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Dead Man Waltzing by Ella Barrick -Review

Updated on January 25, 2014


Anastasia Graysin, nicknamed Stacy, is a professional ballroom dancer and dance instructor, as well as the owner of Grasin Motion dance studio in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Maurice Goldberg is an instructor in her studio who had previously worked as a dance host on cruise ships. While Maurice is having lunch with Corinne Blakely, a famous former champion, teacher, judge and competition organizer in the ballroom dance industry, she mysteriously drops dead. Detective Lissy shows up at Stacy's home looking for Maurice. The detective wants to talk with him in connection with Corinne Blakely's death.

Soon Maurice is arrested for the murder of Corinne Blakely. Stacy puts him in touch with a good lawyer and, not satisfied with Detective Lissy's investigation, begins her own search for who really murdered Corinne. She knows it couild not have been Maurice, despite the "evidence" Detective Lissy has.

The rest of this book chronicles the investigation Stacy has undertaken to find Corinne's killer.


For me, a great mystery novel will hold my attention from beginning to end, so that I can not put it down until I have finished reading it. I also appreciate a novel when I cannot figure out "who did it" before the author gets to that point in the story.

This is Ella Barrick's second ballroom dancing mystery, but the first one I have read. Her knowledge of the ballroom dancing industry is evident to me, since I am also a long-time ballroom dancer. While I immediately understood what was happening from the ballroom dancer's perspective, Ms. Barrick did a great job of explaining terms for non-dancers who will read the book

The book started out slowly and I did not appreciate it immediately, especially since I did not see how a cruise ship dance host could possibly know a famous judge like Corinne Blakely. In this respect, Dead Man Waltzing did not meet my criterion of holding my attention from beginning to end of the novel. I continued reading and the connection between Maurice and Corinne was later explained. As Stacy's investigation into who murdered Corinne Blakely went on, the story line became more interesting to me. I really like the character, Stacy. Her attempts to find the killer add an air of danger and some humor to the novel. I must admit, I was not able to guess who the murderer was until it was revealed in the book.

I would definitely recommend this book to mystery lovers who are interested in ballroom dancing, though it may not be of interest to all mystery fans.

My Rating

3 stars for Dead Man Waltzing

The Novels of Ella Barrick

Year Published
Quickstep to Murder
Dead Man Waltzing
The Homicide Hustle

History of the Waltz

In the late 1700's, the Waltz appeared as a fashionable dance in Bohemia, Austria, Bavaria and other parts of Europe. Danced in 3/4 timing, the dancers whirl around the floor enjoying the thrill of the Waltz movement.


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