Behind Her Mask was Death
by Aria E. Maher
People don't generally think about death, especially not on the night they are going to die...
Devon Lavender never thought he'd end up in the middle of a murder mystery. But when an unnamed red haired woman dies in his arms on the dance floor in the middle of the Prince's extravagant costume ball, it would seem obvious to everyone who the killer is. Devon finds himself with one chance, and one chance only, to prove his innocence and discover the real murderer, before it's too late.
Devon Lavender has spent his life trying NOT to be the object of any attention. After all, in the Kingdom of Plutch, getting the attention of the Marquis is a good way to end up dead. But once the prince's girlfriend dies in his arms, Devon finds that he's the center of attention, and that his life hangs by a micro-filament. There won't be any hiding behind masks. Just an unmasking of the real culprit. Before somebody else ends up dead.
This is a novella, but it could have been fleshed into a full length novel. It covers the events of one fateful night, and is a fluid stream of action throughout, as Devon races against time to find the real killer and prove his innocence, with the assistance of the woman dressed as the grim reaper at the costume ball. Devon and the Princess make a great team, and her sarcastic wit and his confused puppydog innocence produce chuckles throughout.
PG - Well, mainly because somebody dies. After all, it's a murder mystery, so there needs to be a body. There's the threat of torture, but no real description of what that would look like.
G - I don't remember a single curse word in the book. .
G - There's some discussion about the main character avoiding the wine, and a description of the hangover he gets the next morning. I'd call that PG, but there's a drunken scene in Sleeping Beauty that's a lot worse.
Not much, pro or con. There's a bit of discussion about heaven in passing. The Marquis could be a typecast for the devil - he's evil enough, but plays by a strict set of rules even so.
This delightful novella is an intriguing murder mystery with a few twists to keep you wondering whodunit. The stakes are clearly life and death. The characters are entertaining and relatively believable, and the action moves along at a good clip right to the exciting conclusion. Five Stars!
About the Author:
I wrote my first book when I was eight, chronicling the grand adventures of the Super Mario Bros. in pages torn from a sketchbook and bound with masking tape. At ten, I ditched my writing for a career as a robotics engineer, and constructed interesting devices (which never worked) out of old bits of computers and washing machines. But then, dismayed that I would have to study mathematics (oh, the horror!) in order to be an engineer, I returned to my writing, and constructed bizarre fantasy worlds filled with fairies, portals, mad wizards, and flying castles built on clouds.
Currently, I'm in the middle of publishing my first book, Behind Her Mask was Death, a YA mystery/fantasy novella. My favorite inspirations are steampunk (and Victorian things in general), Terry Pratchett's remarkable Discworld novels, and the random fantasy landscape art I find on Pinterest.