Thursday, April 4, 2024

ARC Review: A Body at the Dance Hall by Marty Wingate

A Body at the Dance Hall

Marty Wingate
Series: London Ladies' Murder Club (Book 3)
Publication: Bookouture (April 8, 2024)

Description: 1922. Amateur sleuth Mabel Canning is surrounded by the bright lights of London as she chaperones a young American woman to a dance. But when someone is murdered, a deadly tango begins…

Meet plucky woman-about-town Mabel Canning, leader of the London Ladies’ Murder Club and trusted assistant to gentlewomen. When she is tasked with accompanying Roxy, a fun-loving heiress, on a glamorous night out, Mabel can’t wait to sip champagne and practice the foxtrot. But just as Roxy sashays out of sight, a mysterious man warns Mabel that the feisty young redhead is in danger. And someone is dead before the music stops...

Roxy was the last person to see the victim alive, and she stumbles into Mabel’s arms with her daffodil-yellow dress splashed with blood. Determined to protect her ward, Mabel gathers her dashing beau Winstone and her pals from the murder club. Together they trace the weapon back to the ballroom, but when its twin goes missing, it is clear time is running out to prevent another murder on the dance floor…

The police conclude the killer is in Roxy’s family, but Mabel finds herself spinning between a motley troupe of suspects. Mr Bryars, the anxious ballroom manager, is constantly tripping over himself to hide his secrets. But would he kill to protect his reputation? And young Ned Kettle may have looked dashing while waltzing around with Roxy, but he was once a notorious thief. Is the sticky-fingered rogue also a dab hand at murder?

Just as Mabel and her murder club friends quickstep closer to the truth, Roxy is kidnapped, and Mabel comes cheek to cheek with the killer. Can she save poor Roxy and herself? Or has she danced her last dance?

A delightfully witty and utterly addictive whodunnit absolutely bursting with 1920s sparkle, from USA Today bestselling author Marty Wingate. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, Richard Osman, Verity Bright and T.E. Kinsey.

My Thoughts: It's 1922 and Mabel Canning works for the Useful Women Agency in London. Tasks can range from helping a client pick out wallpaper to solving mysteries. Mabel's next job is acting as a chaperone for a young American woman who has come to England to visit with the father she hasn't seen since she was three.

Roxanne Arkwright is a modern young woman and a little wild. She managed to ditch her chaperone and travel to England on her own and sees no reason to need another chaperone now that she's in England. Her father disagrees. He hires the Useful Women Agency which is owned by one of his former flames and Mabel is assigned to the job. 

When Roxanne decides she wants to visit a dance hall, Mabel is eager to go along. She doesn't expect that the man Mr Arkwright also hired to look after his daughter would be there and would be murdered leaving Roxanne in a blood-spattered yellow gown. 

While not officially hired to solve the other detective's murder, being with Roxanne and performing her duties as a chaperone will give Mabel plenty of opportunities to search for clues. 

But then Roxanne is kidnapped...

As Mabel calls in all her friends to find Roxanne, a dastardly and murderously inclined villain has their own plans for Roxanne. And there is just a short timeline before it will be too late to rescue her.

This was an engaging and entertaining historical mystery. It is third in a series. I like the way Mabel has grown into her new position with Useful Women. I also like the way she is gathering an assortment of intriguing and useful friends too. 

Favorite Quote:
"Rupert Arkwright's announcement the first Mrs Arkwright is, at this very moment, on her way to England put a stunning end to the afternoon. The news certainly put the wind up Roxanne and her father, I can tell you that."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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