Fiona Quinn whipped her blue and white Mini Cooper into the tight corner parking space that no SUV or full-size sedans would dare attempt. Her lips curled into a smile because she had scored a spot on the second level of the parking garage a little more than a block from the Benedum Center located in downtown Pittsburgh.
Thirty minutes ahead of schedule, she lay her head back against the rest to listen to the overture from the classic ballet, Coppelia, filtering from the CD player. It was her favorite ballet, and she had been waiting, not so patiently, for months to see it.
Coppelia was the enchanting story of an old inventor named Dr. Coppelius who created beautiful, life-like dolls in his shop. His most elegant creation was a doll named Coppelia and he adored her so. Each day, he'd display his exquisite invention on the balcony of his shop, intriguing all the townspeople. They would try and try to get Coppelia's attention, to no avail. The girl would simply sit on the balcony, supposedly reading her book, ignoring everyone. Like the townsfolk, Franz, who is engaged to Swanhilda, believes she is a real girl. He falls helplessly in love with the mysterious maiden. Swanhilda becomes enraged and sets out to prove that Coppelia is nothing more than a fake.
Murder on Pointe
A Fiona Quinn Mystery
By C. S. McDonald
McDonald may be a prolific writer these days, but for 26 years, she was a professional dancer and choreographer. And you can certainly experience her expertise in her Debut series starring Fiona Quinn! It's been years since I've attended an event at the Benedum Center, but it has the traditional fairy tale beauty of concert halls that really is unlike any other place... And once the event starts, you are indeed carried away into the fairy tale being presented on stage.
Fiona had been hurt many years ago and had to stop dancing. She had become a teacher and was quite happy working with the children. But her best friend was playing a lead in Coppelia and she wouldn't miss it for the world!
Silja pulled the silver pashmina scarf from around her neck as she opened the dressing room door only to come to an abrupt half. Her body tensed, while she gasped at something inside the room.
"What is it, Silja? What wrong?"
Hesitantly, Silja stepped through the door. She whispered, "Alexis..." but the blonde ballerina didn't respond. Her upper body lay slumped over the surface of the lighted vanity, motionless. While Fiona peered over her shoulder, Silja approached her friend with slow deliberate steps. "Alexis...are you all right?"
Fiona squeezed Silja's shoulder. "You don't think she's..."
Fiona had come to meet Silja and then go on to lunch with her afterwards...But they never left the Benedum Center. When they had gone into the dressing room so Silja could change, they found Alexis, one of the dancers...dead... She played a lead role!
Soon the police were involved and I'll add right away that Fiona was immediately attracted to the lead investigator. So readers will enjoy the subtle interactions of these two. It's a nice, flirtation that lightens the tone of a murder mystery... And to continue on that thought, this book is quite suitable for tweens, teens through adults... For passionate teenage ballet students this should be highly considered as, perhaps, a gift...
Personally I enjoyed it as a favorite--music, murder mystery, plus the experienced dancer/writer's knowledge of the dance and the theatre and the background activities of rehearsals and planning for scene changes that added greatly to the book's setting....especially when a murder takes away a lead dancer!
But then I happily enjoyed the twist brought about by Detective Nathan Landry...when he learned of Fiona's dance background, he asked her to take a part and work undercover for the police! Cool, right?! But Fiona was scared--she hadn't danced for years and even though she'd continue to be active, even taking zumba classes, she hadn't been on pointe since she'd been hurt. And she was being asked to play Coppelia! Of course, that was a good choice since most of the time she was sitting reading, but... (by the way, I chose this particular variation just because it was soooo cute and I enjoyed it so much!)
So there I was, carefully picking up clues, and then forgetting some, LOL, until I was pretty sure whodunit...But, I noticed the book was still quite long, so something had to happen to keep it going! Yes, another murder! Of another lead dancer! Yikes! is Fiona moving toward danger?!
You got it...I didn't solve the murder mysteries...totally... And that makes me happy because McDonald keeps readers guessing and second-guessing... And now my guess is that most readers will only know what happened when they finish reading the book...
And, I'm still guessing! Is Fiona going to go back into professional dancing? Is a real romance going to blossom between Fiona and Nathan? Will the series stay in Pittsburgh, which is a town I've visited many times and thus recognize many of the local attractions?
If you can stand on pointe, this is a must-read. But it's still highly recommended for all the rest of us...LOL
A totally, enjoyable quick read that pulls you in from first to last page! Kudos for this Debut!
C.S. McDonald taught dance for twenty-six years. She resides with her husband and her Cocker Spaniel, Allister, on their Thoroughbred farm Fly-by-Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. George the Pony is a real pony who lives among the tall Thoroughbreds on their farm. Most recently Ms. McDonald decided to write a cozy mystery series. The Fiona Quinn Mysteries are quick clean reads for everyone! You'll love Fiona, a kindergarten teacher and an unlikely sleuth from Pittsburgh. If you've never been to Pittsburgh, welcome to this wonderful city! Ms. McDonald has even sprinkled a little Pittsburghese into her stories just for fun. To learn more about C.S. McDonald, George, and her cozy mystery series, Fiona Quinn Mysteries, please visit her website at: www.csmcdonaldbooks.com