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AUDITION FOR MURDER (Maggie Ryan 1967) (About the book)
Actors Nick and Lisette O’Connor need a change. They leave New York City for a semester as artists-in-residence at a college upstate, where they take on the roles of Claudius and Ophelia, two of the professional leads in a campus production of Hamlet. Threats and accidents begin to follow Lisette, and Nick worries it might be more than just petty jealousy. Maggie Ryan, a student running lights for the show, helps investigate a mystery steeped in the turmoil of 1967 America.
"It's a triple pleasure, a sophisticated theatre story, a knowing campus tale and a topnotch suspenseful mystery, with excellent characterizations and honest plotting." -- Judith Crist
"An extremely well-written tale, with a plotline that offers a jolt per page." -- CF, Booklist
"Very literate, sprinkled with surprises and offering that rarity of rarities -- fully fleshed out characters." -- Bob Ellison, Los Angeles Daily News
AUDITION FOR MURDER Excerpt
New York City, late 1960’s.
Nick O’Connor put down the telephone, his broad, muscular body sagging a little. So she hadn’t been merely tired. Hell. He changed to worn jeans and his old leather jacket, and made a mean face at the mirror. Nick the hustler tonight. Man of a thousand faces, said his agent, and every one of them homely.
Franklin’s place was halfway down the block. A worn brass door handle, chipped paint. Nick wiped a few snowflakes from his thinning hair and pushed through the crowd to the end of the bar. In a moment the bartender, black, with a trim mustache, had worked
“Is she here, Franklin?”
“Been here for hours.”
“Hey, we can’t all be self-employed minority success stories.”
Franklin chuckled. “You watch your honky mouth.” He went off to break up a loud argument about whether or not the Vietcong were winning, served a whisky, and returned to Nick. “Room 6B,” he said.
Which mythological creature are you most like?
In Greek mythology I identify most with Athena, who loves civilization and community, and is known for creativity too. She was willing to fight for her city, Athens, but wept for the fallen, strong but sad. I like the stories involving Greek gods because, despite their immortality and power, they have failings, and have to deal with each other as well as with human conflicts.
Also, the stories are myths, which come to us already told in many versions.. So if a god or goddess does something questionable, maybe the next retelling will explain it better. For example, I was always uncomfortable with the end of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, where Athena ends things neatly by judging in favor of Orestes and against the Furies who are torturing him because he killed his mother. In the Aeschylus play, Athena gets the Furies to surrender happily by promising them honor as Euminedes (gracious ones).