Blurb: A FATAL FIRST NIGHT The return of swashbuckling Gilded Age diva Ella Shane, an Irish-Jewish Lower East Side orphan who found fame and fortune singing male “trouser roles,” opens with a backstage murderon premiere night. Ella and friends aren’t at all sure about their colleague’s guilt, though it seems obvious. Meanwhile, newspaper reporter Hetty MacNaughten has finally escaped hats to cover a sensational murder trial. And then Ella’s British aristocrat beau shows up with more than romance on his mind. Before it’s over, the cast will have to sort out several interlocking mysteries…and find another Richard III. Will everyone survive to the final curtain?
BIO: Kathleen Marple Kalb grew up in front of a microphone, and a keyboard. Now a weekend morning anchor at 1010 WINS New York, she started out as a teenage DJ in Brookville, Pennsylvania. She worked her way up through newsrooms in Pittsburgh, Vermont and Connecticut, developing her skills and a deep and abiding distaste for snowstorms. While she wrote her first (thankfully unpublished!) historical novel at age sixteen, fiction was firmly in the past until her son started school and she decided to try again. She, her husband, the Professor, and their son, the Imp, live in a Connecticut house owned by their cat.
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A FATAL FIRST NIGHT – excerpt
Ella’s beau, Gil, the Duke, originally trained as a lawyer. Over tea with Ella and the cast, he explains a major problem with the evidence in the murder trial reporter Hetty MacNaughten is covering, sparking a lively discussion:
“And so, Miss MacNaughten, however much you don’t like this Mrs. Van Vleet, you may not get to watch her hang,” Gil finished in an apologetic tone.
“It makes sense,” she admitted, with a frown.
“Anyway, the method is wrong,” Yardley said. “Women don’t stab people to death like that.”
“What?” Hetty wheeled on him. “A woman can’t kill?”
“Not at all.” Preston smiled wryly. “They do every day. But women like poison. Knives are messy.”
“I lean toward the gentlemen’s view on this,” Gil added. “Very rare for a woman to kill in such a grisly fashion.”
“See?” Yardley crowed. “You tell ’em, Barrister.”
It was clear by now that the nickname was going to stick, since it was, after all, appropriate, respectful, and a good deal easier in company than “Your Grace.” If we’re going to have a duke in the house, we have to call him something.
“Well, no insult intended to present company,” Gil began with a chuckle, “but women aren’t really made for killing.”
“What?” I asked. Speaking of bosh.
“You are the mothers of the race, after all, whether or not you ever actually raise children.” His eyes met mine with a terrifying intensity. “You are made for caring for others, protecting them. Made for love, if you will.”
For a measure or more, it was no longer a discussion of crime and politics in company. It had become a private moment between the two of us, each watching the other’s reaction, barely breathing.
“What absolute old-fashioned hogwash!” Hetty snapped.