Ivy Meadows, actress and almost private-investigator, is at it again in the fifth installment in the series The Phantom of Oz by Cindy Brown. Ivy gets word that her close friend Candace Moon is going to be in town performing a space opera version of the Wizard of Oz. But, Candy isn’t looking like her usual vibrant, voluptuous self. It looks like she’s developed an eating disorder or an addiction to diet pills or perhaps both. A chandelier drops on some of the cast during a rehearsal. Then Candy up and disappears. Babette. the wicked witch who is auditioning the munchkins, doesn’t seem too concerned. Candy’s boyfriend hires Ivy to find Candy. Meanwhile, accidents continue to plague the production. People begin to wonder if the rumored theater ghost is real.
There are really 3 mysteries in this book. The first is about the accidents plaguing the production. The second is where has Candy gone? And the third is a murder mystery. Cindy Brown handles them all well. Entwined within the mysteries is a theme of body image and how mean people can be to those that differ from their ideal especially perhaps in the theater/film crowd. Ms. Brown promotes the idea of a healthy body image using the costumer for the company.
The mysteries are well-written. They all kept my attention. One scene has Ivy down in a room with a pool of water of unknown depth looking for Candace. The suspense and tension of the scene were such that I had trouble reading what happens even knowing that the heroine will most likely be okay in the end. It might not be a long scene, but it’s definitely one that shows the talent the author has for creating suspense.
Overall I give this mystery 4 stars out of 5. It’s well-written. The characters are believable. The mysteries are suspenseful and resolved well. I liked the theme of body image woven into the story. It’s an important and timely topic. I was able to read and enjoy this book without having read the earlier books in the series. I liked the story and writing enough to look into them at a future date though.
The Phantom of Oz is due to be released January 30, 2018 from Henery Press.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions herein are my own and freely given.