Read The Phantom of Oz (An Ivy Meadows Mystery Book 5) by Cindy Brown Online

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Creepy munchkins. A mysterious phantom. And a real Wicked Witch. Are you ready for it? Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows has been hired to uncover the cause of the creepy accidents that plague the roadshow The Wizard: A Space OZpera and find out who dropped a chandelier on the Wicked Witch of the East. Was it the ghost who haunts the Grand Phoenician Theatre? A “wickedCreepy munchkins. A mysterious phantom. And a real Wicked Witch. Are you ready for it? Actress and part-time PI Ivy Meadows has been hired to uncover the cause of the creepy accidents that plague the roadshow The Wizard: A Space OZpera and find out who dropped a chandelier on the Wicked Witch of the East. Was it the ghost who haunts the Grand Phoenician Theatre? A “wicked witch” in the cast? Or is it someone—or something—more sinister? It’s Ivy’s most personal case so far. Her best friend Candy, who’s touring with the show, is caught in a downward spiral of self-destruction, and is in more danger than she knows. To save her friend and the show, Ivy must answer even tougher questions: Do spirits really exist? What is real beauty? What does friendship mean? Ivy needs to learn the answers, and fast—before Candy reaches the point of no return. - - - - - - - - - - - - - THE PHANTOM OF OZ by Cindy Brown | A Henery Press Mystery. If you like one, you'll probably like them all. ...

Title : The Phantom of Oz (An Ivy Meadows Mystery Book 5)
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 36561450
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 282 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Phantom of Oz (An Ivy Meadows Mystery Book 5) Reviews

  • Holly
    2018-08-28 18:08

    The fifth book in the cozy mystery of Ivy Meadows and it still hasn't lost its charm. In this book Ivy reunites with her best friend Candy when she's in Phoenix for the production of Wizard of Oz-in space. However, Candy has changed a lot since she went to L.A. and Ivy has a difficult time connecting with Candy. It seems she's fallen under the spell that actresses need to be a size 0. During the production at the theater strange things begin to happen--haunted? Then Candy disappears. Then right after, someone gets murdered. Is Candy involved or is she a victim too? Ivy sets out to discover the truth and to try to find her best friend. Ivy's skills as a PI is getting stronger but sometimes still bumbles her way through the investigation. I still enjoy Ivy, though, I think she's a very charming character. I like that friendship took a large stage in this one. What it's like to support a friend through difficult situations and the importance of keeping true to yourself. I like that the mystery had a little of the supernatural element, I'm a fan of that angle. Another well done book by Cindy Brown. I look forward to more of Ivy's adventures.*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Mark Baker
    2018-09-18 19:22

    Ivy is excited when she learns that her best friend and fellow actress Candy is in town as part of the touring cast of The Wizard of Ozpera. However, in the months since the two have seen each other, Candy has lost a dangerous amount of weight and doesn’t seem like herself. Then Ivy learns about the accidents that have been happening on this tour, especially once they arrived in Phoenix. Can Ivy figure out what is happening and save her friend?The book includes a fun mash up of The Wizard of Oz and The Phantom of the Opera, working elements of the later into the plot of the mystery. The mystery might not be super traditional with the murder happening pretty late in the story, but there is so much going on you really don’t need it to happen earlier. I was certainly never bored as the story moves forward quickly toward the climax. The book is filled with great humor, yet there is a more serious side as well, which we see as we get to know the characters, especially Ivy who has some great growth here.NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.Read my full review at Carstairs Considers.

  • Betty
    2018-09-03 18:22

    The fifth book in the Ivy Meadows series. It borders on the paranormal but is really a mystery. I found this book difficult to read was broken up and the writing did not flow freely. Ivy is thrilled to hear from her best friend, Candy after a couple years of not knowing what she is doing. Ivy is very disappointed to find Candy has lost weight and all her sparkle. The show will be performing at the Grand Phoenician theater. During rehearsals, accidents occur. There sightings of a ghostly vision of the Lady In White. Ivy is hired it to find the source of the accidents. Ivy wants to save her BFF and to save her relationship with Candy. There a number of twists and turns before Ivy knows the answer.Disclosure: I received a free copy from Henery Press through NetGalley for an honest review. I would like to thank them for this opportunity to read and review the book. The opinions expressed are my own.

  • Sheryl
    2018-08-28 18:26

    This is the first book that I've read in the series, I liked the theatrical setting and all the behind the scenes of putting on a play. Ivy’s best friend Candy has come back to Phoenix from Hollywood to star in the theatrical version of “The Wizard: A Space Ozpera, which is being directed by the famous Arrestadt Giry. There is also a famous reality star, Babette Firman who is looking for her next “It Girl”. It’s a major coup for the actress who she chooses. Could Candy be the next “It Girl”? When Ivy finally meets up with her friend Candy she’s hardly recognizable what has Hollywood done to her best friend? Candy is no longer the voluptuous, fun loving person she was just a few months ago. She’s a shell of her former self, Ivy jumps to several conclusions as to what is happening to her friend and none of them are good. She’s also a bit envious of Candy’s sudden success which is not like her. She should be happy for her friend, but it’s obvious that something is seriously wrong with Candy. There are a lot of great characters in this book; the young munchkin, Madison who is wise beyond her young years who is being pushed by her stage mom, Desiree to stay with the tour. Then there is the wonderful pear-shaped Eden, who worships "The Goddess” and sends some sage advice to the readers about why we should embrace our body image regardless of our flaws. There are too many remarkable characters to list. Ivy’s little brother, Cody who is about to make a momentous change to her eccentric Uncle Bob the private investigator who she works for part-time while juggling her own theatrical career. This was a fun book, from the Lady in White who seems to haunt the theater to one of Eden's own ideas of how to "embrace your true beauty". We must not forget the awful reality star, Babette Firman who is looking for her next "It Girl”. She’s got everyone kissing up to her while she rips up their self-esteem by calling them such names as "Brownie Butt" and other unflattering things. Ivy finds herself wanting to get next to this pretentious, publicity hound because of her fame in Hollywood until she finds herself being on the receiving end of Babette’s acerbic remarks. Not to mention all the mayhem Babette is responsible for regarding the paparazzi’s stalking everyone’s moves.This is the fifth installment in this series, but you can just dive right in and become familiar with the major points in Ivy's past. I have already purchased the first book in this series because I want more of Ivy Meadows. Disclosure: I was provided with an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The opinion stated above is my own.

  • Rebecca Douglass
    2018-08-29 22:28

    Once again, Cindy Brown has spun a compelling tale about her likable detective. Ivy is a very human protagonist, with a lot of skills and a fair ability to screw up. I have to admit that her comedy of errors in the theater made me cringe a bit, but it felt like a believable bad week.The real issue in this book isn't murder, though. It's about relationships, friendship in particular, but also body image, sexism, and being judgemental. If Ivy is stumbling a bit as an actress (thanks in large part to a very ill-timed cold), she is falling all over herself as a friend. And why? In part because she want too badly to help everyone, to make their lives better. But she's also suffering from some serious insecurity due to that bit about body image.Somehow, Ms. Brown manages to make the serious themes fit perfectly into a light-hearted cozy mystery without weighing it down. Ivy is still a novice detective, but she handles it pretty well this time around. I knew who the perp was well before the end, but here's the thing: so did Ivy. She just wasn't ready to believe it, and it was interesting to watch her work through still more permutations of relationships to get there. She has to take a good hard look at herself before she can do what needs to be done.Probably my only disappointment here was the ghost. That always bugs me a little, because I don't believe in ghosts. But I'll admit that a ghost kind of works in the theater, since as Ivy notes every theater has its ghost, and theater people love to believe in them. Or "believe" in them. So it's kind of fun to see what comes of this one, and the mixing in of special effects makes it all the more fun.Recommendation:This is a great addition to the world of cozies, and in my opinion is a cut above because the author deftly addresses some serious issues without ever losing her grip on the fun of the story. I took about 2 chapters to get wholly gripped, and then read through it in only a few sittings.

  • Jenna
    2018-09-03 01:05

    There is a certain mystique about the theater--especially ones that are rumored to be haunted, like the Grand Phoenician Theatre. The venue is hosting a tour stop of "The Wizard: A Space OZpera" and Ivy's best friend Candy is with the company. But something is clearly amiss, not just with the theater, but with Candy, too. Ivy is shocked to see her best friends who seems to be dangerously thin and missing the more sparkling aspects of her spunky personality. And then, before Ivy can fully uncover just what is going on with Candy, she's missing. Time for Ivy to put on her almost-P.I. cap and pick up the Case of the Disappearing Starlet. I've long been a fan of Cindy Brown's Ivy Meadows mystery series, but The Phantom of Oz stands out among the rest. There's an extra element of creepiness in the story that almost led me to turn on an extra light in the room while I read. Even now, having finished the book, the descriptions of cobwebbed tunnels underneath a theater leading to a spring room with a body of water of unknown depth still gives me a bit of a chill. The story stands out for another reason, too, that being the theme of body image that is woven into the mystery, humor, and bits of romance. Ivy learns some fairly significant lessons in Oz, lessons about judgement, friendship, and reliable cell phone providers. It feels a bit more serious than previous books in the series, but that's not a bad thing. In fact, the slight shift grounds Ivy a bit, making her seem a touch more mature - and a lot more ready to take on whatever comes next for her.

  • Sheryl
    2018-09-11 19:16

    This is the first book that I've read in the series, I liked the theatrical setting and all the behind the scenes of putting on a play. Ivy’s best friend Candy has come back to Phoenix from Hollywood to star in the theatrical version of “The Wizard: A Space Ozpera, which is being directed by the famous Arrestadt Giry. There is also a famous reality star, Babette Firman who is looking for her next “It Girl”. It’s a major coup for the actress who she chooses. Could Candy be the next “It Girl”? When Ivy finally meets up with her friend Candy she’s hardly recognizable what has Hollywood done to her best friend? Candy is no longer the voluptuous, fun loving person she was just a few months ago. She’s a shell of her former self, Ivy jumps to several conclusions as to what is happening to her friend and none of them are good. She’s also a bit envious of Candy’s sudden success which is not like her. She should be happy for her friend, but it’s obvious that something is seriously wrong with Candy. There are a lot of great characters in this book; the young munchkin, Madison who is wise beyond her young years who is being pushed by her stage mom, Desiree to stay with the tour. Then there is the wonderful pear-shaped Eden, who worships "The Goddess” and sends some sage advice to the readers about why we should embrace our body image regardless of our flaws. There are too many remarkable characters to list. Ivy’s little brother, Cody who is about to make a momentous change to her eccentric Uncle Bob the private investigator who she works for part-time while juggling her own theatrical career. This was a fun book, from the Lady in White who seems to haunt the theater to one of Eden's own ideas of how to "embrace your true beauty". We must not forget the awful reality star, Babette Firman who is looking for her next "It Girl”. She’s got everyone kissing up to her while she rips up their self-esteem by calling them such names as "Brownie Butt" and other unflattering things. Ivy finds herself wanting to get next to this pretentious, publicity hound because of her fame in Hollywood until she finds herself being on the receiving end of Babette’s acerbic remarks. Not to mention all the mayhem Babette is responsible for regarding the paparazzi’s stalking everyone’s moves.This is the fifth installment in this series, but you can just dive right in and become familiar with the major points in Ivy's past. I have already purchased the first book in this series because I want more of Ivy Meadows. Disclosure: I was provided with an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. The opinion stated above is my own.

  • Ivonne Rovira
    2018-09-15 23:14

    The series featuring struggling actress Ivy Meadows has its ups and downs. Author Cindy Brown revisits the theater mashup she used in The Sound of Murder, this time with a Wizard of Oz in space. Annoying, but that’s not what led me to rank this as one of Brown’s lesser successes.Ivy’s best friend, Candy Moonpie, is fresh from L.A., returned to Phoenix for a tour of this offbeat version of Wizard of Oz. Distracted, rail-thin and secretive, Candy’s changed enough to worry Ivy. So far, so good. But the villains are too over-the-top even for reality TV, Ivy’s behavior at times borders on the hysterical, and Brown doesn’t do enough to make the denouement credible. While better than No. 3 Oliver Twisted, No 5. The Phantom of Oz is just passing fair. In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from NetGalley and Henery Press in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jeanie Jackson
    2018-09-06 19:27

    Cindy Browns brings the Phantom of Oz to life with humor, heart and action. She applies her special magic to create wonderfully believable characters. Suspense permeates the tale and the novel highlights serious issues while Ivy’s antics and bad luck keep us laughing out loud.As soon as Ivy sees her best friend for the first time in way too long, she recognizes that Candy has a deadly secret. That thought barely registers before a one ton chandelier lands right where they had been sitting just second before. To top it all off, Ivy is spooked when there seems to be no explanation for the ghostly visits that haunt the theater that even she witnesses. In spite of frustration from her friend’s many secrets, denials, evasions, and lies, not to mention innuendoes and half hints from actors, crew and stage mothers, Ivy’s race to resolve several mysteries is fast paced. I was delighted to see Ivy’s sweet brother Cody continuing to push for his independence, but of course, Ivy isn’t so ready to let him experience all of the bad that too often comes with the good that life has to offer for the innocent.I have to thank NetGalley and Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read an advanced readers' copy of this wonderful novel. It is my pleasure to shout to the world that Phantom of the Opera is an OUTSTANDING novel. I loved, loved, loved it.

  • Keith Chawgo
    2018-09-17 23:21

    Ivy Meadows returns in another instalment in the Cindy Brown mystery thriller. Cindy Brown has hit all the targets again with this crowd pleasing fiction serial. I have become a huge fan of the Ivy Meadows mysteries and find the wit and characters extremely charming.Last year, I was asked to review Ivy Get Your Gun (fourth in the series). I looked at the book and thought I could use a bit of light reading and something mindless and a bit fun. What I can tell you is that I got so much more. I was entertained, thoroughly engrossed with the plot, loving the characters, setting, humour and the mystery. I was hooked. So much so, that I am now a huge fan and have bought the back catalogue and read my way through and haven’t hit a dud yet.I have just finished the next instalment, ‘The Phantom of Oz’ and Ms Brown has done it again. This really is an excellent fun series and if you love theatre (especially musicals), you will love the campy twist that comes with the proceedings. This is another fantastic treat for fans of Ivy Meadows.The characters are richly drawn with a fun setting which entwines itself with a mystery that opens itself out and twists and turns. Written in the first person, things unfold as Ivy discovers different aspects of the case. This is where Brown shows her talent, whilst Ivy is becoming deeper involved in the case, the reader is picking out clues along the way. I found myself sometimes picking up clues that Ivy doesn’t at the time only to pick up later. The Ivy Meadows series is a real treat and one that I feel everyone should give a try. It is not for the serious dark fiction mystery thriller readers but if you would like a fun ride, exciting plots, colourful characters and a very human lead character in the form of Ivy. This is the book for you. I can’t wait for the next instalment. I have become an avid fan of Ivy and whatever comes next. A solid entertaining novel that works on all counts.

  • Lghiggins
    2018-09-08 02:25

    Despite its title, I don’t think The Phantom of Oz really started out to be a ghost story. Because the Ivy Meadows Mystery Series focuses on the theater and actors, there are a lot of stage tricks that imitate the paranormal. In the end, however, this cozy mystery does address the question “Do you believe in ghosts?” Bigger and more important themes are tackled as well in author Cindy Brown’s latest mystery: fake news, paparazzi, body image, jealousy, priorities, friendship, social media, scams and control.As a theatre buff I enjoyed reading about the trials of Ivy Meadows who attempts to eek out a living by combining the life of an actress with learning detecting skills from her P.I. uncle and mentor Bobby. We watch as Ivy juggles trying to find her missing friend Candy while working as an actress. She also finds time to maintain relationships with boyfriend Matt and mentally challenged brother Cody.The Phantom of Oz has a good mystery, interesting setting (the Grand Phoenician Theatre), and some wacky theatre types. My only criticism is that the thread of Cody’s desire to become an actor and his sudden willingness to drop the pursuit could have been developed more thoroughly. In general, however, this is a fun book that addresses some serious issues. I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Katrina Wiese
    2018-09-17 01:14

    This was my first introduction to not only Ivy Meadows, but also the author, Cindy Brown. I must say I was impressed with not only the story and mystery overall, but also the character development, the setting development and the underlying topic threaded throughout the story. I was very impressed with how the author incorporated the issue of body shaming and body positivity into The Phantom of OZ. Both issues were handled eloquently with an air of sensitivity and absolute seriousness. It was nice to see such hard topics handled so well, wrapped up in a cozy mystery to boot! And a mystery it was! I was left guessing right up until about the time that Ivy figured it out herself. I very much enjoyed my trip into the world of theater life and I gotta say, it is not for the faint of heart. This book is the fifth in the Ivy Meadows mystery series, however it can very much be read as a standalone. However like myself, I can guarantee that if you start with this one you will want to go back and read the rest, so you might as well one-click them all and start at the beginning.

  • Jannelies
    2018-08-27 21:01

    Thank you NetGalley for this book.I've read the first four books in this series so I was looking forward to this fifth one. I cannot help it but smile at the funny things the author does with texts and scenes from famous books and/or movies. Ivy is a little young and insecure but with every book she grows a little. And there lies the problem with this book. Ivy is still not a real PI. She still has boyfriend Matt. She is still a struggeling actress. Not much is happening in this story. Ivy solves the crime and that's it. No major changes.Cindy Brown is very good with words as it comes to really nice or really horrible people and this time I was not disappointed for both are present in this story. However, I hope that Ivy will grow up not a little but a lot in the next (few?) book(s), in order to keep the reader interested.

  • Christine
    2018-09-12 02:15

    I’ve always enjoyed the irreverent Ivy Meadows books, but I struggled with this one. For some reason it felt out of sorts and too scattered. Maybe with Ivy being sick through most of it and Candy trying to kill her self through diet pills caused it to seem off. Too bad because the other books in the series have been fun.

  • Darcysmom
    2018-09-15 01:24

    I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley and Henery Press for free in exchange for an honest review. The Phantom of Oz was a fantastic cozy mystery! The characters were well written and relatable. The mystery was strong. The themes of self acceptance and love in the face of immense societal pressure were timely and visible without being preachy.Ivy Meadows was a well developed main character with plenty of flaws. Her friends and family were likeable and fun. Although this is the fifth book in the series, I was able to thoroughly enjoy it without having read the previous novels. I have happily moved the previous Ivy Meadows novels to the top of my TBR list.

  • JoAnne McMaster (Any Good Book)
    2018-08-27 22:28

    Ivy Meadows is an actress and part-time PI in Phoenix, Arizona. One day she receives a call from her best friend Candy, who has moved to California to pursue her acting career. It seems she's in Phoenix touring with a roadshow of The Wizard: A Space Ozpera - a sort of The Wizard of Oz in outer space. While Ivy is excited that she's going to see Candy again, she's totally floored when she finally does.Candy isn't the same voluptuous woman she parted with: she's now razor thin to the point of emaciation, with dingy hair and grey teeth. In fact, it pretty much looks like Candy is doing some sort of drug and Ivy is sure she's killing herself. But she won't talk about it, and she doesn't want to spend a lot of time with Ivy. When Ivy visits the theater to watch rehearsal, she encounters a most unpleasant woman - Babette, who runs a reality show that 'discovers' new talent, and she thinks nothing of destroying others' dreams nor humiliating them in public. There's also someone else in the theater, but unseen: the ghost of a broken-hearted actress who killed herself after a tragic love, the Lady in White. She's been disrupting rehearsal, causing accidents, and while not everyone believes in her, enough do that the accidents are causing problems with the play. And Babette is making the most of it, using the media to tell everyone how the ghost is targeting her and trying to kill her.But it's not until after a particular incident when Candy disappears that Ivy begins to seriously worry about her friend and if something's happened to her. Surely it couldn't be a real ghost causing all these problems? What if it's something - or someone - more sinister, and why would they want Candy out of the way? But it's not until she receives a phone call from Arrestadt Giry - the director and Candy's boyfriend - wanting to hire her to locate her missing friend that she begins to worry in earnest. Then, when another tragedy befalls production and someone is murdered, Ivy is in a race against time to find and save Candy - but is it from an unseen force or herself?I have to tell you that I absolutely love the Ivy Meadows mysteries. They're smart, funny, suspenseful, and intelligently written. Ivy is no flaky miss who stumbles around in investigations. While she sometimes gets a slow start, she's on the ball: she asks questions, has a curious nature that propels her along, and doesn't walk head on into iffy situations (although she does sometimes go places I probably never would - like cobwebbed hallways). She's sharp and cute, and even though she sometimes has a lapse of judgment where her personal life is concerned, her heart is always in the right place.In this book, when Ivy goes to see Candy perform in The Wizard, she doesn't have a clue that things are about to change - not just Candy's physical and mental changes, but that her own life will change. She winds up as a temporary cast member (which could lead to a permanent job) who's taken over Candy's role when she disappears. While everyone is telling her Candy left on purpose Ivy's gut is telling her something else. It doesn't help that she develops a cold which can threaten her performances; her brother Cody has a secret that worries her - and she's keeping one from her boyfriend Matt; and her Uncle Bob is out of town on a romantic rendezvous with his girlfriend, so she's on her own, unless you count on the help of an unseen and possibly unworldly spirit.I found the book to start a little slow, but once it picked up it was quite intriguing and kept me reading in one sitting. Ivy is not only an extremely likable person, she surrounds herself with others who are also likable but quirky. I think this is what makes the series so much fun to read. Everyone has a little bit of strangeness in them, and it makes them human somehow. When we finally come to the end and the killer is discovered it is put together extremely well, believable and satisfying. Ms. Brown has written another suspenseful tale full of humor and enough twists and turns to keep one interested throughout. This is the fifth book in the series but can be read as a stand alone, and I look forward to the next in the series. Highly recommended.

  • Barbara Hackel
    2018-09-10 23:20

    Ivy Meadows is back! She is just finishing up a run of Shakespeare when her best friend Candy Moon comes to town playing the part of Glinda in a touring production of The Wizard: A Space OZpera. She barely has any time with her friend before she realizes something is majorly wrong. Candy's luscious locks are stringy clumps of hair, her complexion is bad, and her teeth are gray. What has happened to her beautiful friend? She is a very thin size 0 and looks unhealthy. If that isn't enough, the production has more problems than you could imagine. The theater they are using is very old and reputed to be haunted by the Lady in White. Is she the one who causes the chandelier in the auditorium to fall, landing ironically on the woman playing the part of the Wicked Witch? Or is it Babbette, Reality TV star and genuine bitch? So many things go wrong from costume malfunctions, to out of control Glinda bubble, to lights going off, and more. Fortunately Ivy is almost finished with her PI training, and is hired to look into the accidents at the theater. Then when Candy disappears and no one can find her, Ivy's work begins in earnest as she searches for her missing friend while solving a multitude of other mysterious events. Do you believe in ghosts? While many people don't, actors are especially tuned in to ghostly apparitions and spirit activities. This book addresses that basic question as it goes in every direction trying to solve every mysterious action in and around the theater. Kidnapping and murder, hidden tunnels, miniscule clues-they all revolve around a ghost. The author has woven that part of the story into so many aspects of the storyline that even a dedicated ghost lover started to feel it was possibly overdone...until the end and you knew it wasn't overdone at all.The large number of characters in this book cheated some of the main characters out of larger roles. People such as Ivy's brother, her boyfriend, and even her Uncle Bob seemed to only be in the story for short time. Ivy however really did a lot of self -evaluation and personal growth in this book.The book certainly was written with a true knowledge of theater productions and what everyone did to make the production a success. From personal experience and research, the facts were great. I really felt like I was at the theater and part of the production when Ivy was there. This realistic portrayal of the theater made the book richer and more interesting. The series is a fun one, and this particular book was a great addition.

  • Kathy
    2018-09-08 22:14

    In this book, Ivy Meadows, not-yet-world-famous actress and soon-to-be PI, confronts mysterious happenings at the Grand Phoenician Theatre, where the road show, The Wizard: A Space OZpera, is playing. Ivy’s best friend Candy has a role in the play, so Ivy connects with her. However, Ivy soon finds that her friend is living with secrets and is not telling her anything about them or either what is going on. Soon, accidents that involve the play cast begin to happen, and Ivy, along with others among the crew and stage hands, begin to question whether something nefarious is going on or whether someone is trying to sabotage the production. Next, Ivy’s friend Candy mysteriously disappears and is not heard from for days, while Ivy begins searching for her. In addition, Ivy is cast as Candy’s replacement in the play, with little time to prepare or rehearse before production occurs, all the while suffering through a bad cold. To complicate matters, a well-known reality show hostess is killed. Needless to say, Ivy becomes completely mixed up in all of this, searching for Candy, while trying to figure out what happened to the dead hostess.This is the first book I have read in this series, but not having read any of the others did not hinder my reading, as this is good stand-alone book. However, there were just too many incidents and characters, some small but some quite important/eventful, that kept cropping up to allow me to focus on the story. I realize the road show cast and stage hands comprise a large group, but there were almost too many people and incidents figuring into this story. Thus, for me, the story came across as jumbled and not as smooth as I thought it could have been. One of the play’s munchkin junior actors, in addition, seemed to be everywhere, regardless what was happening, making comments and discussing ideas that often seemed beyond her years or legitimate interest/involvement. Finally, I thought it interesting that the main sleuth was not a fully-fledged, certified PI, who just jumped in as if she had been doing the job for years, with minimal problems. If you enjoyed the other books in the series, you will probably enjoy this one. I received this from NetGalley to read and review.

  • Floyd
    2018-09-10 21:24

    A mixture of humor, history, psychology, and self-reflection, Phantom of OZ is a murder mystery with a heaping dose of self-help on the side. As I read the first chapter, I was a bit skeptical - a seance does not sound like an interesting topic to read for this reader. But the seance was quickly dropped and moved on to the disappearance of the best friend of Ivy Meadows, the primary antagonist. A friendly ghost does make an appearance - but she is more like Casper than Morley. I enjoyed the way the author wove the theater into the story - though it was more figuratively than literal. Chapter titles are drawn from Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera. The story centers on the cast members performing a remake of The Wizard of OZ set in outer space. Many of the expected characters are there, though they are somewhat creepier - and at least one of them is a murderer. And then there is the kidnapping. Ivy Meadows and her new friends are willing to put their own lives on the line to solve the puzzle and save the life of Candace Moon.In the midst of all this, the author weaves a secondary story focusing on the issues of body image, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia. The story explores the roots of these diseases and approaches needed for their care. At the same time, the author recognizes that solutions are not easy and not always certain. These themes are addressed simply but clearly, helping those not familiar with the underlying issues to better understand the lives of those struggling with their self-image and their dietary decisions.The Phantom of OZ is a fun read and a good contribution to the Ivy Meadows series coming from the author. For the reader looking for some lighter reading providing some insight to some darker issues, Phantom might be a good choice for a weekends reading._____________This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions are mine alone.

  • Laura
    2018-09-10 23:10

    Ivy Meadows, actress and almost private-investigator, is at it again. In the fifth installment in the series, The Phantom of Oz by Cindy Brown, Ivy gets word that her close friend Candace Moon is going to be in town performing a space opera version of the Wizard of Oz. But, Candy isn't looking like her usual vibrant, voluptuous self. It looks like she's developed an eating disorder or an addiction to diet pills or perhaps both. A chandelier drops on some of the cast during a rehearsal. Then Candy up and disappears. Babette, the wicked witch who is auditioning the munchkins, doesn't seem too concerned. Candy's boyfriend hires Ivy to find Candy. Meanwhile, accidents continue to plague the production. People begin to wonder if the rumored theater ghost is real.There are really 3 mysteries in this book. The first is about the accidents plaguing the production. The second is where has Candy gone? And the third is a murder mystery. Cindy Brown handles them all well. Entwined within the mysteries is a theme of body image and how mean people can be to those that differ from their ideal especially perhaps in the theater/film crowd. Ms. Brown promotes the idea of a healthy body image using the costumer for the company. The mysteries are well-written. They all kept my attention. One scene has Ivy down in a room with a pool of water of unknown depth looking for Candace. The suspense and tension of the scene were such that I had trouble reading what happens even knowing that the heroine will most likely be okay in the end. It might not be a long scene, but it's definitely one that shows the talent the author has for creating suspense. Overall I give this mystery 4 stars out of 5. It's well-written. The characters are believable. The mysteries are suspenseful and resolved well. I liked the theme of body image woven into the story. It's an important and timely topic. I was able to read and enjoy this book without having read the earlier books in the series. I liked the story and writing enough to look into them at a future date though. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions herein are my own and freely given.

  • Marilyn Watson
    2018-09-17 23:03

    Cindy Brown writes a fun, clever little mystery. Her zingy Heroine works for her P.I. Uncle but Olive/Ivy is also a theater actress who works in plays and auditions. The fun begins when Candy Treat calls Ivy and asks her to meet her backstage at the famous old Deco Playhouse,The Grand Phoenician. Candy is working in The Wizard:A Space OZpera. Ivy gets hired for an understudy, as a series of incidents happen, that land one cast member in the hospital. The Lady in White, who is the resident ghost, is blamed for most of the accidents that happen. But a ghost doesn't loosen screws on a chandelier do they?The Theater is also rife with competition and ugly scenes from Babette, the Star of The It Girl. She is hunting for her new hopeful Actress, who turns out to be Candy. Olive is worried about her friend, who has been hiding secrets, and lying to her. The play is loaded with children munchkins both playing a part and trying to meet people to further their Careers. In amidst the constant activity are barbed remarks from Babette. The mix of people with jealousies, ambition and protective stage mothers furthers the plot. Add in creepy underground sets and a well- the Lady in White drowned herself in, and you have a fantastic blend of characters and plot.I laughed out loud several times reading this book. It is hard to pull off wit and mystery but Cindy Brown does both very well. Ivy is likeable and the cast of characters in the play are unique. I admit to a penchant for Theater Mysteries. This one has everything. A very enjoyable read and I look forward to the next one. I gave it five stars.

  • Angela Jett
    2018-09-21 02:24

    4 starsIvy Meadows’s best friend Candy Moon is in town, Phoenix, performing in The Wizard: A Space OZpera, a touring production that is a spin on the traditional Wizard of Oz but done in space. Candy had moved to LA several years ago to focus on pursuing her acting career and Ivy is excited to reconnect as she hasn’t seen or heard from her friend since her move. When Ivy catches up with Candy at the theater during a rehearsal she is surprised in the drastic change in her friend – she has lost a lot of weight and is a dull image of her former vibrant self. When Ivy tries to get Ivy one on one to find out what is really going on, Candy is elusive and cuts their conversation short. Ivy quickly realizes something is wrong with Candy and that she either has an eating disorder or is taking drugs or a combination of both. Ivy finds out that Candy has been selected by the infamous Babette Firman to be her next star of her reality show, “It Girl”. Candy wants to discuss this with Ivy, but before she can, Ivy disappears. Candy’s boyfriend, who is also the director of the play, hires Ivy to investigate.In addition to all this the production seems to be jinxed by accidents. Theater people and actors being highly superstitious, this intensifies the mood around the theater.Even though the title might indicate the story is focused on ghosts, the real story here is about friendship and relationships. The murder mystery is interesting and, yes, there is a ghost. There are also multiple side stories including one about body image and how a person perceives “beautiful” in oneself and in others.This fifth installment of Ivy Meadows is the first I have read. Definitely quirky! And a lot of fun. The characters are believable and the mysteries keep you invested in the story. The human stories around relationships and body image were also impactful. I especially liked the fact that the author made Ivy sick for a portion of the story – made the character and her situation even more real. This was an enjoyable read.Thank you NetGalley and publisher, Henery Press, for the opportunity to read this ARC.

  • Stacy McCain
    2018-08-25 22:15

    It's no secret that I enjoy remakes of classic novels. If you combine the wit of a good chick lit book with a solid mystery and throw in a tie to a classic, I'm going to take the bait every time. THE PHANTOM OF OZ is the 5th installment of Cindy Brown's series, which follows Ivy Meadows as she blends her life as an actress with her aspirations of being a PI. In this novel, she ties the story to Phantom of the Opera with some Wizard of Oz thrown in. I loved the addition of the Lady in White to the mix - a little ghost work in my books is even better. Brown is playful with Ivy when she writes, putting her in situations that make you laugh and make Ivy laugh at herself. The chapters are quick. We get more time with Cody in this installment and I think that Ivy has some adult revelations in this one courtesy of Eden and Matt. I get submerged in these novels and one of these times I'm going to guess whodunit before the end. Just an enjoyable read in a very enjoyable series. If you haven't started this series, definitely pick up the first one and see what you think. If you have read the series, this one won't disappoint.I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  • Laura Reading
    2018-09-03 23:24

    Part cozy mystery, part behind the scenes, and 100% about friendship.There is so much in this story that will appeal to book clubs. Thankfully the author includes some discussion topics at the end of the book. With its discussion about body image and body shaming and more, this is a very timely novel. And if you could care less about social issues, this is a wonderful mystery and action packed adventure. Plus we get Toto and the Lady in White!The plot moved at a decent pace, but this was not a quick read. There is so much here to devour and absorb. A theatre production, a haunted showhouse, real, engineered or imagined accidents, and more than one wicked witch. Anyone who has ever participated in theatre, on any level or in any capacity, will enjoy this series. As mentioned, this is about friendship, the ups, downs, misunderstandings, and tested strength. How well do we know people around us? Who can be trusted? What are we teaching our children by example?Ivy Meadows is in a state of transition and figuring out where her life is headed. Does she want to be a P.I. or should she take her shot with a nationally recognized touring company? Follow along and see how she deals with what life throws at her!

  • Jennifer Ritter
    2018-09-14 21:59

    The Phantom of Oz is the fifth book in the Ivy Meadows Mystery Series by Cindy Brown. In this story, Ivy, actress and part time PI (or is it the other way around?) is faced with unraveling the disappearance of her best friend, Candy, as well as a torrent of her own emotions and thoughts.Candy moved to LA a few years back to pursue her acting career and is now back in Phoenix with the touring company of The Wizard: A Space OZpera. However, she did not contact Ivy until she was in town, and then she is sketchy, vague, and noncommittal. When they are able to get together, Ivy is appalled by the change in Candy's appearance. She is cadaver thin, her eyes sunken, her hair limp and dull, even her teeth look gray. What is she doing to herself?Then Ivy learns Candy is Babette Firman's new It Girl for the reality show of the same name, but before Ivy can ask Candy about it, she mysteriously disappears. As the mystery unfolds, Ivy learns more about herself than she does about her friend, that is until there is a death and the mystery escalates. Another well written Ivy Meadows mystery, but this one has even more personal depth than the previous ones and will lead you to multiple conclusions. I did enjoy this book and do recommend it.

  • Annie
    2018-09-23 22:59

    I think this series just gets better with each release. Varied pacing, clean dialogue, and a clear storyline/mystery combine for a really fun evening. Or two. One thing I really enjoy about Ms. Brown’s stories is that she knows dialogue. And comic timing. Without plonking us over the head, we are gifted with throwaway lines and asides that are just plain funny. But not overdone. The entire story is flavored with the central character’s wit and charm, and we “see” things through the eyes of Ivy Meadows. Consistently. This particular book gives us more of Cody and his relationship with sister Ivy. I was hoping for that, and Ms. Brown delivered. I also enjoyed the thematic elements of body shaming, strained friendships, and agencies in power taking advantage of others. And finding new friends where you least expect. While those themes are throughout the story, I never felt the delivery was heavy handed or overdone. There was so much fun going on that I’m trusted to gather themes on my own. And while it’s true that starting from the first book (see below) is a good idea, you can dive right in to this one. I highly recommend this book for a fun night of reading, smiles, chuckles, and a cozy good time. Rough week? You’ll definitely feel better with this good medicine.

  • Rosemary K
    2018-09-25 20:59

    Ivy is happy to hear from her best friend, Candy. Little does she know that her life will be turned upside down. A phantom is playing havoc with the cast and crew of the show that Candy is starring in. Why is the ghostly Lady in White bedeviling them? Or is someone else responsible? Luckily Ivy Meadows is a PI as well as actress. What happens next is a wild ride filled with a murdered reality star who's hated by everyone, a ghostly presence and missing best friend. I'm glad Ivy is up to the challenge. I liked her. She's a real woman with real problems but she doesn't let that stop her. I also liked Logan, the techie, Madison, the Munchkin but most of all I liked Eden. The message that she deliveres about being comfortable in your body is powerful and timely. Cindy Brown has written a mystery filled with unexpected twists that kept me on the edge of my seat. The dialogue is sharp and humorous. I loved the setting. It's in a haunted theater with secret passages. I really enjoy the Ivy Meadows mysteries.I received a copy of this book which I voluntarily read and reviewed. My comments are my honest opinion.

  • Homerun2
    2018-09-19 18:17

    3.5 starsThe Ivy Meadows series is an interesting combo of light-hearted escapades interspersed with some reality checks. Ivy is an aspiring actress AND a private investigator in training. She has a younger brother who is developmentally disabled and their interaction is one of the most rewarding parts of the books.Ivy's best friend Candy is appearing in a bizarre adaptation of the Wizard of Oz. She and Ivy have kind of lost touch, and Ivy is shocked to see her formerly vivacious friend reduced to a grayish shell due to eating disorders. The production is plagued with problems and soon Ivy becomes embroiled in trying to find Candy, who has disappeared, and to hunt for a backstage killer .Yes, the plot is preposterous but Ivy is a nicely drawn character with some depth and her musings on female body image ring true. Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  • Kay Hudson
    2018-09-24 20:15

    Cindy Brown's The Phantom of Oz is another fun theatrical mystery, this one set in an elegant old theater haunted by the Lady in White. Ivy Meadows is a hardworking young actress who also works for her Uncle Bob's PI firm (Duda Detectives), so naturally when her best friend, Candy, disappears from the touring company of The Wizard: A Space OZpera Ivy dives in to investigate, landing herself an understudy role with the company in the process. Props include spaceships and Trekian costumes, and the cast includes munchkins and flying monkeys (played by children ranging from adorable to creepy), a famous director, a toxic reality star, a costume mistress who might be a witch, and Toto. Misunderstandings with her boyfriend and her brother only make Ivy's life more complicated, not to mention the wardrobe mistress' well-intentioned cold remedies. I love this series, with its madly scrambled theatrical productions and hilariously close-but-not-quite-there movie titles.

  • Lynne
    2018-09-18 22:09

    This was a fun book. Ivy/Olive is a bit eccentric. She talks to herself a lot and stumbles through her investigation. However, she really does try to improve herself and be a kinder, gentler person. The book also brings serious topics into play, but not in a force it down your throat kind of way. She and an old friend come together again. But the relationship is strained. Also there are weird things happening around a "haunted" theater where her friend (Candy) is performing. There are many suspects, but they all seem so nice (except for the victim), so I wasn't sure who the murderer would be. I enjoyed Ivy and her family and friends. I would read another book by this author. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my review.