Skating Around the Law
Review: Joelle Charbonneau introduces Chicago mortgage broker Rebecca Robbins, who inherits a roller skating rink in central Illinois from her late mother, a business she wants no part of. But when a dead body is found in one of the building's bathrooms, her agent wryly declares, "This is going to kill the rink's market value for sure." Soon Rebecca finds herself Skating Around the Law to identify the killer so she can move on with her life.
The dead man is Mack Murphy, a local handyman. Found near his body is a bottle of prescription pills. The sheriff declares the cause of death suicide, but the coroner — also Mack's physician — doesn't think so. There were two kinds of pills found in the container, and only one was prescribed by him for Mack. Besides, as Rebecca points out when she sees a stack of stamped envelopes in his toolbox, "Do suicidal people pay their bills before killing themselves?" The sheriff seems disinclined to do any more towards solving the case, so Rebecca decides to investigate on her own knowing that if she's to find a buyer for the rink she must first find a killer.
With so many cozies being published every month, authors need to find something different to distinguish themselves. Charbonneau accomplishes this by introducing an eclectic cast of characters — including the town's lothario, who happens to be her very own father, and a circus camel named Elwood — that are colorfully drawn but not so extreme that they become caricatures. The small town setting and the roller rink itself add both familiarity and contrast. The murder mystery plot isn't demanding — the killer's motive seems a bit specious, though that may have been intentional on the part of the author — but Rebecca's admittedly amateurish attempts at sleuthing and other frequent comedic situations help hold the reader's interest. Skating Around the Law is a solid start to a promising series.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Skating Around the Law for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Skating Over the Line
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), September 2011
ISBN-13: 9780312606626; ISBN-10: 0312606621
Location(s) referenced in Skating Around the Law: Illinois
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Skating Around the Law by Joelle Charbonneau — A Rebecca Robbins Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: September 2010
List Price: $24.99