The Mysterious Bookshop

Phoebe Atwood Taylor - The Mystery of the Cape Cod Players

Asey Mayo, the “Codfish Sherlock Holmes,” investigates the murder of a traveling performer.

When the Cape Cod Players roll into towns along the lower Cape, the locals expect a great show, replete with games, magic, and merriment. Of course, they usually have an audience, too. When Boston widow Victoria Ballard, visiting the Cape to recover from a near-fatal bout with pneumonia, comes upon the troupe near her rural convalescent home, she ascertains that someone has played a nasty trick on the players, sending them to a remote destination in the wild backcountry in search of a paying gig. Sympathetic to the plight of the ragtag group, Vic invites them to stay the night with her, but when day breaks to find the lead magician with a bullet in his head, she realizes the cruel trick that brought the travelers to her home may have been part of a deadly plot―and that she may have been an unwitting participant.

Enter Asey Mayo, Cape Cod’s answer to Sherlock Holmes. Armed only with folksy wisdom, Cape Cod dictums, and plenty of common sense, the jack-of-all-trades is quick to tackle the puzzling case of the murdered performer. But in order to solve the case, he’ll have to confront a curious assortment of clues and suspects odder than any he’s encountered in his long career.

An amusing and atmospheric mystery set in early 1930s Cape Cod―a region still struggling to reemerge from the Great Depression and at the same time carefully guarding itself against the burgeoning tourism industry―The Mystery of the Cape Cod Players is a delightful Golden Age whodunnit that glimmers with period detail. Anyone interested in classics of the era, or in Cape Cod history in general, will find plenty to enjoy herein.

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