Guest blogger, Karren Hodgkins, shares her review of Kathleen Marple Kalb’s Fatal Finale:

I just loved this book and was really sad when it came to an end.

Wow, this author can create characters that not only have depth but are ones to whom I relate.

While the story does revolve around the unfortunate and untimely death of Ella Shane’s employee, the story is so much more than the solving of the ‘case’. The intrigue is built in an intelligent manner and for once, the reader is not led to believe that every person we meet is a potential murderer.

I enjoyed coming alongside the lead, learning about her relationships with her family and friends. I really became attached to these characters, they are such a lovely but diverse group.

Ella is a career women and someone who has made her way in the world against the odds so one also gets a clear idea of the prejudices of the time (1899) but all are dealt with in a realistic but practical manner.

I also found my general knowledge of these times and my vocabulary challenged, so rare, but so enjoyable (Do you know what a velocipede is?) .

There was no implausible end to the budding romance, rather the reader has been left wondering just how it will all work out. Hmmm…

I highly recommend it and am looking forward to more by this exceptional storyteller.

From the back cover:

On the cusp of the twentieth century, Manhattan is a lively metropolis buzzing with talent. But after a young soprano meets an untimely end on stage, can one go-getting leading lady hit the right notes in a case of murder? 

New York City, 1899. When it comes to show business, Gilded Age opera singer Ella Shane wears the pants. The unconventional diva breaks the mold by assuming “trouser roles”—male characters played by women—and captivating audiences far and wide with her travelling theatre company. But Ella’s flair for the dramatic takes a terrifying turn when an overacting Juliet to her Romeo drinks real poison during the final act of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi.

Weeks after the woman’s death is ruled a tragic accident, a mysterious English duke arrives in Greenwich Village on a mission. He’s certain someone is getting away with murder, and the refined aristocrat won’t travel back across the Atlantic until Ella helps him expose the truth.

As Ella finds herself caught between her craft and a growing infatuation with her dashing new acquaintance, she’s determined to decode the dark secrets surrounding her co-star’s fatale finale—before the lights go dark and the culprit appears for an encore . . .

With thanks to #NetGalley, Kensington Books and the author for my free advanced reader copy to review in exchange for an honest opinion.

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