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Retro Reading: Dead Man Waltzing by Ella Barrick

Updated on May 13, 2022
Dead Man Waltzing
Dead Man Waltzing

Tell All from the Grave Leads to Murder

Everyone loves to read about the famous' dirty laundry, but before the ink dried on Corinne Blakely's tell all book regarding her time in the ballroom dance world, she didn't think she'd become a victim of murder.

And this is how the second installment of Ella Barrick's ballroom mysteries begins.

In Dead Man Waltzing Stacy Graysin's dance instructor, Maurice Goldberg, was having lunch with Corinne when she keeled over at the table. Now Stacy's studio, Graysin Motion will undoubtedly get more negative publicity, something she can't afford.

What makes this installment so exceptional from a lot of mysteries I've reviewed in the past is we never meet the deceased. She's coming at us from the grave while the short list of suspects try to find Corinne's tell-all manuscript. Not everyone will be happy as secrets are revealed and lives could potentially be harmed. This sure was one great way to keep a story fresh and exciting.

While Stacy intends to clear Maurice's good name (but is it really that good?) she learns from Blakely's housekeeper that Corinne "only wrote the outline to the book, and was constantly updating it." Does the manuscript exist is what Stacy needs to find out and along the way, she inadvertently lets it slip that she has the manuscript and will be delivering it directly to the publisher.

With this little white lie out in the open, Stacy sets herself up for a break in at her home and while on a fundraising cruise for abused women, she finds herself pushed overboard into the murky Potomac River one the boat docks. It could have been worse had the cruise not been canceled shortly after the weather took a turn for the worse.

During her investigation, she discovers that Maurice (second out of six husbands to Corinne) doesn't have the perfect past that she thinks he has. She knew he was a paid dancer on a cruise line, but a thief and a gigolo? It's something she can't grasp.

Once she obtains a copy of the manuscript she discovers who the actual murderer is. She thinks the police should know but they've already drawn their own conclusions.

Barrick (a pseudonym for Laura DiSilverio author of the Mall Cop Mysteries) expands the characters in this installment. She gives us more character development on Stacy's new dance partner, Vitaly Voloshin, her sister Danielle and of course Maurice. She does stay away from too much interaction between Detective Lissy, and turns up the heat a bit on what could be a budding relationship between Tav Acosta (her murdered fiance's half brother and now co-owner of the dance studio).

The one thing that I give Barrick/DiSilverio a lot of credit on is there is one scene in which I felt connected to one of the characters. I'm not sure why, but it had to be the first time that I had ever connected to a fictional character. It was the most poignant piece of writing I had ever read.

So during the downtime of Dancing with the Stars waltz into you favorite bookstore and get hooked on the Ballroom Dance Mysteries. You'll be glad you did!


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