Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Spotlight and Exclusive Extract: Foul Deeds Will Rise by Elizabeth Ireland

Foul Deeds Will Rise by Elizabeth Ireland

By 1875, Lillian Nolan believes she has successfully shut off any connection to the spirit world. That winter she is thrilled when she wins the role of Ophelia in a new production of Hamlet in her home town of Chicago. Everything changes when the body of the managing director is found sprawled across the steps of the dress circle and all the investors’ money is missing. Lillian fears, once again, her career is over before it begins.
After her dearest friend is arrested for murder, Lillian commits herself to discovering the truth. Her search is complicated by a strange man who is following her, the romantic overtures of her co-star, and a reunion with an old nemesis. But nothing is what it seems. What she does find puts a member of her own family at risk and leads to the unmasking of the killer with lethal consequences for herself.

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Tagline: Life upon the wicked stage can be deadly.
Set against the backdrop of the Gilded Age, the Backstage Mystery Series stars Lillian Nolan, an unconventional member of Chicago’s upper class who dreams of a career of fortune and fame in the theater. Talented and ambitious, she possesses a hidden skill which she is extremely reluctant to use—the ability to communicate with those who have died and now live in the world of “The Beyond.”
The series chronicles her adventures in which she continually becomes enmeshed in solving mysteries which often require her accessing the realm of the paranormal. Filled with an incredible cast of characters—factual, fictional, and sometimes non-physical—who either help or hinder her quest for the truth, the stories take place during a a period considered to be the golden age of both acting and spiritualism in America.

During the winter of 1875, Lillian Nolan, actress and sleuth, is offered the role of Ophelia in an upcoming production of Hamlet. She quickly notices the odd behavior of Philip Kincaid, husband of her mentor, Regina Ellicott and managing director of Ellicott’s Theatre.

Follow me,” I said.
I led them down the hallway and into the room, hardly bigger than a large closet, but with two chairs and a desk. Regina and I sat while Phillip stood.
Has something happened?” I asked.
Regina smiled. “Indeed, it has.”
Then Phillip interrupted her. “I will tell her, my dear. I am mounting a production of Hamlet. Regina will of course play Gertrude, and I have arranged for James O’Neill to play the leading role.”
James O’Neill, I thought. He was incredibly handsome, talented, and a matinee idol to hordes of women. As an up-and-coming classical actor, it was quite an achievement for Mr. Kincaid to retain him. Only last year he had performed in Macbeth, Hamlet, and Julius Caesar at the McVicker’s Theatre downtown and gotten wonderful reviews. That same season he had also performed as Romeo to Adelaide Neilson’s Juliet.
Adelaide said about O’Neill, “When I played with other Romeos, I thought they would climb up the trellis into the balcony; when I played with James O’Neill, I wanted to climb down the trellis, into his arms."
This was wonderful news indeed. But what did it have to do with me?
Kincaid continued, “I want you to play Hamlet to his Ophelia.”
I was stunned. Was this a joke? He wanted me to play Hamlet? The expression on my face must have shown my shock. I glanced at Regina and saw a look of deep concern flash across her eyes.
She gently said, “My dear, I’m sure you meant to say Ophelia to his Hamlet.”
And then something equally startling happened because Kincaid turned on her in a sudden rage.
That’s exactly what I said, Regina! Have you no ears? You are getting quite hard of hearing in your old age, my dear. Or are you just stupid?”
I was appalled, and Regina looked crushed. What for me should have been a joyous moment was completely altered by my concern for my friend. But I didn’t have a moment to think or react because he turned to me and asked angrily, “Well, miss, what do you have to say?”
Startled, I could only say, “Of course, I would be delighted to perform in your production.”
This seemed to mollify him. “Very well, that’s more like it. Come to my office this week and we will arrange the details. Now, where can a man get a moment’s peace around here? I need a smoke.”

Elizabeth Ireland discovered her passion for theater early. After receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in Theater, she accepted a teaching position in a vibrant performing arts department at a college in northern Illinois. For ten years, she taught, directed and ran front-of-house operations. American Theater History—particularly that of the 19th century—has always been of particular interest to her.
She has been a quarter-finalist and a semi-finalist for the Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowship in screenwriting sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Two of her screenplays have been optioned, but remain unproduced. Her nonfiction work, Women of Vision: Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives, was published in 2008. Her work has also been published in a collection of paranormal short stories, Paramourtal: Tales of Undying Love and Loving the Undead. She lives in metro Atlanta with her ever-patient husband, and two quirky dachshunds.