And Justice for All
by Joanne Sydney Lessner
Dinner theater can be a death sentence—literally.
Actress Isobel Spice and her best friend Delphi Kramer are thrilled to finally have an opportunity to perform together, even if it’s just a cheesy interactive murder mystery at a judge’s lifetime achievement dinner. But when Isobel’s dramatic death scene is upstaged by a real murder and Delphi is left holding the still-smoking gun, Isobel drops the role of victim and assumes the role of detective. With the help of her precocious brother Percival and her reluctant temp agent James Cooke, Isobel peels back layers of deception to reveal a shocking abuse of power—and no shortage of suspects eager to deliver justice to a man who denied it to so many.
Practically before the last word was out of Delphi’s mouth, the crack of the gunshot ricocheted off the walls. Isobel smacked her hand to her chest and felt the blood packet burst against her blouse. Someone shrieked behind her as she staggered forward onto the dance floor. The Brioschi burbled up from her throat, foaming out the corners of her mouth and down her face. She spun around, arms flailing, eyes closed. More shrieks erupted around her.
Yup, she thought with satisfaction, definitely memorable.
She finally collapsed on the floor, limbs splayed, and after a few full-body spasms, settled into a position she could hold until Peter lifted her into the fireman’s carry.
She strained to hear Andrew’s line, “You just shot my wife,” but she was distracted by the sound of a glass shattering somewhere to her left. Somebody kicked her arm, but she held still, determined to be a convincing corpse. A pungent tang of gunpowder tickled her nose. Funny, she hadn’t noticed that when they were practicing. And…was that someone crying?
Suddenly, she felt Peter’s stubble scrape her cheek as he hissed in her ear, “Get up. Get up!”
He tried to yank her into a sitting position, but the sharp movement made her choke on the still-fizzing Brioschi. She knelt on all fours, hacking and heaving until her eyes finally stopped tearing.
“You see?” she heaved. “That’s why I wanted to practice…”
Her words died in her throat as she got to her feet. Two Hostelry security guards gripped Delphi’s shoulders, pinning her arms behind her back. Delphi’s mouth was frozen open in horror. Slowly, Isobel turned and looked behind her.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Joanne Sydney Lessner is the author of BloodWrites Award-Winner The Temporary Detective (Dulcet Press, 2012), which introduces Isobel Spice, aspiring actress and resourceful office temp turned amateur sleuth. Isobel’s adventures continue in the novels Bad Publicity (Dulcet Press, 2013) and And Justice for Some (Dulcet Press, 2014). The Ghosts’ High Noon (Dulcet Press, 2014), an Isobel Spice short story, is available on http://joannesydneylessner.com as a free download. Inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine, Joanne’s debut novel Pandora’s Bottle (Flint Mine Press, 2010) was named one of the top five books of 2010 by Paperback Dolls. Her play, Critical Mass, winner of the 2009 Heiress Productions Playwriting Competition, received its New York premiere at the Lion Theatre on Theatre Row in October 2010. She has written the book and lyrics to several musicals with her husband, composer/conductor Joshua Rosenblum, including the cult hit Fermat’s Last Tango, which received its Off-Broadway premiere at the York Theatre Company in November 2000, and Einstein’s Dreams, based on the celebrated novel by Alan Lightman. They are currently developing a musical based on Wilkie Collins’s The Haunted Hotel for the Signature Theatre Company in Arlington, Virginia. Joanne is also a regular contributing writer to Opera News.
And Justice for Some by Joanne Sydney Lessner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
And Justice for Some by Joanne Sydney Lessner is a 2014 Dulcet Press publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoy a good whodunit, with amateur sleuths. but not all are created equally. However, if you want to see how to construct a good mystery, within a cozy/ amateur sleuth outline, check this one out.
This is the third book in the Isobel Spice series. As the book opens, Isobel has landed an acting job...sort of . She play a role in one of those staged murder mystery shows. Naturally, things go awry when the guest of honor, a prominent judge, is really murdered. Isobel is so shocked by this turn of events she can't stop thinking about it, especially when one or two of the other actors could be a murderer. So, Isobel is once more putting on the amateur sleuth hat, much to the chagrin of many. In the background of the investigation, Isobel's love life is filled with drama as she tried to get over her feeling for James.
For me, I thought this novel fell into the classic whodunit category, but it could technically be considered cozy. Amateur sleuths are often lumped in with cozies, but they don't all belong there. I was on the fence on this one. So, if you like the standard mystery novel you will like this one, if you like cozies you will like this one too. Once word of caution for cozy lovers.. the language in this one is a little saucy, and yes, I mean the dreaded F-bomb, but it's not overused by any means. No graphic violence or explicit sex. OK lecture over... this one will appeal to mystery lovers of all stripes, in my opinion.
I enjoyed the quirky and slightly flaky characters in this one. Isobel's family is unique, her love life is a tad rocky, and her career is always up and down. The plot was well constructed and was the focus of the book. So, the personal bits were balanced with the crime solving which is how I like it. This is a good old fashioned whodunit guessing game and made for a really enjoyable afternoon. I do hope Isobel's romantic choices will make her happy, and I hopes she gets a good acting job someday, but I also kind of hope she will decide to try her hand at detective work, she seems to have a knack for it. Overall this one gets a 4.
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