The Regent Theatre, a charming, decaying 130-year-old relic with a leaky roof, is in need of repairs, its future under threat when developers want to build a shopping mall on the site. In a last desperate attempt to save her beloved theatre, manager Jessica Jones encourages the committee to stage an Agatha Christie classic, Appointment with Death. The roles are cast and rehearsals begin, but hot young actress Tamara Fitzpatrick is found dead in the auditorium and police close the theatre just weeks before opening night.
Jessica finds herself thrust into the role of amateur sleuth. She must solve the mystery of the body in the second row and find out who is writing those demented threatening letters. She has plenty of suspects: likable and not so likable actors, those who toil behind the scenes (and do it all for love), and greedy developers who want the theatre to fail. Jessica gets needed assistance from outside sources and, in the process, finds that interrogation by a policeman can be fun, especially when he brings his handcuffs.
This is the first in the series of Theatre Mysteries. It is followed by Body on the Stage.