"Deadly Performance" By Victoria Tait: Review/Giveaway

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Over the last year, Dotty Sayers adjusted to being a young widow, exerted her independence, stumbled upon employment at Akemans Antique Center, challenged herself to learn about antiques, and gained lots of dear, supportive friends. However, she also was entangled in a major fraud scheme, a victim of a few physical attacks, and as evidence was exposed, accused of murder. A roller coaster twelve months, to say the least, so a break was well deserved.

For the past three months, Dotty’s been caring for a friend’s eleven-year-old twin girls relishing the quiet, rural life in the south of France. But, Dotty and her British blue cat, appropriately named Earl Grey, are off to Edinburgh to visit her parents. There’s excitement in visiting a place she’d not seen since she was a toddler, sightseeing and partaking in the food and culture, but there’s also apprehension seeing her parents, especially her mum, who preferred to be called Karen and who was far from the motherly type. She is a much stronger person now, independent, and she can only hope they’ll be proud of the new Dotty.

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Image Source Kanga Press
Deadly Performance
Earns 5+/5 VIP Tickets … Clever, Engaging Gem!

Dotty could see why so many tourists flocked to Edinburgh during the summer with all the historical and cultural sites and entertainment available including the Fringe Festival and the Tattoo, a military performance. But, it’s the VIP tickets to Underground Murder, a murder mystery play, that causes the most interest. The tickets were actually sent to the previous residents of the flat Dotty’s parents had purchased, Simon Everett and Scarlet Jones, and since trading and exchanging tickets for the various performance was common, Dotty’s mum thought nothing of Dotty and her father, Euan, using the tickets. They learn that one attendee will be Iona McDuff, an MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament), but learning the VIPs are expected to act as participants worries Dotty’s dad.

Others who are worried include the local police who need to insure the safety of several important figures in attendance, including McDuff whose controversial views on Scottish Independence makes her a target. Morag Elliot, a middle-aged police constable, is sent in civilian clothes to keep an eye on the opening night performance, and learning Dotty has had previous experience assisting the Cirencester police and has VIP passes, she enlists her help. However, the police presence and having Dotty actually on stage as a player in the play is ineffective: the lights go out, a shot is heard, maybe two, and a body closes the curtain on this performance. But, it’s who the police deem suspicious that spurs on Dotty’s dogged involvement.

Curtain Up! Victoria Tait has brought Dotty back after her time at Akemans had gone from a bright future to dark days to a renewed purpose. Dotty hadn’t seen her family for years, well not in person, and the standard conflicts children, like herself, have with their parents may resonate with those of us who tried hard to please, but then followed a different path. But, now that she’s home, demonstrating her cleverness, determination, and skill as an amateur detective might be the evidence her parents need to better understand, accept, and cheer on their daughter. The evolution of Dotty’s child/parent dynamic is a work in progress, but clearly the insights gained, true feelings exposed, and positive feedback received leads to a better understanding on both sides.

This seventh murder mystery was extremely well devised complicated by the fact it occurred in the dark, but witnesses were able to use their other senses reporting whispers, scuffs, and shoves. The victim’s political views start off the motives, but it gets complicated when PC Elliot enlists Dotty as an undercover civilian embedded in the theater group revealing other relevant conflicts. There’s the possibility of a revenge motive or just anger, but is it possible they’re looking at the situation from the wrong angle? The journey gets complicated when Dotty starts questioning whether it was a “wrong place, wrong, time, wrong victim” scenario, but it all becomes clear with an exciting confrontation. Victoria Tait includes additional dramas, family revelations, intimate conversations, a bit of eavesdropping, diverse personalities, and an inadvertent knock in the face to make a marvelous couldn’t-put-down experience.

Victoria Tait included so many peripheral details that added to my interest of the story. The different positions typical of the Scottish justice and political system and the hot button topic of an independent Scotland were educational elements along with Google-worthy references to various Edinburgh sites, historical figures, food, art, culture, and of course, whisky. Scotland has always been a top ten bucket list item, and Edinburgh would be my first stop.

Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery

Hour to Come (FREE Prequel) KRL Review HERE

Faked Death (2022) KRL Review HERE

Valued for Murder (2022) KRL Review HERE

Bidding for Revenge (2022) KRL Review HERE

Gavels, Tinsel, & Murder (2022) KRL Review HERE

Antique Tragedy (2022) KRL Review HERE

Priceless Betrayal (2023) KRL Review HERE

Deadly Performance (2023)


Holly, Baubles and Murder (2023) Amazon PREORDER LINK

This eighth journey is set for a November 17 release. “Talented antiques enthusiast, Dotty Sayers, is thrilled to be organising a Christmas display at a Yorkshire country house. She enjoys decking the halls, but the season is far from jolly when the chief guide is found dead, her body as cold as ice. When cops dismiss the death, Dotty turns to her prickly American colleague, only to learn he has his own secrets to solve. But when he disappears, this amateur detective fears the festive charades have become far deadlier.”

The best place to find Victoria Tait and learn more about her and her books is through social media. Sign up for her newsletter on her website, and if you join the mailing list, you can download the prequel, “Hour is Come,” for FREE.

Hour is Come Earns 5/5 Grandfather Clocks! This prequel book in Victoria Tait’s Dotty Sayers Antique Mystery series introduces a delightful young woman whose new life as a widow has also brought about a sense of “freedom.” She’s still struggling with some loneliness at home, but is enjoying her working at the antiques center, making friends, and learning the nuisances of an exciting antiques and auction community. Dotty also has found, through unofficial means, that helping the novice Constable Varma is exciting, liberating in a way, and she just might have a knack for uncovering secrets. Along with a clever mystery fraught with lots of questions, curious details, and a bit of peril, Dotty has an important decision to make about her future. “I…” began Dotty. That’s the cliffhanger…what does she decide?

Be a Big Fan of Victoria Tait!

A military wife herself, and having been stationed all over the world, Victoria Tait brings a unique perspective to her work. In her Kenya Kanga Mystery series, a top 2021 favorite, she uses her experience with living in Kenya and interest in the flora and fauna to create an exciting cozy series with paraprofessional veterinarian “Mama Rose” Hardie, who gets entangled with conservation as well as many suspicious deaths. Checkout Amazon for the complete Kenya Kanga Mystery series.

Facebook—Victoria Tait Author

Website—Victoria Tait

Enter to win either an ebook or print copy (winner's choice) of Deadly Performance by Victoria Tait by making a comment below about a potpourri of topics: (1) a fascinating detail you know about Scotland, (2) an experience with a murder mystery performance, or (3) do you like your whisky neat or mixed?, or simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "deadly,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 22, 2023. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win. If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I like my whiskey mixed. I'm really more of a wine person. Count me in the drawing!

  2. I attended a murder mystery performance dinner in Houston about 15 years ago. It was so much fun trying to figureout who the murderer was. Thank you for the chance to win. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  3. Always enjoy books set in other countries.
    Hope the mother-daughter relationship
    is better this time around. thanks

  4. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a fun book.

  5. I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

  6. I can’t wait to read Deadly Performance. JackieT

  7. Great cover. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading. I don't know much about Scotland and I like whiskey both neat and mixed. I prefer a print copy.

  8. This is an excellent review, thorough and well written. It certainly makes me want to read the book. Thank you!

  9. Nice review - I thoroughly enjoyed this Dotty adventure

  10. Please enter me in your drawing. I was in Edinburgh in April this year, it was not as crowded as the Fringe Festival looks like it was fun.

  11. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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