43. Homicide by Hamlet by Lois Lavrisa
Annie Mae has one last job to do before she retires from a thirty-year career in academia: one week of summer theater camp. A camp she has worked at for so many years she could do it with her eyes closed. Easy peasy. Until a team leader is murdered and all hell breaks loose as everyone is a suspect and everyone has a secret. Will she find out the truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim? Or will death be her swan song?
I chose this book for two reasons. First, I like mysteries and second, I like theater. Put them together and I'm sold. It seemed like a fun and light read. And I was right.
Annie Mae is working her last year as a team leader at a summer theater camp. It will also mark the end of her teaching for several decades at the college where the camp takes place. Each summer, a Shakespeare play (in this cae, it's Hamlet) is chosen for the students. The students recreate and act out scenes from it for a one act play competition. The purpose is to put a fresh and modern take to it and the students do all the work as in set and costumes, etc. For instance, Annie Mae's group chose rap, while another group chose ballet and so on. The team leaders are only there to assist if needed. For this particular year, whoever wins first place gets scholarships.
It takes a turn for the worst when one of the team leaders is murdered. The person who got murdered happens to be someone who wasn't well liked and has sabotaged the other teams. As a whole, the judges and team leaders decide to keep the competition on for the students' sake. Her team chooses to still compete without a leader. While the police start looking into it, Annie Mae and her friends start an investigation of their own. It doesn't help that evidence points to one of her friends and one of the judges and Annie Mae wants to prove that they're innocent. Several days pass and it's competition day. Every team does a good job. It's bittersweet when the group without a leader wins and Annie Mae's group gets second. Later that day and after the awards part, we find out who the murderer is, as Annie Mae figures it out and confronts the person. It doesn't end well for him obviously. And finally, Annie Mae is ready to retire and do her own thing.
While this was a cozy mystery, there was one thing I didn't like. I was able to figure out who the murderer was early on and it came as no surprise for me when he was revealed. I like suspense and I would have liked to keep on guessing for a longer time. I did enjoy the story for the most part, though.
Happy Reading and Keep on Writing!