Book Info

Nicky and Noah Mystery (series) by Joe Cosentino
Series Type:
Individual Stories
Number In Series:
Cover Artist:
Joe Cosentino
1 June 2022
Book Type


The Treemeadow College theatre crew stage an original musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, entitled Friends of Dorothy, at a summer theme park in Key West. Quickly cast and crew members melt away like a witch submerged in water. Nicky, as the Wizard on stage and off, must save the show and figure out whodunit. Once again, our favorite thespians will need to use their drama skills to catch the killer before a witch’s fireball sends them up in smoke. You will be applauding and shouting Bravo for Joe Cosentino’s fast-paced, side-splittingly funny, edge-of-your-seat entertaining fourteenth novel in this delightful series. It’s a scorcher! So follow the yellow brick road. The stage lights are coming up in Oz on a girl with a dog who is one hot bitch, a wicked witch who would kill for a new pair of shoes, a sexy Wizard, a Scarecrow sitting on a big pole, a Tinman with a giant can of lube, a Lion with a long tail between his legs, plenty of monkey business, and murder!

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As if my wish was granted by a fairy godfather, my wonderful husband appeared next to me—picking hay out of his eyes. After bringing me in for a healing hug, he said, “Nicky, everything will be fine in the end.”

I was as doubtful as a porn star bottom with a horse-hung overly-energetic top. “We haven’t even finished the first act yet.”

“We’ll pull everyone together.”

“That’s what the Texans said at the Alamo.”

Noah took my hand. “I think our troupe just needs some nourishment. I ordered dinner for the cast and crew in your honor: the theme park restaurant’s Wizard’s Crock Pot.”

“It should be ‘cracked’ pot.” I massaged my throbbing temples. “Why did we ever take this job—besides the desperately needed money?”

“To create another terrific show, and to be together as a family.” He kissed my Roman nose.

“Taavi has little time for us. He’s otherwise engaged, hopefully not literally, with Ava Boada.”

“How does Gabriela feel about that?”

“Ava’s mother is encouraging their relationship, since it evidently reminds Gabriela of her first love. Our costume designer also has designs (no pun intended) on her daughter stepping up from our show’s wardrobe assistant to star.”

“Interesting.” Noah sat me down next to him. “Tell me everything you know.”

“I don’t know anything.”

Noah cocked his head at me. “You’ve been spying on the cast and crew as usual. So spill it, husband.”

I guess he doesn’t mean my seed. “According to our son, and Gabriela, Ava is quite the talent.”

“Then why doesn’t Ava audition for theme park shows here in Florida?”

“Ava doesn’t think she can cut the mustard, so she mimics Bria Newkirk’s Dorothy from the wings. And since Ava’s late father was a set designer, and her mom is a costume designer, Ava sees her future behind the scenes.” I added, “Like the Wizard behind the curtain. It doesn’t help matters that Bria treats Ava like Cinderella.”

Sounding like our gossip-starved friend Martin, Noah asked, “Have any ‘relationships’ formed in our merry little group?”

I scratched my head. “Gabriela may be interested in our Winged Monkey Leader.”

Noah gasped. “Gabriela Boada likes them young.”

“And double-jointed apparently.”

“Does our cheeky monkey share Gabriela’s interest?”

“Topper Tucker seems charmed by Gabriela and Ava, but not in a romantic way. I think our Georgia farm boy wanted to monkey around with our Munchkin Leader.”

“Wanted to?”

“Until Taz Zaman mentioned his belief in the Quran.”


“Yeah, given the anti-gay passages in that book, I don’t think Taz Zaman will have a monkey on his back, at least not Topper Tucker.”

“Do you think Taz is gay?”

“Maybe bi. Taz and our musical director slash choreographer share some kind of secret known only to them—and to Bria Newkirk.”

“That sounds like an unorthodox threesome.”


Noah squeezed my hand. “Are any of our other company members headed down the Yellow Brick Road together?”

“Our Toto may want a bone, literally, from our stage manager.”

“Pip Manning finds Drew Gateway fetching?”

No pun intended. “Possibly.” I explained, “But they come from very different backgrounds. Pip’s a local here in Florida. His impoverished Protestant father is disappointed Pip’s living hand to mouth (or paw to snout) as an actor rather than studying to become a lawyer. Pip’s mother tried to drum the Bible into him, but it didn’t take—except in Pip’s nightmares about Adam and Eve.”

“And Drew?”

“He’s a Mormon from a medical family in Utah.”

My husband the romantic said, “I hope their differences don’t get in the way of Pip and Drew’s budding relationship.”

I rubbed my cleft chin. “There’s hope. Pip mentioned being turned on by the Mormon temple garment.”

“What’s that?”

“The long underwear Mormons wear to protect them from evil.” I smirked. “Though I have the feeling Drew may not want much protection (no pun intended) from Pip.”

My gentle and caring husband said, “I feel sorry for people whose religions don’t recognize God created them exactly as they are.”

“And whose religions spend millions of dollars to take away their rights via the Republican Party.” I thought about our Open and Affirming liberal Christian church back in Treemeadow, where the pastor, prayers, songs, sermons, and congregants welcome and support everyone. “Drew doesn’t need to stay in a religion that vilifies and demeans him for being gay.”

“Is he struggling with that?”

“He’s grasping at the straw that his religion will one day accept people like us.”

“Why doesn’t Drew leave the church?”

“Because of his family ties. Drew’s family members are Mormons in the medical profession.”

“How do Drew’s folks feel about their stage manager son?”

“They wish he was operating a stethoscope rather than a lighting and sound board.” I recalled our technical director’s comments about Drew. “Connie Wong would agree with them.”

As always, Noah defended the underdog (no pun intended). “Drew will get it together. He just needs to focus on stage managing rather than on trying to do everyone else’s job. Hopefully he and Pip will get it together too.” Noah tried to find the silver (or pink) lining. “On a positive note, the acting in the show is quite good. I went over each character’s actions, objectives, emotional beats, and tactics with them.”

“And they are certainly characters.” My stomach growled louder than a factory spewing toxic mercury into the air after a Republican president’s environmental deregulations.

Noah lifted me to my feet. “Come on, Wizard. Let’s dive into The Wizard’s Crock Pot.”

We stepped up the stairs and across the stage. When we reached the wing, Noah gasped and pointed to a lifeless body sprawled out on a pile of hay. “Nicky, look!”

I followed Noah’s horrified gaze and discovered Bria Newkirk lying next to Uncle Henry’s pitchfork. Both were dripping with blood. Bria is off pitch.

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