Sunday, August 30, 2020

Another light summer theatrical read.


Rutherford,Anne  The Opening Night Murder
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre was built in 1599, burned down in 1613, was rebuilt and reopened in 1614, operated until the closure of all theatres in 1642, and was demolished in 1644. Anne Rutherford’s 2012 historical mystery, The Opening Night Murder, posits that the Globe actually stood vacant until the Restoration in 1660 and was reopened by a former kept woman and her son who was fathered by a Royalist nobleman. Suzanne Thornton is the doxy turned impresario and all is going well until a body drops out of the heavens at their opening performance of Henry V. As luck would have it, the fresh corpse turns out to be the fearful Puritan who kept Suzanne during Cromwell’s reign. 

While the box office receipts remain strong our fiercely independent heroine must find the real killer to keep her own son from the gallows. The theatrical atmosphere was over-shadowed somewhat by Suzanne’s on again off again longing for the thoroughly unlikable Earl who fathered her son and now has returned to London with Charles II the new King. 

Another plot limitation is that the denouement, though exciting, strains credibility.  But on the plus side the period detail is vibrant and the feminist leanings in the character of Suzanne Thornton could be explored in further books capitalizing on the introduction of women as performers on the Restoration stage.

Let’s give it a three out of five stars.   

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