Just in Time (A Dodie O’Dell Mystery)
by Suzanne Trauth
About the Book
Just in Time (A Dodie O’Dell Mystery)
4th in Series
Lyrical Underground (September 25, 2018)
Print Length 220 pages
Kindle ASIN: B078QTBB4F
FACE THE MUSIC
Business is humming at Dodie O’Dell’s Windjammer Restaurant, where she offers theme menus connected to the Etonville Little Theatre’s amateur productions. This June, the theatre is collaborating with the neighboring Creston Players to stage Bye Bye Birdie under the stars—their first musical! There’s a contest in the play to pick a fan to receive rock idol Conrad Birdie’s last kiss before he ships off for the Army, so Dodie plans a contest to pick the food for a pre-show picnic.
But before the show opens, Ruby, the rehearsal accompanist, is found dead in her car. Why would anyone murder the crusty old gal who loved to sneak a smoke and a nip between wisecracks? Once again, the resourceful restaurant manager must play the part of amateur sleuth, accompanied by Police Chief Bill Thompson, who also happens to be her beau. Confronted with a chorus of suspects, she’ll need to stay composed to catch the killer—or it’ll be bye bye Dodie…
JUST IN TIME by Suzanne Trauth
Summer theater: mosquitos…humidity…and the always-present danger of a thunderstorm. What’s not to like about musicals under the stars? My most recent Dodie O’Dell mystery—Just in Time—includes an outdoor co-production by the Etonville Little Theatre and their next door neighbor the Creston Players. The two groups are planning to present Bye, Bye, Birdiein the Etonville town park. As anyone who has had the pleasure of a summer night spent watching a fun production knows, there is nothing like gentle breezes, a starry sky, a full moon—and a favorite companion—to transport the audience to another time and place. Until the proverbial sky opens without warning drenching actors and attendees alike.
Since I’ve spent most of my adult life involved in theater as an actor, director, and producer, I know how risky it is to bank on the weather during those unpredictable summer months, but the rewards can make the gamble pay off. The Etonville Little Theatre and company—Lola, Walter, Penny, Romeo, Abby, Edna et al—are willing to take the chance!
Writing this fourth book in the Dodie O’Dell series took me back to my days doing summer theatre in northern Ohio. I was a graduate student at a nearby university and the program included summers spent on the shores of Lake Huron—the setting was idyllic. We produced six plays in eight weeks, using an indoor theatre at the local high school, slept in a main house and some bungalows that had seen better days, and ate in the school cafeteria. There were approximately fifty actors and staff: current undergrads and grads, technicians, faculty, and folks who were hired each summer to keep the theatre running. We rose early, worked all day, performed at night, had a little R&R after the show at a local bowling alley, slept a few hours – sometimes on the beach – and then rose to begin the cycle all over again. It was a grueling, demanding schedule, ie. learning lines while bussing tables and helping out in the kitchen.
During my two summers at the theatre I worked as an actor, director, stage manager, house mother, and costume designer. Although I use that last term loosely as we rented a lot of the costumes and whipped up clothing for so many actors, we sometimes didn’t know if we were coming or going!
My fondest costume shop memories came about because we often barely had the clothes ready by opening night. On several occasions we hadn’t time to hem skirts and pants carefully with needle and thread; we swiped the hot glue gun from the scene shop and hemmed that way. During a production of Arsenic and Old Lace, the actor playing the serial killer, Frankensteinish Jonathan Brewster, who was a big guy, constantly ripped the inseam of his trousers—I think he tended to wear them at half-mast. We sewed and glued and still he ripped. Finally in frustration, we took his pants during one intermission and grabbed the heavy duty staple gun. The actor got stapled into his costume and the trousers held.
My memories of those times have stayed with me for many years…lots of late night laughter, a few tears of frustration, and much exhilaration when the shows succeeded and the audiences rewarded us with thunderous applause and standing ovations. I made many great friends those summers and deepened the friendships I’d brought with me. There’s nothing like hanging on the beach at 2:00 am, watching the storms pound Lake Huron from the veranda of the main house, or cheeseburgers at midnight at the local hangout to cement bonds.
I know how much fun the Etonville Little Theatre is going to have with Bye, Bye, Birdie…if the weather holds…!
About the Author
Suzanne Trauth is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and a former university theatre professor. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Dramatists Guild. When she is not writing, Suzanne coaches actors and serves as a celebrant performing wedding ceremonies. She lives in Woodland Park, New Jersey. Readers can visit her website at www.suzannetrauth.com.
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