About Ballistics at the Ballet
Ballistics at the Ballet (A Musical Murder Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Colorado
Camel Press (September 14, 2022)
Paperback : 248 pages
ISBN-10 : 1684920329
ISBN-13 : 978-1684920327
Digital ASIN : B09X3M6ZVL
When temperamental conductor Felix Underhayes is killed before a rehearsal of the Nutcracker ballet, everyone realizes the show must go on. At an already crazy time of year, things become more complicated when Emily Wilson’s nephew, percussionist Charlie McRae, is accused of the crime. Emily’s sister, Kathleen, and their mother arrive to help prove Charlie’s innocence, but in spite of their best intentions, their efforts do more to hinder the police investigation than to help. To secure justice for her nephew, can Emily juggle performances and family dynamics, while she dodges a demented killer who wants to silence her?
As I opened the stage door, I heard Felix shout, “No!” followed quickly by a shot. My ears rang with the sound. It had to have been close…
A few fraught seconds later the exit door slammed, the ensuing silence broken only by Felix’s moaning. I decided the threat had gone and moved across the entry and down the hallway, toward Felix’s dressing room.
The prima ballerina’s door was closed. Next to it, the premier danseur emerged from his dressing room. “What’s happening?”
“I don’t know.” I crept cautiously forward, the dancer following.
The next door, Felix’s, stood open. He lay on the floor, groaning. And bleeding.
The danseur turned ashen and his chin trembled. “What . . . what . . .”
I spotted a cummerbund hung over a chair. “Take that cummerbund and press it over the wound on Felix’s chest. I’ll call 911.”
I pulled the phone from my pocket. “Send an ambulance and police to Fleisher Hall. A man’s been shot.”
The danseur knelt on one side of Felix, pressing the cummerbund to the conductor’s chest. I knelt on the other, holding Felix’s outstretched arm, his hand in mine. “It’s okay.” I tried to reassure him. “Help will be here soon.”
Felix whispered, “Tell her she’s the only one . . .”
Emily Wilson is preparing for the annual performance of The Nutcracker. She didn’t expect to be investigating a murder and trying to clear the name of her nephew Charlie. But when difficult conductor Felix Underhayes is found dead at the concert hall before a rehearsal, that’s exactly what she ends up doing. The police seem convinced that Charlie is their killer, but Emily can’t buy that
This is a delightful cozy mystery! B. J. Bowen gives us a fascinating look at the world of orchestra and theater and what all goes into a musical production, served up with a side of murder.
Emily is a likeable protagonist, as is her roommate KC. The other characters are all portrayed realistically, and the interactions between Emily’s sister (and the mother of the accused) Kathleen and the seemingly gruff detective in charge of the investigation are quite entertaining. I can imagine the awkwardness in realizing the woman you find attractive is the mother of your prime murder suspect!
There were ample distractions and digressions to keep me guessing as to the killer’s identity. Bowen did a great job of building up to the big reveal.
The attracttion between Emily and her lawyer, Barry, is sweet and realistic. I can’t wait to read more in this series to see where things between them go. And I hope we see more of Kathleen and the detective, too. Kathleen is moving to Monroe, so maybe…?
If you’re looking for a Christmas cozy that lets you peek behind the theatrical curtain and gives you characters you can cheer for, you’ll want to read Ballistics at the Ballet!
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About B.J. Bowen
B.J. Bowen is a musician and free-lance writer whose love of music was awakened by her mother, who played the flute. After discovering her lips were the wrong shape and failing miserably as a flute player, at the age of eleven Ms. Bowen began studying oboe, and has since performed and recorded on both oboe and English horn with professional symphonies and chamber groups throughout Mexico and Colorado. Her inspirational articles have appeared in Unity Magazine and Daily Word, and she won Honorable Mention in the 2018 Focus: Eddy Awards for her article, “Letting Go with Grace,” published in Unity Magazine. Drawing on her quirky fellow musicians and orchestral experiences, she created the mystery series, “Musical Murders.” She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with two canine friends, and has a song for any occasion.