Quickstep to Murder: A Ballroom Dance Mystery
by Ella Barrick
Review by Mel Jacob
Signet Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780451234544
Date: 06 September 2011 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Barrick's new series, Ballroom Dance Mysteries, starts with Quick Step to Murder. It follows dancer and studio owner Stacy Graysin as she tries to keep her dance studio going, prepare herself and students for a competition, and solve the murder of her ex-fiancÚ and co-owner of the studio, Rafe Acosta. A magnet for women, the handsome Acosta has lately been looking for money, a lot of money.
Argentinean born Rafe is a magnet for women. He became an ex because Stacy found him doing a horizontal mambo with slinky Solange Dubonnet sans clothing. Unfortunately, they still had to work together and prepare for an international competition in Blackpool. They need the prize money and the cachet of winning.
Stacy, strapped for cash, can't afford to buy out Rafe. She toys with asking her Uncle Nico for help, but hesitates because of fears of what he might ask in return. Rumor has it he might have mob ties. Then Rafe is killed in the ballroom of the dance studio and the police suspect Stacy. She needs Nico's help regardless of what he wants in return.
A high-powered congresswoman pressures Stacy to find her a new dance partner so she can win the pro-am competition. She insists Stacy help recover an incriminating thumb drive she left at Rafe's condo. She implies that the drive has evidence that he bribed dance judges. If true, that could destroy Stacy's standing and the studio.
Before Rafe's death, Stacy saw a black limo with diplomatic plates parked across from the studio. Now she wonders if the person in it was the reason he needed money or if that person might have killed Rafe.
Barrick manages to keep Stacy in trouble and forced to find the killer. She provides enough motives and suspects to keep the pages turning. It follows a number of other mysteries featuring women with various businesses like: Laura Childs's Tea Shop Mysteries or Amanda Lee's Embroidery Mysteries. Another Ballroom Dance Mystery, Dead Man Waltzing, is scheduled for June 2012.