My first blog post for 2022 is a book review and it's a quick cozy mystery by a new author for me.
Book: Enter a Wizard, Stage Left
Author: Connie di Marco
Series: Prequel to Zodiac Mystery Series
Publisher: Suspense Publishing
Publication Date: 26 October 2021
Number of pages: 111 pages
SynopsisJulia Bonatti wasn’t always a crime-solving San Francisco astrologer. She was a young woman, engaged to the love of her life, preparing for a teaching career when tragedy struck. Her fiancé was killed in a hit and run accident. As Julia struggles with her loss and attempts to find meaning in her life again, she takes refuge with her grandmother Gloria.
But there’s little time for grief or rest because Gloria, a retired seamstress, needs Julia’s help. Gloria’s been hired to create costumes for a production of Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death at the newly opened Theatre Mars in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood.
Theatre Mars is a stunning jewel, the cast is supremely talented and the script is brilliant. What could go wrong?
Julia gets the first hint of trouble when her new friend, the owner of The Mystic Eye bookshop, warns that all might not go well. Opening night will take place during the dark of the moon, the last three days before the new moon, a time that bodes disaster for any new project. The dire prediction comes true when the lead actress is murdered before the final curtain, echoing the play itself.
Julia discovers a vital clue to the murder, but a clue that puts Gloria’s life in grave danger. Can Julia rescue her grandmother before it’s too late? And will a black cat play a leading role?
"Out, damned spot!"
Vivian gasped. The entire room became quiet.
"What?" Natalie looked around, confused.
"You quoted Macbeth," Vivian said.
"That's very bad luck before a show."
Enter a Wizard, Stage Left by Connie di Marco, a novella and prequel to the Zodiac Mystery Series.
It's also my first read for 2022! Yay!
Comprising 19 chapters, the story is short and quick. Although the death scene takes place towards the middle of the book, it's not boring and you get to meet the main characters in future books.
Enter a Wizard, Stage Left opens with a play, a remake of Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death novel and the characters and the roles they'll be playing.
We meet the main character Julia, who has just returned to live with her grandmother Gloria following the death of her fiancé. Gloria is in charge of making the costumes for all the actors and actresses in the play. She enlists Julia's help ahead of opening night.
Julia receives foreboding news that something bad will happen during opening night.
And during the play's opening, one of the play's characters is killed on stage! And soon after Julia's grandmother Gloria disappears.
As Julia frantically searches for her grandmother, her curiosity allows her to overhear discussions and meddle around the theatre.
Enter a Wizard, Stage Left in fast-paced and you can easily finish it in a sitting or a couple of hours.
However, due to this short length, there isn't 'a lot of sleuthing.' I also felt that some of the dialogue was a bit childish or obvious. (But then again, my last read before this one was an Agatha Christie novel).
That said, Enter a Wizard, Stage Left sets the scene for future books. In this one, Julia is curious about astrology and begins reading books about it. The rest of the Zodiac Mystery Series introduce Julia as an astrologist.
Overall rating for Enter a Wizard, Stage Left by Connie di Marco: 3 stars
Note: I received a free copy of Enter a Wizard, Stage Left by Connie di Marco as part of a blog tour with Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. This did not in any way affect my review.
About the AuthorWith the Zodiac Mysteries, featuring Julia Bonatti, a crime-solving San Francisco astrologer, Connie di Marco has combined her fascination with astrology and her love of writing mysteries.
Writing as Connie Archer, she’s the national bestselling author of the Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook.
She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Los Angeles but dreams constantly of the San Francisco fog.
As part of the blog tour, there's a giveaway for 10 digital copies of Enter a Wizard, Stage Left. So be sure to enter using the widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway