Who wants a beautiful crimson gown with a bad reputation? Everybody!

Seeking inspiration for her Crimes of Fashion column, Lacey Smithsonian attends the D.C. theatre world’s annual garage sale, but things at the prop-and-costume bazaar don’t go quite according to script. All because of the tantalizing, ruffled, ruby-red frock from a Russian émigré theatre. It was famously worn in a production of The Masque of the Red Death by the actress who played Death–and who died on closing night.

Under the crimson costume’s spell, Lacey’s fellow reporter LaToya Crawford practically comes to blows with another woman. But LaToya suffers a bad case of buyer’s remorse and shoves it into Lacey’s hands for safekeeping. Can Lacey with her ExtraFashionary Perception divine whether the dress is safe to wear?

Safe? This gown is not safe to even hang in the closet, much less to wear. Assaults, burglary and murder follow it wherever it goes. This is one garnet-hued garment with secrets and someone wants it enough to kill for it. Lacey’s conspiracy-crazed friend Brooke Barton is convinced that Russian spies must be afoot. The theatre is a world of illusion, and spycraft and stagecraft have much in common with it.

Shadows and deceptions lead Lacey and the red dress into a macabre dance with an assassin—and a masquerade with death.


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