Review: Murder, She Wrote: Murder Backstage by Jessica Fletcher and Terrie Farley Moran

Murder, She Wrote: Murder BackstageMurder, She Wrote: Murder Backstage by Jessica Fletcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Murder, She Wrote: Murder Backstage is the 58th-installment in this long-running, much-loved Cozy Murder Mystery series, starring amateur sleuth, Jessica Fletcher.

This is the 5th-installment to be written by Terrie Farley Moran, who took over the series beginning with Killing in a Koi Pond back in 2021. I have read all of the books authored by Farley Moran, and have been so pleased with her contributions to the series thus far.

I feel she’s really captured the original tone and characterizations, sticking with the classic format that I think works so well for long-time fans of the series. You know what you’re getting when you pick up a MSW book and I appreciate that TFM hasn’t tried to change that.

In this installment, we go along with Jessica, as well as her closest friends, Mort Metzger, his wife, Maureen, and Dr. Seth Hazlitt, as they travel to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to reunite with Jessica’s cousin, Emma.

Emma is a theater actress from London, who long-time fans of the show may remember first meeting in an episode during Season 1 of the television series.

And before you come at me for being the biggest dork on the planet, the only reason I remember this so well is because they had Angela Lansbury play the role of both Jessica and Emma in the episode, which was a little strange, TBH.

The only difference really was Emma had red hair and a London theater actress accent. So, there was a scene where Jessica and Emma were having a serious conversation while riding in a car, and they could only show one of them at a time, and it’s slightly choppy and hilarious.

Anyway, I digress. Back to this book. I was delighted that TFM decided to include such a classic character from the series. I’ve never forgotten cousin Emma and it’s always lovely to see her. She’s energetic and a lot of fun.

In this, Emma is going to Canada to star in a theater production featuring an internationally famous star, Derek Braverman, who has created his own old-fashioned musical review. Approaching the end of his career, he wants to go out on his own terms, performing his own show.

Emma contacts Jessica and extends an invitation to her and her friends, thinking it would be a great time for them to reconnect. While Edmonton is a long way from Cabot Cove, Jessica and crew jump at the opportunity.

The mystery involves the death of stagehand, whose body is discovered in the theater after hours, but of course, Jessica and Emma are there.

From that point on, Jessica puts her master-sleuthing skills to the test, as she yet again sets out to solve the murder, and find the killer, before the tables are potentially turned on her and her loved ones.

Y’all know, I cherish my time with Jessica Fletcher. This is my all-time favorite Cozy Mystery series. It’s my go-to as a way to escape life for a while. These stories are so pure and fun. I always know what I am going to get when I pick one up, and there’s real comfort in that.

This is the 43rd-book that I’ve read in the series. I still have a way to go, but I will never stop. As long as they keep being released, I will keep picking them up and I certainly hope that Terrie Farley Moran sticks around the long-run as well.

This did take over my life while I was reading it. Once we had our body, I was hooked. Everyone was suspicious and a lot of people had motive, but whodunit?

I enjoyed the whole cast of characters, as well as the setting of the hotel and theater. Jessica and her friends took full advantage of being in Edmonton, managing to get in a lot of touristy things, even whilst solving a murder.

In fact, if I’m honest, there’s was a bit too much of the sight-seeing bits for my taste. It tended to drag down the pace of the story a little.

While I am glad the friends had the opportunity to see some sights, and learn some history of the city, I didn’t necessarily need to go along with them on every excursion.

With this being said, I still really enjoyed this. I thought the mystery was fun and the full cast of characters was great; a nice mix of theater, and non-theater people. The conclusion was exciting and my heart was full by the end.

For the uninitiated, these books can be read in any order. If you are interested in checking any of them out, I would recommend just reading a few synopsis and deciding which one sounds most intriguing to you. Once you found it, just give it a go. You could end up loving them as much as me!

Thank you to the publisher, Berkley, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I’ll never turn down a Murder, She Wrote Mystery, so please keep ’em coming!!

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