Maisie was an irrepressible burlesque queen of the fifties who was a star in the Cassandra Theater. She was killed in what was initially ruled to be an accidental trip and fall down a spiral staircase. In fact, she knows it was a murder but, why was she killed and why the later cover-up? Unfortunately, however, what can a ghost to do about it? Andso, her shade haunts the theater hoping to find someone to help her.
It turns out to be a long wait. In two thousand and six two young wanta-be actors arrive at the newly restored Cassandra Theater to audition for a play. One is Max, who is gay, and the other is his roommate Brad, who is straight. For reasons unknown at first, Maisie finds she can connect with them both and seeks their help in proving she was murdered and who did it. After initial hesitations, the boys agree to help her solve her killing. The book follows the pair as they stumble towards finding answers while dodging a hired gun, a serial killer of young men and, for Brad, Maisie’s tendency to “fondle his rump” at inopportune times.
Maisie’s favorite young pro-wrestler, Stan DaMann, is arrested for allegedly murdering his hated rival. Maisie is convinced of Stan’s innocence. Determined to find the real killer she convinces the hapless Max and Brad into posing as a new wrestling tag team. Out of their depth, they find themselves involved a murky world of underground sex bouts while facing off against two brothers who think vice may be nice but incest is best. As Max and Brad’s wrestling début approaches our trio is eager to find the killer before the killer finds them. Max has another problem in the form of a good-looking Australian wrestler named Liam. Could Max be falling for a guy who might turn out to be that killer?
The play also has a rather lurid past. During its first run in 1948, two members of the company were victims in an unsolved murder. Maisie soon convinces the boys it would be fun to try and solve the decades old crime. What starts as a lark however, suddenly takes a unexpected turn as evidence of a blackmail scheme is revealed. Events soon turn deadly when the trio seeks to uncover who is being blackmailed and, critically, who is behind it. Hidden scandals, an attempted rape and murders both old and new are now part of the script for a, “Murder in Noir”