Daily Review: A Tango Before Dying by Anna Celeste Burke
February 19, 2020
Fantastic storytelling about a famous ballroom dancer cut down before she gets to make a comeback at a dance competition.
The renowned dancer, Madame Charlotte Carol Chantel, is visiting LA to participate in the World Ballroom Dance Championship. Lunch and a photo op in Arcadia Park with “Mad” Max Marley suddenly go terribly wrong.
An angry woman hurls a glass of wine at Madame Chantel along with accusations and threats.
Before she can be caught, she runs away and disappears into the crowded theme park.
A Godmother’s Mysterious Death
Carol Ripley, Georgie’s Executive Assistant, is distraught when she finds her godmother and namesake dead a few hours later. There’s no apparent sign of foul play, but Madame Chantel’s death comes as a surprise since the sixty-something dance teacher and performer was in excellent health.
It’s even more shocking when the investigators soon discover reasons to treat her death as suspicious, and an autopsy reveals someone murdered Madame Chantel.
In the immortal words of Voltaire, “Letus read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”
Reading maybe, but not dance, apparently. Dressed as she was when Carol found her, with music still playing in the background, was a tango before dying Madame Chantel’s final act?
Was Madame Chantel murdered by a jealous romantic partner, an obsessed fan, a rival in the competitive world of Ballroom Dancing or someone else?
Is MadameChantel the only target or are other dancers in danger as well.
This is the 7th book in the Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery Series, taking place within a year after Georgia and Jack were married. In preparation for the upcoming Ballroom Dance Championship, sponsored by Max and featuring renowned Charlotte Chantel (also Georgia’s assistant, Carol’s, godmother), the couple is to meet for lunch at the Versailles Veranda.
Madame Chantel is delightful and elegant, but the luncheon is interrupted by one of her stalkers, shouting insults and threats at the guest of honor. While this situation is quickly remedied, it is not the end of problems. When Carol later finds her godmother dead in her suite, there is the question of whether it is a heart attack or murder.
And if it is murder, which one of several suspects was the murderer. Was it the enthralled waiter, Brett; the stalker, Natalie Bucco; her former dance partner/love interest, Kevin Whitley; or one of several others tasked with the dance event.
I enjoyed reading this story and seeing how Georgia and Jack now interact together as they work through the suspects and their motives. Of course, the really fun part is when they are home interacting with their cats, who also in their own way, help provide clues to the mystery.
Georgia as always is the stabilizing force in keeping “Mad” Max calm and focuses on his sponsorship and the ongoing events. And of course, the tango and other dance tidbits provided throughout the story were fun additions, as well as the yummy recipes at the end of the book.
By Nancy Wolfe
A Tango Before Dying is the seventh book in Anna Celeste Burke’s, Georgie Shaw cozy mystery series. In this book the readers are returned to the world of Marvelous Marley World and the many adventures that Georgie has to solve…
The series is a wonderful one to read and features some delightful recipes by the author too. I love that the characters also love cats and share two delightful felines named Miles and Ella who have a knack for murder also.
In this book Georgie and her husband of almost one year, Detective Jack Wheeler are to meet with Carol Ripley, Georgie’s Executive Assistant, Carol’s godmother, Madame Charlotte Carol Chantel, a famous ballroom dance champion, for lunch at the Versailles Veranda.
Marvelous Marley World, Georgie’s employer, the sponsor of the International Ballroom Dance Championship and other events. The luncheon was a “meet and greet” for Max and Madame Chantel, followed by a photo op, and then a gala in the evening.
However, disaster strikes, during the luncheon when Natalie Bucco, a fellow competitor, creates a disturbing scene in the dining room focused on Madame Chantel. Before the gala kicks off for the It Takes More than Two to Tango charity event, Georgie and Jack are summoned to Charlotte’s Arcadis Park hotel suite by Carol and Max with the distressing news that she is dead.
The EMT said it appears as her heart gave out Carol insists that her godmother was in excellent health. Dr. Vincent agrees that Madame Chantel most likely died from a cardiac arrest, but also requests an autopsy given the suddenness of her death. Upon further investigation, it is revealed her death is suspicious, and the autopsy provides evidence that it was indeed murder.
Carol implores Georgie and Jack to find out who killed her godmother, and Georgie’s boss, “Mad” Max Marley, is completely outraged over the incident and demands Georgie and Jack drop everything and concentrate on finding the culprit. After Kevin Whitley, Charlotte’s dance partner takes a fall which results in a broken leg before the gala begins, Georgie can’t help but wonder if he’s on a killer’s hit list….
Both Georgie and Jack are very determined to identify the killer. Will they find this person before anyone else is killed? The clock is ticking and time is running out; can the couple figure out the clues and solve the crime?
The author has thrown in several twists to keep the reader guessing until the end. Ms. Burke has written a book with a tight plot and great characters that are well developed. This book is a well-paced read; it keeps the readers’ attention by attempting to discover who the killer is.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries.
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