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Who Killed Falstaff?
By T. R. Burch

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Who Killed Falstaff?
By T. R. Burch
Linford Mystery Library - Large Print, (2001)
ISBN: 0-7089-5942-3
Genre: Mystery

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - September 29, 2001

Olive Gill, a middle-aged estate agent, has an inquisitive mind. More important, she doesn't know when to mind her own business. When Joe Murphy is killed while playing Falstaff during the Amateur Dramatic Society's performance of Part 1 from Henry IV, Gill takes it upon herself to track down the killer. And why not? After all, she knows all of the most logical suspects, and the victim...

In Olive Gill, T. R. Burch has created a modern day Miss Marpole. Gill is intelligent, quick witted, and a busy body. She also has an uncanny knack of being able to make people open up to her. With steadfast determination, Gill attempts to discern who the murder is. Gill is aided in her investigations by Felicity Barsteed, a former school teacher. Barsteed seems to have taught, at one time or another, all the characters in this novel. On of her former students is Jeremy, the almost anonymous inspector who is faced with the task of trying to solve the crime before Gill does.

This is a wonderfully fast paced and intriguing mystery. From the very beginning it appears that the murderer has to be one of the actors from the amateur society. Yet why would anyone from this group want to murder Joe Murphy? Gill's "...curiosity to know the truth..." (pg. 119) leads her to methodically interview each and every cast member. With aplomb she pokes into their lives, learning their darkest secrets. With rapidity, she learns that the secret behind the murder is both complex and faut with danger. A fact that is abundantly made clear when one cast member goes missing, and another one turns up dead.

Gill is a lovable busy body. You almost feel sorry for the poor inspector who is constantly stumbling over Gill as he tries to conduct his own investigation. This story is wonderfully paced, the characters are full of life, and the dialog is crisp and realistic. Best of all, the ending is a real shocker. You'll never guess who 'done it'!

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