Cover Image: Death of a Showman

Death of a Showman

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Member Reviews

Louise and William Tyler have returned from Europe (to Louise's relief) after her sister's wedding, and lady's maid Jane Prescott is relieved to get back to normal life. But the first thing she learns upon returning is that songwriter Leo Hirschfeld, who she'd come to love during the previous summer, but who told her he'd never be married, has wed a chorus girl. But she'll have to see Leo a lot more than she planned, since he convinces Louise to be a "Broadway angel" for his new musical, produced by the great empresario Sidney Warburton. Warburton is certainly no angel, and both Jane and Louise get an education as they negotiate rehearsals where there's cast in-fighting, personality conflicts, multiple script changes, and arguments galore.

And then Warburton is shot, and there's no end of suspects, including Leo, the older actress whose lover Warburton barred from the set, the aging dance couple, and even drunken Roland Harney, the dipsomaniac performer with the little dog (you may see in Harney echoes of W.C. Fields). In the meantime, history goes on behind the scenes: Archduke Francis Ferdinand has been assassinated, and the bloody Ludlow massacre in Colorado has Jane's best friend, anarchist and activist Anna, enraged.

The main plot of the book reminds me of a similar Perry Mason episode about a discontented acting troupe, except it takes place in Jane Prescott's universe at the time when ragtime was capturing the America's imagination. It's a glimpse into early 20th century life backstage, in which people who didn't quite fit into regular society found a home in theater society—but also the story of how some of these people were exploited. While I didn't find some aspects of the plot as compelling as in the previous three books, the theatre setting was intriguing and seeing Leo again was a treat.
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Who murdered the loathsome Sidney Warburton?  It's 1914 and Jane Prescott, lady's maid to Louise Tyler,  once again finds herself investigating a murder.  Her old partner Leo married one of the women in play Warburton was producing and which Louise invested in so she's got more than the usual interest in solving the crime.  Her friend Michael, a reporter, is a big help in interviewing the various players backstage, among other things.  Cozy readers (and this is sort of a historical cozy) know that multiple people hated the victim and that there will be red herrings.  I'm not usually a fan of theater based mysteries but Fredericks does an especially nice job with the details of the Broadway in 1914.  I'm a fan of Jane, who has matured over the books, but know that this one will be fine as a standalone.  Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.  A good read and I'm looking forward to the next installment!
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Clever lady's maid Jane Prescott gets out of the house - and how! - in the summer of 1914 when Louise Tyler, her young socialite employer, takes a stake in a new Broadway musical, causing both women to spend time at rehearsals. Assigned to assist with seamstress duties, Jane is soon all too familiar with backstage jealousies, feuds, and gossip, not least because composer and musician Leo, Jane's former boyfriend,  is not only steering the show's development but has married a glamorous cast member. When the show's powerful (and obnoxious) producer turns up murdered, possible culprits abound, and circumstances soon make Jane and aggressive journalist Michael Behan the leading team in the hunt for the killer. The book's detailed, wholly believable glimpses into early 20th century theater culture make this an especially welcome addition to an entertaining character-driven series, and fans will be intrigued by a hint of new things to come for Jane. 
Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance reading copy via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
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Many thanks to Minotaur and Netgalley for sending me this book early. This book will be published on 4/13.

The introduction to this book immediately filled my eyes with tears. To have an author acknowledge what the theater community is going through right now in her book dedication was really special.

This is the 4th in a series and I haven’t read the previous three but I think I should go back and start at the very beginning. There are a lot of characters in this book. Like a lot a lot. I needed a map to keep it all straight but I think had I not been new to this series that may have been easier to navigate. The characters that seemed new to the series were very well developed but there are just so many!

Jane is thrown into the world of wardrobe and it filled my heart completely to read about her experiences. This feels like a classic whodunit mystery and Jane is so likable and wow is she observant!
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Lady's maid Jane Prescott has to chaperone her mistress to observe the preparations and rehearsals of a Broadway show. Not only does she need to deal with observing her former beau with his new questionable wife she also discovers scandal around every corner.

I enjoyed the early 20th century setting and interesting bits of history that were included in the story. Well written characters will have you loving some and disliking others. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC. The opinions expressed are my own.
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The excitement and drama of the theater thrummed through the pages of Fredericks latest book featuring Jane Prescott, a bright, hard-working and inquisitive woman with a sense of justice.  It was fascinating to see into the world of Broadway in 1914 and it provided so many great characters/suspects.  Jane and Louise have changed and grown through the books.  Louise, in particular, was almost unrecognizable from the character introduced in the first book (fear not, you need not have read the others to understand this book but it is interesting to see the changes).

Fredericks has used historical detail and issues of the time to develop a compelling story and nuanced mystery but also fit well with the characters she has created.  I have really enjoyed her writing.  There were funny moments and poignant ones as well.  It was very appropriate that at the end of the novel as Jane and companions leave the enthralling world of the theater they come out into the real world and suffer a shock to the system as they discover the announcement of war had broken out in Europe.  The good books do that to the reader.  At the end it is a jolt when you leave the world of fiction created by the author and return to the real world.  This one achieves it.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.
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A very entertaining book. The story takes place during the summer of 1914. Jane Prescott is back in New York with Tyler after an elegant wedding in Europe.  Some days after her return, Jane learns that her partner Leo Hirschfeld has married a special girl. This girl is part of the cast of her new Broadway musical. Jane is introduced to the scandalous world of Broadway as she accompanies Louise Tyler to her rehearsals. However, Jane realizes that the world for Broadway is full of rivalries, secret romances, and shady business practices. One day, Sidney Warburton, an abusive producer, appears murdered, and the list of suspects is very long. Jane wants to investigate and find out who is behind this terrible crime. It is a book that captured my attention from the first page. I liked that the author described New York City at that time. It is undoubtedly a time when people struggled to get ahead. I liked Jane because she was a girl committed to solving crime and, above all doing the right thing. I thank NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and Minotaur Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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Jane Prescott is back for the fourth book in this wonderful series and this time we get to see the sometime shocking world of Gilded Age Broadway. As some background, Jane is Louise’s lady’s maid and they’ve had a few ‘adventures’ in solving mysteries already. 

Jane’s ex-beau Leo is producing a Broadway show and Louise is one of the investors. When another producer is murdered, we get to see the drama, backstabbing, and crazy romances that occur behind the scenes. Also an interesting part of the story is the increasing concern in the background as WWI looms. 

I really enjoyed the mystery aspect which was, as usual, well written with some plot twists that kept me engrossed in the story. I also really like that both Jane and Louise are both likable and continue to develop as characters and as the reader, I could connect with them. 

I’m looking forward to more in the series!

Review will be published on my blog closer to publication date. Thanks to Netgalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A great entry to a great series.

Jane's beau gets married while she's away in Europe. Instead of being able to avoid him, she and her employer, Louise Tyler, end up helping his first play. There are tensions everywhere, so it's not a surprise when the producer ends up dead. To make sure that Louise doesn't lose the money she invests in the play, Jane investigates.

Poor Jane. She has horrible luck in men. First, she finds out Michael Behan is married, and her second love interest gets married after telling her that he never would get married. Considering that she ends up a widow in the future, I hope that she finds happiness at one point.

My favorite thing about this book is that the secrets Jane finds out are fascinating and fleshes out the characters.

This review is based on an advanced reader copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
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I'm so excited about discovering Jane Prescott!! I can't believe I haven't read her novels but her clever descriptions and charming characters have me scrambling to go back to the beginning of this series. I loved Jane and her chemistry with Leo was great although you sense her distrust of him. There's of course a winding mystery going on too but I really enjoyed the downstairs aspect of a lady's maid tangled in the murder. It was a little slow getting a the actual murder but since this world of characters was new to me, I felt like I was getting caught up. I never felt lost but have so many curiosities about Louise and her role in the previous books. I also loved a behind the scenes look at Broadway productions in the pre WWI era. It's a fascinating time with a generation that never knew of war so as that danger looms I always sense the tension in the characters. Loved this one!
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The best Jane Prescott murder mystery in the series yet! I really enjoyed this book and appreciate how much improved the books in the series have become over time. While it was still a bit long and slow moving as the others we get more Louise, more Jane, and more drama in this one.

Louise is helping with a Broadway performance in Gilded Age NYC with the supervision of her lady's maid Jane. When there is a murder needing to be solved- Jane always steps in to solve the crime. As a lady's maid you can see and hear things others do not. 

I loved the imagery of Broadway during this time period, the cast drama, and the romances. Will Jane ever get her happy ending! I enjoy that the newer books in this series have a prologue and epilogue so we can see Jane outside of being a lady's maid. I also enjoyed seeing where the characters end up.

Overall, another fun-light historical murder mystery (if that's a thing) from Mariah Fredericks!

Thank you NetGalley, Mariah Fredericks, and Minotaur Books for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. Publication date is April 13th, 2021.
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Book 4 in series, but able to be read as a stand alone as I have not read any of the others. Jane Prescott is a ladies maid and as such she escorts her employer to the theater as chaperone. When the producer of the play is found murdered Jane finds herself looking for his killer. 

The theater aspect of this book was fascinating, but for me the book moved too slow and I was tempted to put it down. I’m glad I didn’t as the twist to discovering who the killer was was enjoyable. 

Thank you NetGalley, Mariah Fredericks and Minotaur Books for this edition and hearing my honest review. Looking forward to reading more with you
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The time period, 1920’s NewYork Broadway, made this book more unique. It focused on the classes of society with the story based on a wealthy young couple and her lady’s companion.  The woman, Louise, invests in a Broadway show so she and her attendant get involved in the production.  When there is a death, the observant attendant is involved in solving the murder.  

Good clean book without foul language and explicit sex scenes.

The book is a little too long and was slow starting for me but had a good ending
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I reviewed this book for Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society.  Per their policy, I cannot post my review until after it is published on the HNS website May 1, 2021.  I will update my review at that time.
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I really enjoyed this installment of the Jane Prescott series. It was great to see Jane's character develop significantly -- as well as Louise's characters. The theatre setting was enjoyable and the mystery satisfying. I look forward to the next book!  My only wish is that there had been another book in between this one and the previous, with a mystery set in Europe.
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Not everyone connects with every book and this was one for me.  This was a DNF for me and review is for 29% read.  Louise Tyler and her made go to a party and a theater producer is murdered.  There was a lot of detail given before the actual murder took place.  A lot of detail thrown out of background on the characters that I didn't feel needed.  I had hard time relating to the characters.   Was not wowed.
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Having read and quite enjoyed the 3 other Jane Prescott mysteries, I was quite excited to receive a DRC from Netgalley and Minotaur books.  Needless to say this book was an entertaining read with a good mystery, interesting characters, and an inside view of the theater world of the 1910s.
In The Death of A Showman, Jane becomes enmeshed in the  real workings of a Broadway play produced by her former beau, Leo Hirshfield. Murder and mayhem follow with an undertone of the impending war (as this is set in 1914). I enjoyed that, at times, this was a bit more lighthearted then others in the series and yet it featured a strong storyline that dealt with issues of the day. And it kept me reading when I really should have been doing other things.
What I absolutely loved was continuing to see Jane grow.  She has become one of my favorite historical fiction characters and I cannot wait to see what she does next. As you maybe able to tell I'm already eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.
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The new book in this series is just as good as the first two. A fascinating portrayal of the United States at the beginning of the last century, with an appealing main character who loves to solve a good mystery. I think this series has all the appeal of the "cozy" mystery genre,  but without some of the cloying elements. I recommend this to readers who enjoy cozy mysteries but want to expand their reading horizons.
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Death Of The Showman by Mariah Fredrick Takes place of Ragtime The main character is Jane. The Freak  Show is right before this time. It has the Barrymore and Valentine.
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Mariah Fredericks has such a wonderful way of phrasing things, very clever and witty.  She effortlessly pulls in historical details and breathes a lot of life into her characters...they really shine.  Not that I like all of them...we're not supposed to...but they shine nonetheless.  Death of a Showman is the fourth in the Jane Prescott series and is absolutely delightful!  You know what it's like to be bedazzled by something which you cannot do yourself yet that person makes it appear effortless?  That's what this felt like to me.  

In 1914 New York, Jane is Lady's Maid to Louise.  Jane's wry sense of humour is fabulous as she finds herself backed up against the wall and in pickles and muddles of all sorts.  Louise is one of my favourite characters.  Leo has made some rather interesting choices which consequentially affect several other people and the storylines.  When dastardly Sidney is killed, not many sympathize.  No one is how they appear and there are lots of fun bits to work out.  Seeking murder AND mayhem?  This is your next read.

Much of the setting is a Broadway Theater which is intriguing.  The characters are associated with the theater in one way or the other from patrons to actors to those behind the scenes, even a dog!  The mysteries are delicious and riveting but to me the characters equally steal the show, even those who were a bit repugnant.  

Historical Fiction readers, do pick this one up!  The epilogue and acknowledgements were wonderful, too.  What a treat.

My sincere thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this irresistible book in exchange for an honest review.  Much appreciated.
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