Friday, November 19, 2021

Review ~ENTER A WIZARD, STAGE LEFT by Connie di Marco

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left (A Zodiac Mystery, #.5)
by: Connie di Marco
Series: A Zodiac Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: October 26, 2021
Publisher: Suspense Publishing
Amazon | Goodreads

Julia Bonatti wasn’t always a crime-solving San Francisco astrologer. She was a young woman, engaged to the love of her life, preparing for a teaching career when tragedy struck. Her fiancĂ© was killed in a hit and run accident.

As Julia struggles with her loss and attempts to find meaning in her life again, she takes refuge with her grandmother Gloria. But there’s little time for grief or rest because Gloria, a retired seamstress, needs Julia’s help. Gloria’s been hired to create costumes for a production of Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death at the newly opened Theatre Mars in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood.

Theatre Mars is a stunning jewel, the cast is supremely talented and the script is brilliant. What could go wrong? Julia gets the first hint of trouble when her new friend, the owner of The Mystic Eye bookshop, warns that all might not go well. Opening night will take place during the dark of the moon, the last three days before the new moon, a time that bodes disaster for any new project. The dire prediction comes true when the lead actress is murdered before the final curtain, echoing the play itself. Julia discovers a vital clue to the murder, but a clue that puts Gloria’s life in grave danger. Can Julia rescue her grandmother before it’s too late? And will a black cat play a leading role?


Enter a Wizard, Stage Left by Connie di Marco is the prequel to her Zodiac Mystery series. In my opinion, the Zodiac Mystery series is more mystery, than cozy mystery, where the stories really get into astronomy and using the science of it to help the protagonist solve the murders. Enter a Wizard, Stage Left was “lite hearted” and more of what you’d expect in a cozy mystery.

The story takes place a few months after the hit-and-run death of Julia Bonatti’s fiance Micheal. Julia is understandably having a really tough time dealing with life without the love of her life. She retreats to the safety of her grandmother Gloria’s San Francisco North Beach home. After months of watching Julia withdraw into herself, Gloria finally convinces her to accompany her to Theatre Mars, where the production of Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death is taking place, and where Gloria is working as a costume designer.

As with most plays, the cast of characters are real characters themselves. From snarky comments to infighting to a supposedly cursed venue, this play has disaster written all over it. But no one expects that disaster to include murder and the eventual disappearance of Gloria. With the help of Gloria’s downstairs neighbor and friend, Kuan, Gale the owner of the new shop, The Mystic Eye, and a little surprising helper, Julia works to find her grandmother and a killer before it’s too late.

Enter a Wizard, Stage Left was a nice addition to the series. It answered some questions about the characters that readers of this series have come to love. This story can be read before you get into the series or whenever you want a lite, cozy read. I’m looking forward to the next full-length novel in this series.

~ FAVORITE QUOTES ~

“I believe the universe throws curveballs that send you in the right direction.”

**Received a copy from the author and voluntarily read the book.**

Rating: 4.5

Purchase Enter a Wizard, Stage Left from:

The Zodiac Mystery Series:

The Madness of Mercury ~ Review
All Signs Point to Murder ~ Review
Tail of the Dragon ~ Review

Connie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. The Madness of Mercury, the first book in the series was re-released in October 2020.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Sisters in Crime.

Places to find Connie di Marco:

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