Welcome to one of the March 17th stops on the blog tour for Back to the Burgh and Beyond and other titles by C.S. McDonald, organized by iRead Book Tour. Visit this post for my review of Back to the Burgh and Beyond and continue for my reivew of Murder on Pointe. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, plenty of reviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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About the Book
Murder on Pointe
Fiona Quinn Book One
by C.S. McDonald
Print/eBook Published 26 July 2021
Page Count: 220
Audiobook Published 6 May 2017
Narrator: Maren Swenson Waxenberg
Length: 4 hours 30 minutes
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Fiona can’t wait to attend the performance of Coppelia at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh. Her old friend, Silja Ramsay, is dancing the principal role. They have dinner after the show, but when they return Pittsburgh Ballet Theater is down one dancer! Ballerina, Alexis Cartwright, has been found dead in the dressing room.
Is this murder a result of hot tempers among the cast members? Or is it a random act of violence? Will there be more murders? Homicide Detective, Nathan Landry, isn’t taking any chances. After finding out Fiona has a strong background in ballet he recruits her to go undercover among the cast of Coppelia.
Can Fiona help catch a killer, or will she be the next victim?
My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads.
I was granted complimentary access to Murder on Pointe as part of my participation in a blog tour for the author’s latest title, Back to the Burgh and Beyond, through iRead Book Tours. Thank you to all involved in affording me the opportunity to listen to and review both books! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Fiona Quinn, a kindergarten teacher, is visiting the ballet theatre for the first time since the injury that ended her ballet career before it had even truly begun 10 years prior, but as she and her dancer friend arrive and go to visit another dancer in her dressing room they discover the body of murder victim #1, the soloist slated to dance as Coppelia. An investigation starts immediately and local police decide they need an investigator on the inside and ask Fiona to return to dance and take on the Coppelia role so she can get close with the rest of the ballet company and theatre staff. Unfortunately for the company, the first dancer dead will not be the last.
After absolutely loving Back to the Burgh and Beyond I was so excited to experience another cozy mystery by the same author and narrator. In my experience with the cozy mystery genre, it usually doesn’t matter which order you read the books in a series, so the fact that I selected the first book in the Fiona Quinn series is a coincidence. I saw pointe shoes on a cover image and ticked that box. I grew up dreaming and wishing I had been given the opportunity to either dance ballet or compete in gymnastics professionally, and when I was a college student I took the opportunity to register for adult recreational ballet classes. I caught the ballet bug and went as far as learning basics up en pointe, and I still love checking out anything to do with ballet when I see it.
Unfortunately, this one didn’t hold up quite as well as Back to the Burgh and Beyond did. Even more unfortunate is that it’s mostly due to the narrator’s performance, despite the fact that I loved her performance in Burgh and said I wanted to listen to more books she narrates. My first and biggest complaint about the narration is that she doesn’t appear to take a breath for 20-minute stretches. Given how much better the narration on Burgh was I’ll concede that this could be a case of overzealous editing rather than poor pacing on the narrator’s behalf, but it made my normally comfortable 1.5-2x playback speed almost impossible to listen to. If you snag my phone, launch Libby, and open any audiobook just to see what playback setting I was most recently using, it’ll probably be 2x. This book sounded like I had it set to 3-4x and I had to decrease it. That’s not something I do often! My second complaint is that while she did do well with the pronunciation of common knowledge ballet terms, the more obscure ones were very hit or miss. For example, fouetté does NOT rhyme with pirouette. Lastly, names were getting messed up, and I don’t know if that was a problem with the text, the performance, or the editing. When Cynthia is first introduced I swear she was called Celia and I questioned why there would be two Celias in the same short book. Much later (chapter 10, I believe) Fiona is called Celia for the first half to two-thirds of a scene. There’s clearly only one of the ladies in the scene, the scene is at Fiona’s house, and the lady is the owner of the house. I know I’m not getting confused that this shouldn’t be Celia, but the officer with her calls her Celia for most of the scene.
The story itself is very good and true to form for the cozy mystery genre. This is an excellent introduction for Fiona as a character, and although I had half the mystery figured out in the first hour of this 4.5 hour audiobook, I thought I’d solved the whole thing and the other half caught me by surprise in the last hour. I loved David’s sense of humour, and I got my Schadenfreude fill when a certain later murder victim meets their end. My only critiques of the story itself (besides the title saying “on” pointe instead of “en” pointe and the fact that I’ve never heard anyone say janitress before) is that as someone who struggled to do pique turns en pointe as a 22-year-old intermediate student I just couldn’t buy the idea that someone who had not danced en pointe for a decade would be stage ready in a week (even with the modified choreography) or that the professional ballerinas would allow it. I’m very glad there weren’t too many actual Fiona dancing scenes because that always took me out of the story as that doubt settled in.
Overall the story is a solid 4-4.5, the narration is more like a 3, so I’m calling this a 4 out of 5 stars. If you like cozy mysteries and stories about ballet dancers, read this! If you struggle to listen to fast-paced recordings, though, perhaps opt for the print/ebook version.
About the Author
For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. Classically trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and many others, she became a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time, she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. In 2016 she added the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series that everyone, including teens and tweens, can read and enjoy. Presently, the Fiona Quinn Mysteries nine books with a tenth slated for 2021. The books are also available on audio, narrated by Maren Swenson Waxenberg. Cindy’s newest venture is The Owl’s Nest Mysteries. Once again, she has set her cozy mystery in Pittsburgh. The female protagonist, Alexa Owl, is much different from Fiona Quinn. The Owl’s Next Mysteries has a little grit, a little time travel, a little romance, and a whole lot of cozy! Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.
Autographed copy of BACK TO THE BURGH AND BEYOND, plus other gifts (USA only, ends Apr 2)https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/classic/19dbbbb/main.html
|March 1||Olio by Marilyn||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 1||She Just Loves Books||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 2||Laura’s Interests||Saddle Up for Murder|
|March 3||Gina Rae Mitchell||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 4||Rockin’ Book Reviews||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 4||Gina Rae Mitchell||Murder on Pointe|
|March 4||Laura’s Interests||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 8||Locks, Hooks and Books||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 9||Book Corner News and Reviews||Murder on Pointe|
|March 9||Splashes of Joy||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 10||My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 10||Wickedly Romance||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 11||Book Corner News and Reviews||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 11||Wickedly Romance||Murder on Pointe|
|March 11||Blooming with Books||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 12||Splashes of Joy||Murder on Pointe|
|March 12||Books Lattes & Tiaras||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 15||Blooming with Books||Murder on Pointe|
|March 15||She Just Loves Books||Tastes Like Murder|
|March 15||Chit Chat with Charity||Saddle Up for Murder|
|March 16||Olio by Marilyn||Murder on Pointe|
|March 16||My Reading Journeys||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 17||Westveil Publishing||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 17||My Reading Journeys||Saddle Up for Murder|
|March 18||Musing of Souls||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 18||Books for Books||Murder on Pointe|
|March 19||Books Lattes & Tiaras||Murder on Pointe|
|March 19||Rockin’ Book Reviews||Good Luck to Murder|
|March 22||Westveil Publishing||Murder on Pointe|
|March 22||Musing of Souls||Tastes Like Murder|
|March 23||Locks, Hooks and Books||Tastes Like Murder|
|March 23||Lisa’s Reading||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 24||My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews||Murder on Pointe|
|March 24||Books for Books||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 25||BookishKelly2020||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 25||Chit Chat with Charity||Back to the Burgh and Beyond|
|March 26||BookishKelly2020||Murder on Pointe|
|March 26||Lisa’s Reading||Tastes Like Murder|
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