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Peak Season for Murder (Leigh Girard) by Gail Lukasik
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432827298
Date: 18 September 2013

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Leigh Girard, a cancer survivor and reporter for the Door County Gazette, is assigned to write an article on the local Bayside Theater for its 65th anniversary. A has-been actor seeking a comeback, the disappearance of a young actress twenty-three years before, and murder complicate her task.

Leigh had befriended Brownie Lawrence and Ken Albright, two homeless men and recovering alcoholics. She helped them win the right to remain in the shack they built on land given to them by a local conservancy agency. Now Brownie is dead and the police suspect Ken. He begs Leigh to help him prove his innocence. He gives her Brownie's dog tags, and she agrees to search for his relatives.

Emotions among the actors in the theater's current production run high. Nate Ryan, the former star trying to restart his stalled career, was once married to Nina Cass, one of the theater's owners. The divorce was not amiable. Jealousy and rivalries complicate the current production.

Gwen Shaw, originally invited by Nate Ryan to join the cast, mentions her fear of bats, the rivalry between Nate and another actor, Julian Finch, and warns Leigh against the young understudy Harper Kennedy. Then, during a rehearsal, Gwen breaks an arm and Harper takes over.

Further complicating Leigh's life is her husband Tom Girard who is divorcing her, her editor with whom she had a romantic interlude, and the theater handyman who makes a play for her. The handyman claims he is protecting Leigh and hints he knows what happened to the long-missing actress.

Searching for Brownie’s relatives turns up some surprising information, but it isn't clear that had anything to do with his murder. Then another death occurs. Relevant information turns up in unexpected places.

Eventually, Leigh puts the clues together, but not before she finds herself fighting for her life. The exciting climax will keep the pages turning. The intricacies of the characters and relationships adds spice to the continuing story of Leigh Girard. This is the third Leigh Girard Mystery. The others, Destroying Angel and Death's Door, are both from Five Star.

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