Swan Dive by Kendel Lynn
The location, off the Atlantic coast and typically warm, and the quirky characters that keep showing up really help to make this a delightful and entertaining read.
It’s Opening Night at the Ballantyne Foundation’s production of The Nutcracker, but it’s curtains for the Sugar Plum Fairy. When her body is found backstage, fatally poisoned by a cupcake she baked herself, rumors turn to suicide. But Elli Lisbon, director of the Ballantyne and coordinator of the ballet, smells something rotten amidst the sugar and spice.
As Elli applies her PI-in-training skills on the troupe of suspects, she discovers an eccentric herbalist, a temperamental chef, a stalking choreographer, and a bevy of backstage secrets. Between her off-the-record investigation, duty as director, and highly-charged love life, she finds herself caught in a dance to stay one pirouette ahead of a half-baked killer.
Review by Linda:
As Director of the Ballantyne Foundation, Elliott Lisbon is used to putting out fires without breaking a sweat. However, when the young woman playing the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy is found dead in her dressing room during the Ballantyne’s production of ‘The Nutcracker’, Elli puts on her PI-in-training hat and begins looking into her death.
The police believe the victim accidentally ingested poison but that reason doesn’t sit well with Elli. When Elli realizes the young woman had a connection to Mr. & Mrs. Ballantyne, she relentlessly pursues leads—leads that unfortunately point to murder.
I really like this series. Swan Dive is the third book starring Elli Lisbon, a smart and funny protagonist who has a strong aversion to germs. Every time she takes out the bottle of hand sanitizer, I start to laugh. I can so relate. I keep bottles in my car and purses, too. LOL! Elli is a very likable lead character, and she is quite adept at juggling her professional responsibilities.
Her PI skills, especially her questioning skills, are getting stronger—much to the dismay of the two men in her life. The secondary characters are an interesting bunch. I especially love her interactions with her colleague, Tod, and her best friend, Sid.
Swan Dive is a great read. It boasts likable characters, a great setting, believable dialogue, and a well-written mystery with enough suspects to keep you guessing. I had trouble solving this one, and even after I figured out the identity of the killer (very late in the book, I should add), I never would have guessed the reason. Well done, Ms. Lynn! I’m looking forward to more adventures with Elli.
Review by DebKrenzer:
I loved this book! I’m always excited when I see another Elliott Lisbon book available for me to read and review. This was my third in the series and I desperately await for the next.
Elliott Lisbon is in charge of running the Ballantyne foundation and it sounds like a pretty nice job. She is taking PI courses to help out the Ballantyne’s and the members of the board, who it seems one of them or someone close to them is always getting into some kind of trouble.
And then there two “special” men in her life. One is the local headmaster and one is the chief of police who never keeps her completely in the loop on the cases they are working. Even though she is usually the one that actually solves them.
The location, off the Atlantic coast and typically warm, and the quirky characters that keep showing up really help to make this a delightful and entertaining read. I would just like to hang out with this character and knock back a few margaritas!