Even though this is the second in the Charles Paris series, it was my first introduction to him. I read this when I was 15 or 16 and fell in love with it and with Charles Paris. I've reread it several times since then and, much as I love it, I have begun to see the flaws.
It's set in Edinburgh during the Festival. Charles is doing his one-man show of Thomas Hood's poems as a fill in for a show that had to cancel. In the course of a photo shoot for another play being done by the same theater group, an actor is stabbed by what should have been a stunt knife. It certainly looks accidental but Charles' intuition is telling him it's not. He sets out to figure out who among this very bizarre theater cast could be behind the murder.
Previous to reading this book, I knew nothing of the Edinburgh Festival or of Thomas Hood and very little about Edinburgh. After reading it, I feel fairly knowledgeable about all three. The city and the theater setting are major players in the story.
The mystery actually takes a back seat in many ways to the setting. It's a clever little mystery that I did not figure out until Charles did but the actors, the plays, the theater, the history and Charles' various relationships overwhelm it.
Obviously I still love this book since I still give it 3 1/2 stars and reread it regularly but having read this rest of this wonderful series, I can be realistic about this one's flaws.