New York City, 1899. When it comes to show business, Gilded Age opera singer Ella Shane wears the pants. The unconventional diva breaks the mold by assuming "trouser roles"--male characters played by women--and captivating audiences far and wide with her travelling theatre company. But Ella's flair for the dramatic takes a terrifying turn when an overacting Juliet to her Romeo drinks real poison during the final act of Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi.
Weeks after the woman's death is ruled a tragic accident, a mysterious English duke arrives in Greenwich Village on a mission. He's certain someone is getting away with murder, and the refined aristocrat won't travel back across the Atlantic until Ella helps him expose the truth.
As Ella finds herself caught between her craft and a growing infatuation with her dashing new acquaintance, she's determined to decode the dark secrets surrounding her co-star's fatale finale--before the lights go dark and the culprit appears for an encore . . . (Summary via Goodreads)
I am a fan of historical mysteries because it is interesting to read about a time before technology, DNA testing and all that. It is fun to read about a much simplier time with no technology where women were treated differently. And to see how a murder is solved.....
A Fatal Finale is the debut novel in the Ella Shane Mystery series by Kathleen Marple Kalb. In A Fatal Finale we meet Ella Shane who is a opera singer, playing male characters called "trouser roles" and owning her own traveling opera company. Ella lives with her cousin Tommy who is a retired boxing champion who helps her run her company. They live in a townhouse in New York City with a very talkative parrot named Montezuma. They are very comfortable living together and watching out for each other.
Unfortunately on the last night of their Romeo and Juliet tour, the female playing Juliet drops dead during the final scene. Now even though Juliet is suppose to die at the end of the play, this Juliet whose real name was Violette (or so we are to believe) really does die !!! Even though Violette tended to over act and try to upstage Ella, this was not one of those times....she really was dead !!!
Nothing comes of her death until a few months later when Ella's opera company is home and not yet working on their next tour that an English Duke shows up looking for answers regarding his cousin Lady Frances Saint Aubyn who Ella knew as Violette. Come to find out his sister and this actress Violette are one and the same. While Ella tries to hide her growing feelings from the Duke, she decides to help him figure out why his sister ran away from home and changed her name and was playing Juliet for a traveling opera company.
A Fatal Finale is a lot of fun to read. Readers will instantly get lost in the story and will enjoy how things were back in New York City during the 1800's. You will love the relationship that Ella and Tommy have and the friendships and lifestyle they enjoy. It will be a treat for all readers escaping back in time....even though there is a murder !!
Review by Missi M.
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