The next Fenway novel, The Upstaged Coroner, is going through the editing process now—and I hope to have it ready in September! This novel is my most personal to date. The murder takes place at a university where a renowned Shakespeare troupe is two days away from opening night.
The Shakespeare troupe is based on one that I was in my junior year of college. Called "The American Shakespeare Company," the student-actors did all aspects of production and performance. Led by the delightfully and maddeningly eccentric Professor Homer Swander, we put on a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream that I still have fond memories of to this day, twenty-five years later.
The troupe also helped sponsor a trip to London and Stratford-upon-Avon, where students got to experience pretty much every Shakespeare play that was playing in the country—and where the actors would discussed the plays with us at length the next day. I saw King Lear, Hamlet, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing, The Winter's Tale, and a dozen more Shakespeare plays, as well as the premiere of Tom Stoppard's outstanding play Arcadia. To some, seeing twenty-four plays in twenty-one days would be horrific, but to me, a twenty-year-old student who had never been outside the USA, it was heaven.
I'm dedicating the book to my Shakespeare professor, who probably had the biggest influence on me of any teacher or professor I ever had. While several aspects of the troupe and the events in the book are based on real life, the professor is the only character in the book based on a real person (although my fellow student-actors from A Midsummer Night's Dream get name-checked a bunch—the name of a hotel, the ADA, one of the suspect's former employers). And, of course, the troupe never experienced a murder (not one offstage, anyway!).
I had a lot of fun writing this one, and I hope, come September, you'll have just as much fun reading it!
P.S. You might get more out of the themes in Fenway 4 if you're familiar with The Merchant of Venice, or at least read the Wikipedia summary!
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