Book 11 in the In Death series, published in 2000.
Opening night at New York’s New Globe Theater turns from stage scene to crime scene when the leading man is stabbed to death center stage. Now Eve Dallas has a high-profile, celebrity homicide on her hands. Not only is she lead detective, she’s also a witness – and when the press discovers that her husband owns the theater, there’s more media spotlight than either can handle. The only way out is to move fast. Question everyone and everything … and in the meantime, try to tell the difference between the truth – and really good acting …
Roarke and Eve are witnessing opening night of the classic play Witness for the Prosecution in Roarke’s newly restored New Globe Theater. In the end, the murderer goes free because his wife protects him, and when he scorns her for his new girlfriend, she kills him. Only this time, it happens in real life. The prop knife has been swapped with a real knife, and the actor playing Vole is murdered. Eve is the first person who realizes it is real, and she rushes to the stage, tagging dr. Mira, also present, to act as her ME.
Thousands of people become instant witnesses, and they all have to be interviewed. And then the actors, they all had the opportunity, and the motive, to kill Richard Drako. He was a great actor, and a lousy human being, who loved to use and discard women. The more Eve learns about him, the more he deserved to die.
And now Nadini is in the mix too. She had a history with Drako, and had an argument with him last night. Of course she didn’t kill him, but Eve wants to keep her involvement a secret. Then Charles Munroe pops up too, and Eve wants to protect Peabody, which backfires on her. Why did she ever get a personal life? Life was much more easy before she accumulated friends!
Then one of the crew gets killed too, did he see too much? And try to blackmail the murderer? He was a gambler, and not a very good one, and a penny pincher. Why would he look at a vacation in Tahiti suddenly? Eve just knows the suicide is a set up, it has to be murder.
Eve keeps digging in the past, the motive must be there somewhere, and when she unravels some things, Eve decides a showy last act is in order to draw the killer out.
I didn’t really like this story, so it took me a while to finish rereading it. But even though I didn’t like this one, it is a very good one. Impossible to figure out who the killer was, all those actors, all those motives, the history between them all.
Eve and Roarke together are great, take the scene where Eve decides to arrange dinner for just the two of them, and has to choose dinnerplates and other stuff and finds out Roarke has over 500 different kinds of plates! And glassware! What on earth for?
Peabody and McNab are slowly getting to the next stage in their relationshop, and Mavis, she is just mag.