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    Review of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SCREAM by Jill Churchill (see her website)


    William Morrow, November 2004

    Jane Jeffry agrees to help her friend Shelley select caterers by tasting the food at a local amateur theater. Unfortunately, the play is bad--and most of the caterers are bad too. But surely no actor is bad enough to justify murder? Unfortunately, one of the actors is found--both drugged and beaten to death. Jill's cop-boyfriend Mel looks to Jane for help in determining whom, among the other actors, the director, and the theater hangers on, might have had reason to kill.

    Solving crimes is far from Jane's whole life, though. She is also on the verge of selling her first mystery. When the call comes, no one is surprised: of course Jane is so talented that she would sell. But woe upon a 'friend' who suggests that Jane might want to write a story based on the friend's experience in costuming. Jane cuts her to the quick, and manages to see herself as the victim of what most authors know is a common misunderstanding. In general, I found Jane's snobbishness, and general dismissal of everyone around her off-putting.

    Author Jill Churchill (see more reviews of novels by Churchill) knows how to put words together. I enjoyed the first half of this book a lot as Jane explored the hobby of needlepoint, got to know one of the actresses in the play, and dealt with her children and boyfriend. But Jane's unconscious self-centeredness, which could have been charming if the author gave us a clue that she recognized it as a weakness rather than accepting it as admirable, eventually grated on me.

    A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SCREAM has plenty of enjoyable moments. If you can put up with, or find the humor in these self-centered characters, you'll find SCREAM has its rewards.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 5/12/05

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