Dead Fall

Written by Joan Lock
Review by Myfanwy Cook

Set against the backdrop of the Victorian theatre in London, this murder mystery is another in the Inspector Best Series. An outing to the Princess’s theatre for Best and his wife turns out to be even more dramatic than they’d anticipated. “The Lights o’ London” is a hit production acclaimed for its realistic crowd scenes. It is during one of these that a ‘supernumerary’ is murdered on stage. The chestnut seller is only the first victim.

Best and his colleague Smith while trying to solve their current case identify that the actress, who has been selected to stand in at short notice to play the part of Shakespeare Jarvis, may be in great danger.

A solid plot and a varied assortment of characters make this an entertaining read. The characters are believable, but even more so is the setting. The intricate, well-researched detail conjures up the acrid smell, the heat, and the behind the curtain life of the late Victorian theatre as it transformed itself into a respectable art form. In particular, the description of the skilled work of Mr. Houghton, Property Master, conjures up a vivid impression of the Victorian theatre.