this Francis Duncan fellow--after a book and half have traveled through my brain and given me at least a blooming opinion--is no slouch. this author has now officially exceeded expectations. I did not think anything could take my mind off, or hype me up while still mentally wallowing in, Version Control. but, this Mordecai Tremaine Mystery has brought its A-game, and looks to be outdoing that other one I read--which was quite fine--In At The Death. the premise here is extra-exciting and full of sinister miasma; a village theatre troupe--full of well-drawn, wonderfully entertaining personalities--has to consider closing down their upcoming production of a play called Murder Has A Motive, because a horrible real-life killing has occurred, that mirrors not so much the technique of death shown in the play, but rather the complex dynamic amongst characters on stage. instant surreal quality--with the obvious suspect in the play becoming the actor who has the role of murderer perhaps getting ideas on how to deal with unrequited love in reality. seems too obvious, of course--and is it even too obvious as a frame-up? a creepy fella spotted lurking about the already creepy village--more than one inhabitant obsessed with the idea that the entire village has been tainted by some indefinable air of evil that has finally taken concrete form--and everyone acting like they have something to hide, or that they must hurry and assemble a cast-iron alibi.
meanwhile...the play is going to premiere despite all (ie. despite bad taste(?), and hoary newspaper stories exploiting the entire situation!). it's very, VERY good so far, this novel.