In Cherry Tucker’s fourth mystery, the curtain rises on Cherry’s debut as a high school set designer at the posh, private Peerless Day Academy. Cherry’s been hired to design scenery for an avant garde adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, but the theater teacher’s hoping Cherry can also turn the spotlight on a malicious bully who’s sending poisonous texts to the faculty. The director’s got his own drama to hide, and the phantom texter seems eager to spill school secrets. When a school secretary’s death is ruled a suicide, Cherry suspects foul play. The phantom bully may be using blackmail to rid the school of unwanted staff, urging a Montague-Capulet styled showdown.
With Deputy Luke Harper wanting to return as Cherry’s leading man, he’s eager to assist her efforts in fingering the phantom culprit, but Cherry fears family secrets may doom them to the role of star-crossed lovers. Offstage, Cherry’s searching for her missing brother who’s fixed on a vendetta against Luke’s stepfamily, so she instead turns to the local, foreign racketeer, Max Avtaikin, for assistance. With the bully waiting for a murderous encore and her own family skeletons to hide, Cherry scrambles to find her brother and the mysterious texter before the phantom decides its curtains for Cherry and forces her to take a final bow.
After reading quite a few mysteries that parts of series, I have determined a few things:
1. I prefer reading them in series order.
2. Once I read one, if I liked it, I have to read them all.
That being said, here are the things that I didn't like:
1. This is book four, and this author is new to me.
2. Instead of decreasing my TBR list by one, I have now added to it by 3, count 'em THREE books (Portrait of a Dead Guy, Still Life in Brunswick Stew, Hijack in Abstract - the first three books in the Cherry Tucker Mysteries, all by Larissa Reinhart).
I know, I know, if those are my biggest problems, I'm a lucky lady!
What can I say, Cherry won me over from the get go. Being southern, sassy and small in stature, she reminds me a lot of what my husband's paternal grandmother must have been like as a younger woman...although I never heard "bless her heart" come out of Mamaw's lips even once.
I would probably have the same attitude as Cherry going into a private school about a creative job, as I slogged through twelve years in various public educational institutions. And I was highly entertained by the instances in "Death in Perspective" that showed that the 'well-to-do' and 'social elite' are just as human as everyone else.
The parallels between Peerless Academy's production of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" and the in-the-book 'real life' feud between the Bransons and the Ballards show a level of thought at care from the author that is not present in a lot of books. I have to say this book and its author impressed me ... a lot!
After teaching in the US and Japan, Larissa enjoys writing, particularly sassy female characters with a penchant for trouble. She lives near Atlanta with her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit. Visit her website or find her chatting on Facebook. Death in Perspective is the fourth book in the best selling Cherry Tucker Mystery series. The first, Portrait of a Dead Guy, is a Daphne du Maurier finalist, Emily finalist, and Dixie Kane Memorial winner.