A deceptively comfortable mystery thriller that packs a hefty punch Stage Business is a good reminder of how very satisfying a well-written novel can still be. Like many books in the genre it's allure depends on its surprises whilst its delight grows out of the characteristics of its protagonist and here Fostaty has it perfectly pitched. Novels like Stage Business often forget to pay attention to the human nature of their characters but Fostaty injects a certain edge which serves him well with enough narrative twists and the kind of refined plot that regularly confounds our expectations and keeps us guessing as to how it will end. On this level, it's vivid and immediately engaging with readers being left in no doubt that behind the devices of pen and paper resides a finely honed wit. This is most evident in Fostaty's dialogue which excels beyond the norm and fully captures the essence of people trying to reveal or conceal themselves in his chosen setting and it all makes for a delightful page-turner. But there is also a serious thread that is hard to ignore, and when all of the threads are pulled together we are reminded that no matter which side of the stage we find ourselves we are all prone to the daily posturing, self-doubt and failings that colour our lives.