Lauren her clothes goes to her room with her cop boyfriend. Snooping where they shouldn't have, both of them find an enormous ring in the room, which with her costume expertise Charlotte supposes is a British ring. And the cop boyfriend takes it. There isn't a crime scene yet. Why is he appropriating the ring? Just because there might b Two things: 1. The young ingenue, Lauren, is rushed to the hospital with what is supposed an overdose. (It turns out it is). Charlotte, on the premise of bringing Lauren her clothes goes to her room with her cop boyfriend. Snooping where they shouldn't have, both of them find an enormous ring in the room, which with her costume expertise Charlotte supposes is a British ring. And the cop boyfriend takes it. There isn't a crime scene yet. Why is he appropriating the ring? Just because there might be a crime committed in the future, you can't go around snatching whatever you please, cop or not. 2. Charlotte steals the very same ring when her boyfriend brings it out for her from where it is safely locked in the evidence room. By this time, a crime has been committed. Already he mishandled the evidence, and now Charlotte does too, right under his cop nose. She wants it appraised. She gives it back, is sorry a little bit and it's all fine. No mention of breaking the law afterward, because a) she's the cop's girlfriend and he'll cover for her and b) she stumbles on the killer they should have thought about from the beginning anyway. And a couple of bonus things. The Shakespeare in the Catskills is supposed to not have any budget, they don't seem to have a prop person, set decorator or a lighting person. I'm not sure if they were mentioned and I didn't take any note of them, but in my defense, the company seemed sparsely crewed. It doesn't even look like they'll draw much of an audience before it turns into a crime scene. But they can afford a former British theater great who is married to a titled lady, and not even in a plum role to soothe his ego. He isn't hurting for money as we figure out, and this jaunt wouldn't bring him the recognition he craved. It's not the first time - the theater has what is called the Star Bungalow to house the one star they book every season. I'm not sure what the deal is here. I must have missed something crucial, because they went to dress rehearsal awfully fast. They were just being fit in their costumes and reading through the play and suddenly, in the middle of losing an important cast member and gaining another, they're all in costume. Also, after making a big deal of no new costumes, they were very quick to make a new one for the new leading lady. What's wrong with modifying another one? Aaron seemed very clueless about fashion for someone who went to fashion school, and Charlotte very technology averse for a person who is very well regarded in her profession. She's also not seen doing very much costume related, Aaron makes the only costume - why does he get to do something as important as Juliet's new dress when he's only Charlotte's assistant and one who hasn't even gotten out of school? He certainly doesn't seem to understand that costumes need to be period appropriate. Anyway, why would they want Charlotte around after that? They could probably hire Aaron for much cheaper. I'll read the second, but if it's as bugging as this one, I'll drop the series. And I don't even know much about theater.

  7. 5 out of 5

    OjoAusana

    Pretty good cozy mystery, liked the doggo :) the characters weren't too bad either, would like to read more of the series but libby doesn't have any! Pretty good cozy mystery, liked the doggo :) the characters weren't too bad either, would like to read more of the series but libby doesn't have any!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    3.5 stars!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    2 stars This was an interesting mystery. But unless I missed something there is a plot thread dangling. (view spoiler)[There were two possible victims for the poison. I wasn’t sure if the attempted poisoning was meant for Brian or Lauren, even though it was Lauren who actually drank it. “She’s had an overdose of acetaminophen” That might have killed Brian but only sickened Lauren. Now later we learn that it was Deborah who stabbed Lauren, but she is seen arriving from New York city as the ambulan 2 stars This was an interesting mystery. But unless I missed something there is a plot thread dangling. (view spoiler)[There were two possible victims for the poison. I wasn’t sure if the attempted poisoning was meant for Brian or Lauren, even though it was Lauren who actually drank it. “She’s had an overdose of acetaminophen” That might have killed Brian but only sickened Lauren. Now later we learn that it was Deborah who stabbed Lauren, but she is seen arriving from New York city as the ambulance is leaving so I don’t see how she could have poisoned the drink even though later she stabbed the girl. (hide spoiler)] I have questions about the plot that didn’t seem resolved in the book that I put in the spoiler, if anyone has any insight into them I loved to hear from you. Cozies Reading Challenge

  10. 4 out of 5

    Allison Ann

    I didn't love this book. While it had an interesting premise and location, the actions of the MC really turned me off. Just because your boyfriend is the police doesn't mean you should get away with blatantly illegal things. And it didn't really hold my interest. Not sure about continuing the series yet. We'll see. Sometimes the second book is better. I didn't love this book. While it had an interesting premise and location, the actions of the MC really turned me off. Just because your boyfriend is the police doesn't mean you should get away with blatantly illegal things. And it didn't really hold my interest. Not sure about continuing the series yet. We'll see. Sometimes the second book is better.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Una

    True definition of a cozy, enjoyable, good characters, nicely flowing story. I appreciated the MC not being ditzy and doing things unbelievable. It was a little too easy to discern who the culprit was fairly early on, however.

  12. 5 out of 5

    April

    This author does that typical racist thing white authors do: the only time she acknowledges a character’s race/ethnicity, it’s to play into stereotypes. There’s the thuggish “black man” with shiny gold teeth trying to peddle fake jewelry on the street. And then there’s the “shifty” jeweler wearing a yarmulke and sporting the traditional Orthodox curls. I can’t stand racist nonsense like this.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Romancing the Book

    Reviewed by Julie Book provided by publisher for review Originally posted at Romancing the Book Untimely Death taps into the world of theatre performers and the behind the scenes drama that goes into putting on a small production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, including the costuming, which is Charlotte Fairfax’s responsibility. This play, an annual tradition for the resort, puts Charlotte in the uncomfortable position of working with her former boyfriend, Brian, and witnessing his decline as a Reviewed by Julie Book provided by publisher for review Originally posted at Romancing the Book Untimely Death taps into the world of theatre performers and the behind the scenes drama that goes into putting on a small production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, including the costuming, which is Charlotte Fairfax’s responsibility. This play, an annual tradition for the resort, puts Charlotte in the uncomfortable position of working with her former boyfriend, Brian, and witnessing his decline as an actor, but still harboring some real pain over the break up. However, she doesn’t have too much time dwell on Brian when one of the actresses in the play meets an untimely death, due to foul play. It’s up to Charlotte and her boyfriend, Ray, to discover who wanted her dead and why. Cozy mysteries have been around forever, with seasoned authors boasting long running installments in wildly popular series. Still the genre is rarely taken seriously, until now, as they are one of the hottest things going. New series, like this one, are cropping up all the time as more people are turning to these stories for light, fun, easy reading. This first installment in the series, set in the Catskills of New York, is one I wanted to take a closer look at due to the Shakespearean themes. This book was a fun read, and gets the series off to a solid enough beginning. Often times, these light mysteries are very character driven, and the focus is more on the personal dramas and relationships of the characters and less on the mystery aspect of the story. In this case, the author balanced the two equally, which is something I would like to see happen more in this genre. However, the mystery is just a little flimsy, perhaps a tad predictable, but still managed to throw in an unusual twist. With everyone trying to board the cozy mystery train these days, it will take something special to draw readers attention, and keep it, so I hope this series can find its way from here and will gain some momentum, but it will need to incorporate a stronger mystery, or add a dash of humor or just more panache to the story in some way, I think, in order for it survive in the long run. The cast of characters will be key to that end, and I think they have plenty of room to develop. So, overall, I think this series has potential and is promising, and I will definitely pick up the second book in the series to see how things progress from here.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Martin

    The summer theater season is starting at Jacobs Grand Hotel in the Catskills. Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has been living and working there for ten years. This year she has a new apprentice named Aaron who is also the nephew of the owner of the hotel. The case includes an ambitious young actress named Lauren Richmond and an aging, has-been actor named Brian Prentice who has arrived along with his aristocratic wife, Lady Deborah. Aaron knows Lauren from high school when she was one of the The summer theater season is starting at Jacobs Grand Hotel in the Catskills. Costume designer Charlotte Fairfax has been living and working there for ten years. This year she has a new apprentice named Aaron who is also the nephew of the owner of the hotel. The case includes an ambitious young actress named Lauren Richmond and an aging, has-been actor named Brian Prentice who has arrived along with his aristocratic wife, Lady Deborah. Aaron knows Lauren from high school when she was one of the mean girls who hounded his young cousin to suicide. And Charlotte knows Brian because they dated until he threw her over for Lady Deborah. When Lauren suffers an overdose and then is stabbed while waiting to perform the balcony scene in Romeo & Juliet, Charlotte becomes involved in investigating the case along with her boyfriend Ray Nicholson who is the Chief of Police. The police are looking at Aaron as the key suspect but Charlotte wants to look at lot more. This is definitely a cozy mystery with lovely descriptions of the Catskills and lots of interactions with Charlotte and her Corgi Rupert. Charlotte is devoted to her craft and loves to pass on tidbits of design to her intern Aaron while dropping the names of famous people she has worked with but Aaron has never heard of. This was an entertaining mystery.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cuppa

    Shakespeare in the Catskills is a new mystery series from Crooked Lane Books. This new mystery publisher has been very popular so far with my library patrons so I was happy to review Untimely Death, the first book in the series. The "star" of the book is costume designer/costume shop manager Charlotte Fairfax. She had a glorious career in Great Britain before she settled in the Catskills to nurse a broken heart and work for a Shakespearean company in a down at the heels resort. Despite the lack Shakespeare in the Catskills is a new mystery series from Crooked Lane Books. This new mystery publisher has been very popular so far with my library patrons so I was happy to review Untimely Death, the first book in the series. The "star" of the book is costume designer/costume shop manager Charlotte Fairfax. She had a glorious career in Great Britain before she settled in the Catskills to nurse a broken heart and work for a Shakespearean company in a down at the heels resort. Despite the lack of glamour, Charlotte is settled and happy. Then comes a season where the former love of her life is retained at the lead actor for the company, she is saddled with the owner's nephew as assistant, and the haughty young actress cast as Juliet is stabbed to death. As the police investigate they find signs pointing to people Charlotte cares about as likely suspects. Against her will Charlotte is compelled to do a bit of investigating on her own and finally solve the puzzle. This cozy mystery has a charming, if shabby setting and a gentle pace. Theater lovers and cozy mystery fans should enjoy this new series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Doward Wilson

    This debut in a new series pulls you in and makes you feel right at home. Charlotte is the costume designer for a small Shakespearean production company in the Catskills. Having worked for London's Royal Shakespeare Company, Charlotte has been comfortable in her new home and position for several years. When the witchy and conniving leading lady becomes ill and then is murdered everyone is a suspect to Charlotte and her boyfriend Ray, the local police chief. The investigation shows us an old Cats This debut in a new series pulls you in and makes you feel right at home. Charlotte is the costume designer for a small Shakespearean production company in the Catskills. Having worked for London's Royal Shakespeare Company, Charlotte has been comfortable in her new home and position for several years. When the witchy and conniving leading lady becomes ill and then is murdered everyone is a suspect to Charlotte and her boyfriend Ray, the local police chief. The investigation shows us an old Catskills Resort trying to reinvigorate itself and become more profitable, a leading man who cheats, his titled wife, a resort owner and his nephew hiding secrets and a cast and crew with motives galore. This was a comfortable and entertaining read that made you feel like you were right there. The characters were well developed and blended nicely with the interesting background and theme. The best of an English country style cozy set in America. I enjoyed and highly recommend this new series from a long established and beloved author.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Adamson

    Another excellent book by Elizabeth J. Duncan. This is the first in a new series about Shakespeare in the Catskills, starring a theatre dressmaker, previously of the Royal Shakespeare Company, now of a little known backwater hotel and theater in upstate New York. A wonderful start to this series. Fascinating and relatable characters, great easy to read story and page turning intriguing mysteries! 5* and bring on more!!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Meg Morden

    This cozy mystery is set around a staging of Romeo and Juliet at a Catskills resort. Every year the company tries to add cache by inviting a British actor or actress to lend authenticity to their productions. The costume designer, Charlotte Fairfax, sets out to try to solve the murder of leading lady Lauren Richmond who is first poisoned and then stabbed. sparks fly between Charlotte and the local police chief.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

    Untimely Death is the #1 book in a new series by Elizabeth J. Duncan. This cozy mystery contains a bit of Shakespeare, a bit of the Catskills, a bit of actors doing Summer Stock, and one all out murder.Those looking for a new cozy mystery series may want to consider Shakespeare in the Catskills Mysteries. Knowledgeable and enjoyable!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I very much liked the idea of a costume designer as sleuth, but Charlotte Fairfax, who steals evidence and breaks into the police incident room, is appalling even by the low standards of her genre. A plot that is not believable and a not too bright murderer – even Shakespeare could not rescue this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    My review for Untimely Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan will be posted at Romancing the Blog in the near future. Watch for it by following this link: http://romancing-the-book.com/ My review for Untimely Death by Elizabeth J. Duncan will be posted at Romancing the Blog in the near future. Watch for it by following this link: http://romancing-the-book.com/

  22. 5 out of 5

    Selah

    A charming way to warm up for my reading of Romeo and Juliet. Loads of Shakespeare and some Project Runway references.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    3.5 Stars. Charlotte is working as costumer for a small Shakespeare company in New York State. Their play, "Romeo and Juliette" seems to be coming true, though, when the actor playing the latter is poisoned and later dies by stabbing. Charlotte feels she needs to solve the crime when her police officer boyfriend clues her in that a prime suspect is her intern, Aaron, a college kid who's getting into the fashion field. She'll have to work through her own issues with one of the other actors, Brian, 3.5 Stars. Charlotte is working as costumer for a small Shakespeare company in New York State. Their play, "Romeo and Juliette" seems to be coming true, though, when the actor playing the latter is poisoned and later dies by stabbing. Charlotte feels she needs to solve the crime when her police officer boyfriend clues her in that a prime suspect is her intern, Aaron, a college kid who's getting into the fashion field. She'll have to work through her own issues with one of the other actors, Brian, who's also a former lover, while finding the right clues to solve the mystery. While the narrator is good at the female voices, and she actually does pretty well with Aaron, too, she is not my favorite for the male voices. Charlotte is supposed to be younger than she sounds to me, though.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    Charlotte Fairfax, a former costume mistress for the Royal Shakespeare Company, is now living in Upstate New York and working as costume designer for a Catskills hotel that puts on Shakespeare's plays each summer to encourage visitors. She is concerned because the director of this company has recruited a British actor who years ago dumped Charlotte to marry another woman. Then before their first performance of Romeo and Juliet, the leading actress is first poisoned and then stabbed to death. Was Charlotte Fairfax, a former costume mistress for the Royal Shakespeare Company, is now living in Upstate New York and working as costume designer for a Catskills hotel that puts on Shakespeare's plays each summer to encourage visitors. She is concerned because the director of this company has recruited a British actor who years ago dumped Charlotte to marry another woman. Then before their first performance of Romeo and Juliet, the leading actress is first poisoned and then stabbed to death. Was this the random act of a stranger or did someone in the cast, working at the hotel, or living in town have a grudge against Lauren Richmond? And can Brian get his drinking under control before he too must be replaced? 1st in the series, though not the first I have read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    April

    The Catskills are scenic and offer a nice retreat away from the hustle & bustle that is NYC. However, all is not quiet in this sleepy little nook. The Jacobs Grand Hotel is home to thespians as they rehearse and prepare for a season of Shakespeare. Actors are dramatic on the stage and off of it. When the actress playing Juliet is murdered, people look at one another and wonder who is the villain waiting in the wings. Charlotte, head of the costume department, is dating the Chief of Police and le The Catskills are scenic and offer a nice retreat away from the hustle & bustle that is NYC. However, all is not quiet in this sleepy little nook. The Jacobs Grand Hotel is home to thespians as they rehearse and prepare for a season of Shakespeare. Actors are dramatic on the stage and off of it. When the actress playing Juliet is murdered, people look at one another and wonder who is the villain waiting in the wings. Charlotte, head of the costume department, is dating the Chief of Police and lends a helping hand ... whether he asks for or not. Will her meddling help the case or hinder their romance? Time will tell in this series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Cline-plaisted

    Honestly, this is one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. I read this for a book club, and if I hadn't started it for that reason, I probably would have put it down within the first chapter and moved on with my life. The author clearly doesn't take the time to actually research theater or theater terminology, writes in a formulaic and predictable kind of way, and only half-heartedly develops stock characters. Not a single character was particularly relatable or even realistic and all Honestly, this is one of the worst books I have ever read in my life. I read this for a book club, and if I hadn't started it for that reason, I probably would have put it down within the first chapter and moved on with my life. The author clearly doesn't take the time to actually research theater or theater terminology, writes in a formulaic and predictable kind of way, and only half-heartedly develops stock characters. Not a single character was particularly relatable or even realistic and all fulfilled basic and predictable stereotypes in the worst kind of way. If I could give it less than one star, I would.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    On the fence between 3 & 4 stars, so I gave the benefit of the doubt and went with 4. I would have liked a bit more mystery in the story, but I always enjoy reading a cozy where the main characters are mature (not 20-somethings), and act reasonably responsibly. Rupert the Corgi is woven through the story just enough to keep this animal lover happy and the theater aspects of the book were interesting. I'm looking forward to reading the next book to see if the next mystery is a bit more prominent. On the fence between 3 & 4 stars, so I gave the benefit of the doubt and went with 4. I would have liked a bit more mystery in the story, but I always enjoy reading a cozy where the main characters are mature (not 20-somethings), and act reasonably responsibly. Rupert the Corgi is woven through the story just enough to keep this animal lover happy and the theater aspects of the book were interesting. I'm looking forward to reading the next book to see if the next mystery is a bit more prominent.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    I wanted to like this more than I did. The setup is unusual—no craft shop or restaurant, no 20something heroine. But the characters seemed flat. Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t warm to any of them. Charlotte, Our Fair Heroine, has potential to be fascinating, but needs more details. The little bits of British facts, like titles and the Dollar Heiresses, are nice for an Anglophile like I am, but the mystery itself is pretty easy to solve.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Hoey

    I really liked it I put a few of these Shakespeare in the Catskills book on my ‘want to read’ ages ago and never quite got around to reading them. I saw the other reviews were between 3 and 4 stars, so I liked this one more than I expected. She gave us little glimpses of some of the other characters and I’m interested to see how much they get developed Definitely time well spent

  30. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    This was a good first book to a promising series. It's about a resort in the Catskills that performs Shakespeare plays during the season. Charlotte is the costumer and her boyfriend is the local cop. During rehearsal for Romeo and Juliet, someone stabs Juliet. I'm looking forward to reading the second one. This was a good first book to a promising series. It's about a resort in the Catskills that performs Shakespeare plays during the season. Charlotte is the costumer and her boyfriend is the local cop. During rehearsal for Romeo and Juliet, someone stabs Juliet. I'm looking forward to reading the second one.

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