Confronted by more amateur detectives than is advisable DI Winwood is soon plunged into the secret world of the Rutherford Operatic And Dramatic Society.
The Murder Mystery Weekend at the Fleetwood Arms Hotel takes on a literal meaning when one of the guests is found dead, apparently from a heavy blow to the head.
When DCI Steve Winwood arrives at the hotel as breakfast is being served he is immediately confronted by more than one Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marples who have more questions than answers.
The majority of the guests are members of the Rutherford Operatic and Drama Society (ROADS) and are taking the event seriously by dressing for the part. They all have solid alibis for the time of the murder.
It is not until Winwood takes a witness statement from a guest who is not a member of ROADS that he realises that although the members were all in bed as they say they were, they were not necessarily in their own bed and nearly all were wandering around the hotel corridors in the middle of the night with plenty of opportunity to commit the offence.
As the investigation continues Winwood finds it hard to understand why the Managing Director of the Redbourne Brewery which owns the hotel is deeply interested in the case.
Detective Sergeant Emma Porter discovers that a member of ROADS had changed rooms with the victim and the team are left to query as to who was the real intended victim.
Winwood sends Emma undercover to join ROADS and find out more about the society. She successfully auditions for the next ROADS production of South Pacific. Their parallel but separate digging uncovers a group of amateur players who use Murder Mystery Weekends around the county as a cover for partner swapping and swinging parties.
There is still no clear indication as to who the real victim was; Brian Stirling an estate agent and second male lead in most musicals or Martin Protheroe a freelance TV location advisor. The various liaisons within ROADS with their sexual jealousies still point to Stirling as the target for the attack but Protheroe had his own background that attracted attention from other commercial interests.
Emma soon grabs the attention of Brian Stirling and agrees to accompany him as guest to a Treasure Island Theme Night at the Fleetwood where another ROADS member meets an indelicate end.
Winwood continues to reconstruct the movements of guests on the night when Protheroe died. When he unravels the various relationships within ROADS and the business community he reveals the real target and the attacker at a special evening at the Fleetwood where all the suspects and players are gathered.
Caution: This book contains references to adult sexual behaviour.
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This is part of the Inspector Winwood Murder series.