Cozy Mystery 3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (November 7, 2017)
Hardcover 265 Pages
E-Book ASIN: B071RR32NZ
Book descriptionCostume designer Charlotte Fairfax has another murder on her hands as she prepares for the latest performance of the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company, Much Ado About Nothing. The company’s steady growth enables them to cast star British actress Audrey Ashley, who arrives on scene to play the lead role of Beatrice. But things immediately get more complicated when Audrey insists the company replace the current director with new, up and coming British director Edmund Albright.
Edmund plans to change the popular romantic comedy, which alienates several people associated with the production. And the list of people he upsets only grows: the laid off former director, the hotel owner’s secretary, and even Audrey herself. Just as Edmund’s plans are about to come to fruition, his body is discovered on his sofa, holding a gun in his hand. His death is quickly ruled a suicide but Charlotte thinks otherwise. Why would Edmund, on the brink of greatness, kill himself? And in such an American way?
With a whole cast of characters to investigate, Charlotte is determined to unmask each one before it’s final curtain call on the whole production in award-winning author Elizabeth J. Duncan’s third Shakespeare in the Catskills mystery, Much Ado About Murder.
Meet the Author - Elizabeth J DuncanElizabeth J Duncan is the author of two mystery series – Shakespeare in the Catskills and the Penny Brannigan mystery series set in North Wales. She is a two-time winner of the Bloody Words Award for Canada's best light mystery and lives in Toronto.
Author Links www.elizabethjduncan.com www.facebook.com/elizabethjduncan @elizabethduncan Purchase Links amazon.com amazon.ca Barnes and Noble Walmart Chapters.Indigo
Much Ado About Murder
by Elizabeth J. Duncan
“What kind of underpants should I wear?”
That’s the question I get asked the most and I understand why. Actors like to build their characters from the bottom up, so to speak. And costumes work better when they’re created from the inside out, authentically, and in keeping with the period. And the right underwear provides the right foundation for any garment of any century.
My line of work, and clothing, is usually Tudor and Jacobean. I’m the costume designer for the Catskills Shakespeare Theater Company. We’re based in Jacob’s Grand Hotel, in Walkers Ridge, upstate New York, and although we’re a small troupe operating on a miniscule budget, we pride ourselves on our professional Shakespeare performances that people have been coming to for decades, from all over New York state and beyond.
I’ve been here for about ten years. I started my career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford Upon Avon, so you could say my whole career has been about helping actors look the part. I’ve dressed some of the biggest and best knights and dames of the British theater, and most of them were cooperative and fun to work with. And you’ll have to forgive me, but I still call the women actresses – it just makes my job easier to distinguish between male and female actors.
Our current production, Much Ado About Murder, is set in an unusual time and place: just after the Civil War, and as you can imagine, that change really threw the company for a loop. The leading lady, who is in her forties, was understandably worried that she would be forced to dress like a southern belle in her twenties. And I was terribly concerned about budget and how much time we’d have to get all the costumes researched, designed and created. Especially the men’s uniforms. But the play was set in upstate New York, so we were spared what I call the fiddle-dee-dee look, and with help from my assistant, Aaron, we got everything on track.
But getting back to traditional Shakespeare stage wear, well, like the rest of the costume, the kind of underwear would depend on your status in life. A Tudor lady would wear a soft linen smock, or chemise, to protect the rest of her clothes from sweat and body oils. Beneath her chemise, she would wear stockings, which were tied with garters above the knees.
On top of her chemise, a lady would wear her bodice, designed to flatten the front of the chest and lift the breasts.
As for underpants, knickers, panties – whatever you want to call them -- they didn’t really appear for another couple of centuries. But I want my actresses to be confident on stage, so I tell them to wear whatever they’re comfortable in, even if it breaks character. So the next time you see a Shakespeare in the Catskills production, you can ask yourself, is she or isn’t she?
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