Philadelphia's New Year's Day Mummers' Parade, a splashy, fiercely competitive affair, turns murderous in yet another funny Philly puzzler for schoolteacher Amanda Pepper. Amanda watches as a costumed Pierrot collapses in the middle of the parade - shot dead. Vincent Devaney, a Mummer who teaches with Amanda at Philly Prep, is prime suspect. An old friend of the dead man, Vincent had also been his rival for the leadership of their "Fancy Club," one of the organizations in the secretive world of Mummerdom. Complicating matters is the fact that Vincent falsely claims he was with Amanda during the shooting. Amanda's significant other, homicide detective K.C. Mackenzie, trusts her sufficiently to ask her to chat with Vincent to find out "what's really going down." But after a gun surfaces in Amanda's voluminous purse, and the corpse of another Mummer turns up in an abandoned factory, even Mackenzie's dinner conversation crosses the line from chit-chat to interrogation. Roberts effectively balances the subject of pride, Philadelphia's local color and Amanda's mounting problems.
Lots of twists and turns in this one with some interesting history.