Monday, April 11, 2016

Murder Dancing by Lesley Cookman - #review #giveaway

Max Tobin brings his all-male dance company to Steeple Martin, with his new ballet Pendle, based on the infamous Pendle Witch Trials, due to be performed at the Oast Theatre. There have been unpleasant incidents during rehearsals in London, and Max asks Libby Sarjeant and her friend Fran Wolfe to look into them. To everyone’s surprise, the seriousness of the incidents escalates until, inevitably, someone is murdered.

While the police look into the murder, Libby and Fran wonder why someone seemed so set against the ballet. Were occult forces at work, or was there a more worldly, personal motive?



How could this be the 16th installment (as per GoodReads) in the Libby Sarjeant Murder Mysteries and it just now come on my reading radar????  Well, I am a snark aficionado and a raging Anglophile, and Libby has both.  I always thought I would gravitate to someone who had both characteristics like bee to honey, but that is in the past.  What matters now is that I tracked her down eventually.  (Well, it's more like Libby finally crossed my path, but work with me.)  Oh, and I am delighted to see that England has some wacky town names just like here in Kentucky.  Libby lives in Steeple Martin; Kentucky has Dog Walk, Bee Lick and Monkey's Elbow, to name a few...

Seeing as this is my first experience with this author, even though she has written numerous books with the Libby character, I tried to look at th ebook as a standalone.  I feared otherwise I might have been tempted to hold Libby to an impossibly high standard of detecting skills.  I needn't have worried.  Libby could teach classes in amateur detection.

Then there is the question of the all-male dance troupe.  Hundreds of years ago, women were not allowed to act on stage and all parts were performed by men.  One theory of the origin of the term 'drag queen' was that a man, entering as a female character, would have 'D.R.A.G.' next to his entrance direction, meaning 'dressed as a girl'.  Anyway, back to the book.  One reason some might see for the 'accidents' occurring in the troupe in London and during the course of the book is due to prejudice against men in the performing arts being perceived as homosexual.  There are certainly some men in the arts who are so and some who are not.  One's sexuality has nothing to do with the ability to act, sing or dance.

But Libby soon ferrets out that other issues are at work in the case of the troupe.  She seems to have an advantage this time, working on her home turf (the town and the theatre), whereas the dance troupe (and perhaps the culprit(s)) are on foreign territory.  Only time would tell if the home field would work to her advantage.

Having done some acting on the stage, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the back and forth amongst the real world, the theatrical world, and the 'virtual' world of the production itself.  Many people who enjoy going to the theatre, ballet, opera, or other performing art do not realize  that what they see is just the tip of the iceberg.  There's a whole 2/3 of the production that is not viewed directly from the audience.

I also appreciated the cast list of characters at the beginning of the book.  Sometimes in books with a large number of characters, it is hard to keep everyone straight (no pun intended).  Having that ready reference makes things much easier on the readers.  I also have a short list of English slang terms to look up.  I got the gist of the terms from the rest of the paragraphs in which they appeared, but I like to nail things down a bit more.

Murder Dancing was an exciting book in its own right, and a superb introduction to the world of Libby Sarjeant.  My list of places to visit when I go back to England some day has increased exponentially since I started reviewing books on my blog here, seeing places that may have been the inspiration for locations in books I have read.  The only thing that has grown faster is my TBR list, as now I have to add the 15 previous Libby Sarjeant books, because I want to know more about this delightful cast of characters.



A former actor, model and freelance journalist, Lesley Cookman lives on the Kent coast in the UK, has four musicians as children, two small grandchildren and two cats, Lady Godiva and Gloria. All 14 of her Libby Sarjeant books have reached number one in their genre charts on Amazon UK.



Ms. Cookman has graciously offered each blog host on the tour to be able to giveaway an ecopy of Murder Dancing.  Please leave a comment for the author or your favorite performing art, and a way to contact you in case you win!


Click on the banner to go to the tour page, where you will find more reviews, as well as guest posts and interviews with the author!  (Don't forget, you can enter to win an ecopy at each tour stop!)  You can also find out how to become a blog host for future book tours!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.)


  1. Sixteen books? I am glad "better late, than never" to finally get a 'heads up' on a very interesting series. Thanks, Kentucky Gal, for a great review.
    I taught elementary school, and loved incorporating various forms of the performing arts: music, dance, and theater. It was always fun, and a great learning opportunity.

  2. This books sounds intriguing, I look forward to reading it. Great giveaway, thanks. You are a new to me author and would enjoy reading your work.

  3. Love a good murder mystery. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom.