This book is different from others in the series. This is evident starting with the author’s forward, not from Laurie King, but from Mary Russell. In it, she warns that the events of the manuscript my seem incredible, and suggests that the reader can disregard the events. I presume this means the events in this book will not be referenced in future books.
The first portion of the book adds to the confusion. The story is about a director making a film about an acting troupe that is producing The Pirates of Penzance, and during the play, they have an encounter with real pirates. So, we have actors playing actors playing actors, actors playing pirates, actors playing actors playing pirates, producer, actor playing producer, and more confusion.
Laurie King does sort this out early and gets on with the plot. sort of. the mystery never really develops much, the book is more an adventure of the actors, and Mary’s adventures with the troupe.
The book is fun and witty. It stands on its own within the series, it isn’t necessary to know the characters or events from earlier books. Too much is left unexplained to make a good mystery, but does make a good adventure story.