Friday, February 6, 2015

Swan Dive (An Elliott Lisbon Mystery #3)

Author:  Kendel Lynn
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars

It's opening night at the Ballantyne Foundation’s production of The Nutcracker, but it’s curtains for the Sugar Plum Fairy. When her body is found backstage, fatally poisoned by a cupcake she baked herself, rumors turn to suicide. But Elli Lisbon, director of the Ballantyne and coordinator of the ballet, smells something rotten amidst the sugar and spice.

As Elli applies her PI-in-training skills on the troupe of suspects, she discovers an eccentric herbalist, a temperamental chef, a stalking choreographer, and a bevy of backstage secrets. Between her off-the-record investigation, duty as director of the Ballantyne and highly-charged love life, she finds herself caught in a dance to keep one pirouette ahead of a half-baked killer.


Elliott Lisbon, Director of the Ballantyne Foundation, is at their production of The Nutcracker when she is called backstage.  It seems the Sugar Plum Fairy of the production is dead, apparently from an accidental poisoning.  But Elliott, of course, doesn't believe it, and is asked by the Ballantynes to find the killer.  However, this doesn't sit well with Elliott's ex-boyfriend, Detective Nick Ransom, who wants her to stay out of the investigation, and tries to convince her the death was nothing more than a terrible accident, caused when Lexie inadvertently used a poisonous ingredient when she baked the deadly food.

But Elliott is having none of it.  Lexie was only nineteen and had plans for her life, which has convinced Elliott she was murdered; so under the blessing of her employers, she is determined to find out the truth.  But finding the truth is turning out to a lot more difficult, when nothing around her is exactly what it appears to be, and secrets abound regarding almost everyone she speaks with.  As the book progresses, we are party to those secrets, and drawn deeper into a mystery of why was this young girl killed, and who could have hated her enough to do such a thing?

I'm loath to say more, because I feel that this would be giving away too much of the book, but let me tell you that this is definitely very good.  Elliott is an intelligent woman (although her eating habits are not the best, in my opinion) who is training to become a private investigator, has a fairly demanding job and is beginning to date her friend Matty while still on the fence about her ex-love Nick.  She doesn't take unnecessary chances, or stupidly blunder into situations where she has no control.  I like that, which is probably why I enjoyed the book - that, and the fact that it takes place at Christmas, another one of those things I really love...

What I don't like is Jane.  She appears to not like Elliott for some reason, and got downright nasty with her, something a professional should not have done, regardless of the situation.  That alone was enough to make me dislike her.  We are also told that Elliott doesn't eat seafood (which is odd to me because I'd live on the stuff if I could), but we are not told why.  I would have liked to have known this (I haven't yet read the first in the series but it appears I may have to in order to get an answer to this question.)  Aside from these two things, the rest of the book flowed smoothly along, giving me a chance to sit down and dig deep into the mystery right along with Elliott.  All in all, an enjoyable mystery that is highly recommended.

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Dance of the Scarecrows (A Jonathan Wilder Mystery #1)

Author:  Ray Sipherd Genre:   Mystery Hardcover; Paperback; ISBN #:  9780312143060; 9780373262878 Worldwide Mystery 252 Pages Various...