Exercise maven, former dancer, and part-time ballet reviewer Toni Ney is on hand when Vova Izlomin, a Russian premier danseur with more genius than manners, makes his triumphant return to the stage. Not many tears are shed, however, when Izlomin’s glittering, lifeless body is found swinging from a rope backstage in between acts. Inspector Anthony Torrent enlists Toni’s help in understanding the eccentric behavior of the ballet dancers, whose talent is exceeded only by their gift for bickering and backstabbing among themselves. Toni’s boyfriend, Eric Skeets, a freshly minted second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, also lends a hand while he awaits orders sending him to the European front. Eric is also pressing Toni to marry him but is dismayed when Toni becomes hopelessly smitten with a suave playboy publisher. Romance is also blooming at Toni’s apartment, where her cat Tom Jones is making amorous advances at a visiting sleek, dark little vixen named Cleo. The noise made by the pair’s lovemaking is drawing complaints from the neighbors, but when the murderer comes to pay Toni an unwanted visit, Cleo valiantly rises to the occasion and does her bit to save the day. First published in 1944, this witty mystery marks Toni’s second and final appearance. Award-winning critic Anthony Boucher, for whom the World Mystery Convention is named, called Corpse de Ballet one of the best sophomore books of the 1944 season.
“Well written and deceptively plotted.”
“Witty American mysteries… New York during the early 1940s provides a perfect setting for these slightly risqué, utterly entertaining tales. Odd but well-developed characters never fail to hold your interest or keep you guessing. Classic whodunits for fabulous summer reading!”
—Martha Farrington, in the “Staff Recommendations” section of The Deadbeat, store newsletter for Houston’s Murder by the Book
Order This Book