Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate
Death at the Theatre takes us into the world of a fashionable London home in the 1930s, but not to the salons above, rather down to the kitchen below where Joan Hart assists the cook to prepare meals for the household. Her escape from drudgery, accompanied by her friend, lady’s maid Verity Hunter, is a visit to the theatre where Verity’s uncle, an actor, has given them tickets. But they are plunged, once again into investigating a crime, when a murder occurs, almost in front of their eyes.
There are several likely culprits amongst the cast of the play, but most were on stage when the murder occurred up in the “gods”. Joan and Verity become well acquainted with the actors and backstage staff and Joan’s wish to solve crime is reactivated when once more she meets Detective Inspector Marks, who treats her with kindness and respect. Meanwhile Verity is embroiled in concerns about the behaviour of her Mistress, Dorothy, who seems bitterly unhappy.
There are several red herrings within the plot and the perpetrator is finally revealed only when Joan helps Inspector Marks by her private investigation. This cosy mystery is very much part of the continuing story of Joan and Verity’s lives and their wish to leave a life of servitude, but it also keeps the reader guessing by an inventive plot. The context of theatre land in the 1930s is well created and Joan especially is an empathetic character.