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Corpse de Ballet: A Nine Muses Mystery: Terpsichore [Mass Market Paperback]

Ellen Pall
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 19 2002 Nine Muses Mysteries (Book 1)
It's not as if Juliet Bodine wishes that she'd stayed an English professor instead of becoming a successful romance novelist. It's just that writing, though interesting, is never easy, and she will do almost anything to avoid her desk. So she succumbs to the pleas of her friend Ruth, a renowned choreographer, to help translate Dickens' Great Expectations into ballet form.

Watching the magnificent dancers work is fascinating. But Juliet soon finds the company plagued by jealousies, subterranean liaisons, ugly sabotage, and-sudden death.

Could it be murder?

NYPD detective Murray Landis is skeptical. But Juliet-who is startled to recognize in Murray the budding sculptor who dated her college roommate years ago-disagrees, and turns her novelist's sense of plot and character to detection. Can she and Murray unmask the ruthless choreographer of a pas de death?

Fast, witty, and literate, Corpse de Ballet marks the dazzling debut of the Nine Muses Mysteries featuring Juliet Bodine and Murray Landis.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Terpsichore, the ancient Greek goddess of dance, must be smiling down from her home on Mt. Helicon at Pall's (Back East) splendid first entry in this cleverly themed series with its insights into the egos, jealousies, pains and passions of a Manhattan ballet company. Juliet Bodine, a successful writer of Regency novels and ex-professor of English literature at Barnard, puts aside her own deadlines to give literary advice to her longtime friend, Ruth Renswick, choreographer for the Jansch Ballet Company of New York, who is creating a new ballet based on Charles Dickens's Great Expectations. A ballet fan herself, Juliet is fascinated by the personalities of the company and the process of creating a new production. When a lead dancer dies suddenly, she's convinced it was murder, but her old Harvard friend, police detective Murray Landis, concludes the death was a suicide. Case closed, but not for Juliet. From the executive director to the lowliest member of the corps, the characters come alive through Juliet's astute observations and the extremely well-crafted dialogue. Vivid settings capture summer in New York, and one can almost feel the heat and steam of the ballet studio. Both mystery fans and ardent balletomanes will be left with great expectations and eager anticipation for the next in the series.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this new series, Regency romance writer Juliet Bodine helps her long-time choreographer friend Ruth Renswick iron out some glitches in a dance production of Great Expectations. Her observant eye also notes a bit of sabotage in the practice room that injures a lead dancer. Murder ensues, threatening to unhinge the production. Events in the practice room helped alleviate Juliet's writer's block, but now she must contend with detectives one of whom happens to be a friend from college days. A wonderful plot, a fascinating look at the world of ballet, and a unique approach to sleuthing recommends this to most collections. Pall is a novelist (Among the Ginzburgs) and freelance journalist.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a Look-See Even for a Non Balletomane Jan. 12 2003
By Sires
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm torn on this book. On one hand, the author has written some of the few Regency romances since Heyer's death that did not assume the reader was a higher brain function deficient as Fiona Hill. This book is well written-- Pall turns a very neat sentence-- and the world of professional ballet is entertaining. (I admit to not being a balletomane. I like modern dance, but would probably gouge my eyes out if I had to sit though another classical ballet.) On the other hand, the mystery lacks urgency and the conclusion is almost anticlimactic.
Some good things about the book: Pall's portrayal of a regency romance writer at work (or tryng not to work as the case maybe.) She breaks with the tradition of a lot of romance writers as portraying their profession as filled with sexually frustrated spinsters. I also liked the relationship between Ms Bodine and her friend Ruth Renswick. It's nice to see such an imperfect but clearly affectionate relationship between mature women. As I said, Pall writes beautifully and sensually about the professional dancers. They are not caricatures and there is almost a voyeuristic pleasure in watching them interact with one another.
On the downside, the romantic interest is not particularly interesting and, as I mentioned, the resolution lacks punch.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brava! Encore! July 15 2002
Oh, to be an author of Regency Romance novels even half as successful as Juliet Bodine, otherwise known as Angelica Kestrel-Haven! But then, dreams are always wonderful to have, regardless. Even as successful as A K-H is in her work, the very real Juliet still finds boredom a steady visitor, and is always eager to do almost anything other than write.
When her college friend, Ruth Renswick, a choreographer for the Jansch Ballet in Manhatten, asks for help with her new venture, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, based on the novel by Charles Dickens, Juliet is drawn in like flies to honey. And the readers are drawn in by the very realistic descriptions of life in and around a ballet troupe. This is the first of a new series on the nine muses; this one, of course, is in honor of Terpsichore, goddess of dance.
Unfortunately, the lead male dancer soon turns up dead, and another college friend turns up as the investigating detective. Murray Landis is also a sculptor who plays a wicked game of softball on the side. The two of them--Juliet and Murray--dance their own pas de deux while sorting out the clues that lead everywhere but to the proper conclusion.
If you've ever read any Regency novels by Fiona Hill, you'll be prepared for the excellent writing of Ellen Pall, her alter ego. If not, you'll have a wonderful treat with this very witty, very literate, very enjoyable mystery novel that doesn't believe in rushing around, working up a sweat, looking here, there and everywhere for clues. The dancers do enough of that, thank you, but you will also, no doubt, enjoy the vicarious pleasure of visiting Juliet's upper West-Side apartment. It's to die for!
So pull up a cozy rocking chair, and settle in for some of the best word-play to be found in recent years. And don't be in such a big hurry that you'll miss any of the enticing and tantalizing hints of things to come. This was the first of a series; I'm really looking forward to book two! Which muse will it be this time?
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By A Customer
Corpse de Ballet is an excellent book. Its mystery elements are a bit weak, but that does not matter. The book's virtue lies in the fact that it is both extremely well written and a remarkable portrait of the world of ballet. One rarely gets any trip behind the scenes of a ballet production, let alone the vivid excursion this book involves. So well-written is this portrait that the reader cannot tell whether the author loves ballet for its art and beauty or hates it for the terrible physical and emotional tolls it imposes on its practitioners. One must surely call into question the value of any art form that requires that its adherents be both anorexic and cut-throat and that ultimately physically and emotionally destroys those who choose dance as a career.
Another aspect of this book worthy of note is the relationship between the two detectives. I will enjoy watching what is clearly an incipient romance develop. Ellen Pall is clearly experienced in the art of creating a convincing romance. Indeed, so well-written. .... .... ....
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fun read May 12 2001
Juliet Cherry, known to her fans as Miss Angelica Kestrel-Haven, is a very popular Regency romance writer. She has her own web site, a fan club, and is a consistent guest speaker on the Regency era. Juliet is a close friend with Ruth Renwick, who is choreographing a new ballet, Great Ex, a rendition of Great Expectations, for the Jansch Ballet Troupe of New York.

Ruth asks Juliet to provide an opinion on the work in progress because her whole career rides on the success of this show. Juliet provides advice as to how to tighten the production. When Anton Mohr slips, Juliet's superior sense of smell catches a whiff of talc mixed in with the rosin normally used to wipe floors. When Anton dies from an overdose of Ecstasy, Juliet feels a homicide occurred. As she continues to observe the rehearsals, Juliet watches everyone to insure that a killer doesn't walk away from his crimes.

CORPSE DE BALLET gives readers an insider's look at a ballet company from the corps d'esprit to the petty jealousies and all the hard work needed for success. The intrepid heroine uses her olfactory sense to alert the audience that the game is afoot. Her interaction with Ruth adds an extra dimension especially since they also fuss and fight. Ellen Pall has written a delightful mystery.

Harriet Klausner
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous peek into the world of dance
I really liked this book! As a former professional dancer myself, I'm usually disappointed in how that world is portrayed, but I think Ellen Paul pretty much nailed it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eva Carius
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag
As a glimpse into the world of ballet, the novel succeeded quite well. As a mystery, however, it was a flop, in my opinion. I guessed the identity of the murderer way too early. Read more
Published on Feb. 12 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new mystery series
Ruth is having trouble choreographing her latest ballet, Great Expectations, and begs her friend Juliet to provide moral support and advice. Read more
Published on July 22 2002 by Alicia K. Ahlvers
5.0 out of 5 stars Muse over Manhattan
Ellen Pall is an experienced writer (her literary novel, Among the Ginzburgs, is well worth reading), and it shows. Read more
Published on May 20 2002 by Irene Silver
1.0 out of 5 stars DOA
While the details about the ballet are interesting, the plot shuffles along. Nothing much happens and it takes pages upon pages to realize that not much is going to happen. Read more
Published on April 4 2002 by annejv
4.0 out of 5 stars Good entry into the mystery genre
I am a former ballet dancer and now a teacher. I read Corpse De Ballet because of its ballet theme, and becuase I enjoy reading mysteries. Read more
Published on March 24 2002 by Feldydancer
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing
Ruth is having trouble choreographing her latest ballet, Great Expectations, and begs her friend Juliet to provide moral support and advice. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2002 by Alicia K. Ahlvers
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding mystery--ballet, regency romance, and murder
Juliet Bodine will do almost anything to avoid having to write her overdue regency romance so, when her friend Ruth calls for help with her choreographing a ballet of GREAT... Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2001 by booksforabuck
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb overture to what I hope will be a long series
Corpse de Ballet is a superb mystery. It is extremely well written. The mystery aspect is a trifle weak, but that does not matter: the characterizations and non-mystery content... Read more
Published on July 1 2001
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