historical · lgbtqia content

REVIEW: Death Takes a Bow (A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery #4) by David S. Pederson

The Official Description: Alan Keyes takes a break from his police duties to scratch his acting itch in a local stage production. But when the leading man is murdered during the opening night performance, his partner Detective Heath Barrington is thrust into the limelight to find the killer. Alan soon learns the theater has a deadly past and ghostly forebodings, including a telegram that seems to have come from the beyond.

Among the large cast of suspects is Oliver Crane, the director whose finances depend on the success of this play, Jazz Monroe, Milwaukee’s sweetheart with a secret, and the handsome actor Henry Hawthorne, who has designs on Alan. When Alan seems to return Henry’s attentions, Heath must put his jealousy and insecurities aside to determine what’s real, what’s illusion, and who’s acting and who’s telling the truth before death takes a bow.

My thoughts bit: This book is like a wreath knot of Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. It’s been a long time since I read a good, well-crafted murder mystery.  The only thing that makes this book one step above your average murder mystery is that the two main characters… a Detective and a Police Officer are a gay couple. This book is the fourth in the Detective Heath Barrington Mystery series. I read it as a stand-alone and it was easy to follow.

This is a mystery in its purest form. The book is primarily the dialogue and procedure of solving a mystery. Detective Heath Barrington is a laid back guy, but his attention to detail is amazing. And, in spite of the fact that he seems to be comfortable with his relationship with Officer Alan Keys, he’s a little jealous about Alan’s new friendship with a handsome actor. It’s Alan’s involvement in the theatre which leads to the two men being in the theatre the very night a murder is committed.

This book falls into one of my favorite categories; this is a story … with queer characters. Queer is not the focus of the story, it’s just a facet of what is going on. The fact that Heath and Alan are a couple is definitely an integral part of the story, but it’s subtle and well-written… it’s… just another relationship. And what a wonderful way to read about a queer couple!

The murder occurring in the theatre brings Heath and Alan into contact with a snarky, colorful cast. What a delightfully bitchy and back-stabby crew of folks! Some of the supporting characters are equally as interesting as the mains!

If you like murder mysteries and are particularly interested in the old-school type, you’ll love this book!

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: description of a dead body

If/Then: If you liked these books, you will probably enjoy this one!

I received an ARC of Death Takes a bow by David S. Pederson from Bold Strokes Books, Inc. via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

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