Spindler, Christine - The Rhythm of Revenge
Jessica Warner is the lead tap dancer in a London based troupe preparing to perform The Taming of the Shoe. Jessica is young, self absorbed and passionate about her dancing so when she doesn't turn up for the dress rehearsal, alarm bells ring. Her husband is frantic and calls in the police where by chance the case is picked up by Inspector Terry. Routine enquiries reveal that a woman resembling Jessica was seen getting into a car at about the time of her usual morning run. Her running outfit is also found, discarded.
When Terry interviews the main members of the troupe he discovers that Jessica can arouse strong feelings but are they strong enough to lead to kidnap or murder? There are many suspects; Jessica's ex lovers Simon and David, David's spurned wife Susan or even Eileen who is badly handicapped as a result of a mistake by Jessica. An attempted murder narrows down the field and Terry not only has to find Jessica, but also discover who's next in line.
Though this is billed as an Inspector Terry mystery, the characters in the dancing troupe have an equal amount of stage time and for me this is why it's such an enjoyable book. The reader becomes involved in the ongoing lives of several members of the troupe and they become so real it's a wrench to leave them at the end of the story. This, combined with a solid mystery storyline, believable psychology, character growth and a sympathetic detective, make this a winning start to the series. I look forward greatly to reading the second novel, FACES OF FEAR.
Karen Meek, England