Judith Cutler

Staging Death

Resting' actress Vena Burford is far from idle: she's found work as an interior decorator refurbishing a stately home recently occupied by Hollywood bad boy Toby Frensham, now taking a lead role with the RSC in nearby Stratford-upon-Avon. Not everyone loves Toby as much as she does, however – and maybe someone hates him. Vena also works part-time for her estate agent brother, showing potential buyers around upmarket Warwickshire country houses. She's done this so often she smells a rat when couples who don't fit the usual client profile begin to visit the properties. Vena is initially curious, then indignant, and finally alarmed. Why should these curiously unnerving characters, who patently have no intention of buying, demand to explore every nook and cranny of the houses? It would have been better not to ask questions. When someone starts to tail Vena's car, leaving some silent but deeply threatening messages, it's clear that a very modern crime is being played out against the idyllic background of Shakespeare's picturesque county.
333 printed pages
Original publication



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