Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: MacDeath by Cindy Brown


Like every actor, Ivy Meadows knows that Macbeth is cursed. But she’s finally scored her big break, cast as an acrobatic witch in a circus-themed production of Macbeth in Phoenix, Arizona. And though it may not be Broadway, nothing can dampen her enthusiasm—not her flying caldron, too-tight leotard, or carrot-wielding dictator of a director.

But when one of the cast dies on opening night, Ivy is sure the seeming accident is “murder most foul” and that she’s the perfect person to solve the crime (after all, she does work part-time in her uncle’s detective agency). Undeterred by a poisoned Big Gulp, the threat of being blackballed, and the suddenly too-real curse, Ivy pursues the truth at the risk of her hard-won career—and her life.



What's better than a catchy title for a mystery?

A mystery set in the theatre.

What's better than a mystery with a catchy title that's set in the theatre?

One that references, "The Scottish Play".

What is "The Scottish Play"?

It's what superstitious theatre folk call Shakespeare's MacBeth.  Apparently, you can say the 'Mac' word during rehearsal or performance, but not otherwise.  I guess one unfortunate cast member in the books version of the production must have said MacBeth at an inopportune time.

I like how Ms. Brown has a little fun with this cursed play.  When Ivy stumbles during her audition, the director thinks someone has leaked his grand idea for the setting.  She plays along with the 'gag', and winds up getting the part of one of the witches.  And getting any part in a play is usually no small feat - even in a high-school production, let alone in the 'real world' of professional theatre.  But not Ivy.

To most of the characters in the book, the death appears to be an 'accident'.  (I used the single quotes because a fair amount of them undoubtedly laid this death at the feet of the curse.)

Having such an idea in the theatre will upset some folks, especially the murderer.  Ivy uses skills gained from working at her uncle's detective agency to 'play' the detective for this crime.  And she falls afoul of police and the 'bad guy' for her trouble.

Ms. Brown's experience in the various facets of live theatre show in her work.  Backstage can be like a family, and/or there can be a lot of hissing and spitting when people's egos come into play.  I know.  I've been there too - six years of stage play experience in college and in the community.

What a fun read!  Seriously.  (No pun intended.)  Ok, ok, you got me on that one.

I am so glad that the cover has the words "An Ivy Meadows Mystery" on it.  To me, that implies there will be more to follow.  Does anyone know where I can get tickets to the opening?




Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.


Click the above button to visit the tour schedule page for more reviews, as well as interviews, guest posts and GIVEAWAYS!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of MacDeath from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.)


This book also helps me fulfill the following reading challenges:

52 Books in 52 Weeks
Around the World Challenge (mini 2-US/AZ/Phoenix)
NetGalley Reading Challenge
New to You RC (author)
TBR Challenge
Women Authors RC


  1. (I thought I posted this earlier today - if I did, please ignore. I am a blog post neophyte:)

    Hi LuAnn! So happy to meet a fellow theater person and glad you liked MACDEATH. I know you were joking about tickets to opening night, but we're actually having one! Portland Actors Ensemble will be performing scenes form the book during the Fertile Ground Theater Festival this Thursday, January 22nd - how cool is that?

  2. This sounds wonderful. I have it to review, too. I'm looking forward to it.

  3. This seems like an interesting and fun read! I like the idea of it being set about broadway - that's something I haven't read too many books about...