The Roar of the Crowd (Randy Craig Mystery #6) by Janice MacDonald (Ravenstone Books trade paperback, 30 June 2014).
Randy Craig (whose background you should already know if you read yesterday's Stuff and Nonsense), is running a high school theatre program associated with the organizers of Edmonton's annual Shakespeare in the Park series.
The gig is thanks to her old friend, English professor Denise Wolff, who's dating the artistic director of the FreeWill Players. Randy has plenty of time to focus on creating the curriculum for the three-week class because her significant other, police detective Steve Browning, is on assignment in Scandinavia.
But Randy has just begun the job when the lead actress, an Edmonton native who "made good" is murdered. When the police look at Denise as the prime suspect, Randy has no problem helping her friend to clear her name.
I usually whiz through books this compelling very quickly, but the Randy Craig series takes place in my hometown. And Janice MacDonald's descriptions of Edmonton locations and events are so detailed that I find myself pausing every few paragraphs to indulge in a trip down memory lane.
I remember attending the University of Alberta for both my degrees, and when she describes walking from one building to another, I think about making the same trip myself. I clearly remember the route of the #9 bus, and going to the Mayfield Dinner Theatre.
But since I haven't lived in Alberta's capital for nearly twenty years, though, sometimes I have to stop and ponder things like "Was the Garneau Theatre the one on Whyte Avenue or the one across the street from the HighLevel Diner?"
The Randy Craig books are like tourist guides wrapped in wonderfully-written mystery stories. They'll make you want to go to Edmonton and experience the vibrant cultural scene and explore the beautiful river valley. I think it's time to plan a trip there, myself.
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of the book.