Title: The Sound of Murder (A Musical Murder Mystery #1)
Author: K.L. Montgomery
Published on: 24 March 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Ruby Ecco has landed a nice acting gig with a traveling theatre troupe. After solving the murder of her best friend a couple of months ago (the friend was an actress too and Ruby, her understudy), the theatre managers want Ruby to take it slow. Ruby thinks she’s going to get a significant role in their current production – Sound of Music. Instead, she gets a very small role with no dialog whatsoever!
Ruby is out on her early morning run in the park when she sees something floating in the stream. It is a dead body! The victim is none other than Diane, the actress who plays the role of Mother Superior in the play. When the local police are clueless and quite uninterested in finding the killer, Ruby decides to solve the case on her own.
The Sound of Murder is the first book in K.L Montgomery’s Musical Murder Mystery series. A quirky protagonist, a theme of ‘acting can be murder’ and an interesting selection of side characters, The Sound of Murder is a fantastic cozy series debut.
The story begins with Ruby waiting to see what role has been assigned to her. After helping the local amateur sleuth in solving the murder of her best friend, Ruby has now traveled with the theatre troupe for another project. This time it is a theatrical production of The Sound of Music and Ruby wants to get a major role. But the managers have a different thought in mind. Since Ruby is still coming to terms with losing her best friend (to whom Ruby was also an understudy), she needs to take it slow. They give her a small role – with no dialogs!
Ruby is not dejected though. She goes on her usual morning run in the park when she sees something floating in the stream. It’s a body. She wades into the water, thinking the person might have just fallen in. But it does not seem so! The victim is Diane, the actress who plays Mother Superior! There’s single gun shot wound, indicating her death was no accident.
When the local police are not very keen on interviewing Hattie Queen, the building manager, Ruby decides to take the matter into her hands (Ruby feels Hattie is involved in the murder). That is, solve the case and find Diane’s killer. A fellow actress named Nora joins Ruby in her quest.
As the duo start to investigate, they learn a secret about Diane. It’s got to do with Diane’s past. Looks like the actress had a pretty murky life at the beginning of her acting career. Did her past finally catch up to her?
I really loved the character portrayal and the setting. Ruby is quirky and funny. She does seem to have a bit of problem with self-esteem but as the story proceeds, we see her shed her ‘chameleon-self’ and be comfortable with who she really is. Nora, a fellow actress, and Ruby form quite a bond. They go together sleuthing and when they fall in trouble, their acting skills comes to their rescue.
Red herrings were plenty and the suspects list was long. Diane’s past turned out to be a major reason for her murder. But readers who love to play detective and solve the case before the amateur sleuth in the book does – maybe, keep the detective hat aside this time and let Ruby do the sleuthing.
Overall, this was a quirky and entertaining read. The only niggle I had with the story was multiple references to Ruby’s previous sleuthing adventure – the one where she caught her friend’s killer. Looks like this is a spin-off of another series. I wish there was some details about this or at least a note to the reader indicating they might want to read the book where Ruby makes her first appearance.
If you are looking for a quirky cozy mystery, you might want to give The Sound of Murder by K.L. Montgomery a try.