The savvy reader’s favorite website BookFilter.com chooses the best theater book of the month just for Broadway Direct.
By Gary Corby
The fifth entry in an amusing, critically acclaimed series set in Ancient Greece, “Death Ex Machina” takes place around an arts festival celebrating Dionysus. A new play by Sophocles is being mounted but rehearsals are marred by a series of accidents that spooked cast members consider the work of a ghost. Our proto-detective Nicolaos (called an “inquiry agent”) is put on the job. He arranges a very public exorcism ritual…which is promptly followed by the mysterious death of an actor. Oops. Now Nico and his wife — the priestess Diotima — must ferret out the real villain. Australian author Gary Corby is praised for his rare skills: he combines historic accuracy with a “fair” mystery (that is, readers can work out the solution themselves given the clues) and to top it off, it’s witty! You’ll learn a great deal about ancient Greece and its theater community (back-stabbing, sometimes literally) and have fun to boot. (With each accident captured in drawings that appear onstage, my pick was the set designer, but it’s never that simple, is it?) Catnip for history and theater buffs. Learn more.