Friday, December 05, 2014

Review: The Dancing Detective by A N Widdecombe

The Dancing Detective by A N Widdecombe, July 2014, 266 pages, CreateSpace, ISBN: 1500247626

Reviewed by Susan White.
(Read more of Susan's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

The dance programme, Lively Toes, is a great favourite with the TV viewers who have their favourite professional dancers and celebrity partners. However, when one of the professional dancers, Jess Allward, is found dead in her dressing room, at the start of the live TV programme there is doubt whether it will be able to go ahead. As more information about Jess's background and the relationships between her and her colleagues comes to light the police have plenty of suspects but no one seems to have any opportunity. However, the police unexpectedly find assistance from the amateur sleuth - and professional dancer - Anton Caesar, who uses his inside knowledge to get to the truth.

This story is set in the world of a TV dance programme for celebrities and anyone who has watched Strictly Come Dancing will recognise some of the characters in this book. Some of them, such as the politician dancer, Cobb Grainger, are well drawn and I cannot help but think he may well be based on someone from the author's political background, however others are quite sketchily drawn in and this does detract a bit from the idea of a puzzle as it indicates quite clearly the small group of true suspects. Saying that, the ending came as quite a surprise, the author seeming to have taken to heart Ms Christie's technique of red herrings to keep the reader in the dark. This means that if you are a reader who likes to work out the puzzle provided by a murder mystery before the denouement, you might find that you do not have all the facts that you need.

The book is a light read with no unpleasantness - even the description of the murder is very low key - but great fun especially if you are a fan of the TV programme.

Susan White, December 2014

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