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A Gus LeGarde Mystery
By Aaron Paul Lazar
If you enjoy stories like Sister Act II or others where students are brought together to perform in a major production, then you will enjoy Upstaged just as much as I did! In fact, having extensive information and character involvement with music just might place the Gus LeGarde Series versus Sam Moore a little ahead for me. But no matter what, Aaron Paul Lazar is a wonderful storyteller and has the ability to create characters for whom you care about. Adding mystery and suspense is just like icing on the cake!
In addition to being a social worker, Camille, Gus' fiancee directs the musical productions for the local high school. And since she has the inside track with Gus, it was quite natural that he help by playing the piano for rehearsals. In fact, it was a musical that Gus had written ages ago, Spirit Me Away, that was going to be performed. Everybody was excited to wear the hippi clothes from the '60s and pretend they were heading for Woodstock!
But even at the very first rehearsal/tryouts, nasty things started to happen. The first was a snake being tossed from above into the costume room. Mrs. Bigelow, a mother and volunteer helping with the performance was the one screaming as the first incident occurred to disrupt and cause problems. As he is often the hero, Siegfried, who was also a volunteer, quickly came, and took care of the snake...
Even though Mrs. Bigelow was the brunt of this action, she got over it quickly as she tried every way possible to ensure her daughter Lisa played the leading role. The problem was that there was someone better for that role and everybody knew and accepted it except this stage mother, who was vocal about favoritism for everybody except for her daughter. And, later, when the lights unexpectedly went out and Camille was pushed off the stage, it was natural to wonder if jealousy could have led this mother into such an act.
As the delightful activities regarding the production are enjoyed by the characters as well as the readers, one particular student who was dating Molly, the lead, had hoped that he would be chosen to play against her, but didn't get chosen. When he tried to argue with Molly and got physically and sexually aggressive, so much so that Gus had to get involved, he was questioned extensively about the other problems. Especially later when Molly did begin to date the student who had been selected as the male lead.
Even the school principal came under careful scrutiny until he talked to Gus and asked him to intervene on his behalf by sharing a secret from his past that would not be made public...
Because as the actions got progressively more dangerous, the police had been called in and now everything seemed to be under control, with protection provided for the opening night. But nothing could have prepared them for what actually occurred!
What a climatic ending!
And what a wonderfully written and suspenseful novel! In addition to the great whodunit, we learn and grow to love the ongoing characters. Gus and Camille are getting closer and they share a beautiful miracle, amidst everything else happening...You've just got to admire Lazar. He writes a stirring family-oriented story, while setting up a terrific tale that keeps readers totally involved! I loved this one!
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