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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
The Dancing Murders is the compelling sixth entry in A Literary Historical Mystery series by James Musgrave, a novel that reads well as a standalone story. Set in San Diego in 1888, the story follows a murder mystery that is as suspenseful as it is mind-boggling. Wyatt Earp is a gunslinger charged with the first-degree murder of Rabbi Sonnenschein. His common-law wife — a feisty woman who has always given life the risk it deserves, always exploding with curiosity — offers testimony that leaves everyone unsure about the perpetrator of the crime. Attorney and detective Clara Shortridge Foltz quickly finds herself with four suspects. This could have been an easy case, but she is plunged into an investigation that takes her through a labyrinthine path of sex trafficking, mysticism, terrorism, and more. Can she unveil the face of the murderer as the mystery deepens and which of the four suspects is most likely to have committed the murder?
To say that The Dancing Murders is a great read would be an understatement. It is explosive. Period! It features complex and cleverly written characters that grab the attention of the reader from the first page. The writing is bold and James Musgrave confidently breaks the rules of conventional narrative and allows the voices of the characters to ring through naturally. As the story progresses, each layer of each character’s depth is peeled away and readers are faced with more complex questions as they explore the inner workings of the minds of the characters, especially the four suspects. The first-person narrative voice is well-crafted and it is hypnotic. James Musgrave is a master when it comes to crafting suspenseful scenes and characters that are multilayered. His talent for making readers question everything and everyone shines through every page of this compelling mystery. You’ll find delight in following the cunning twists and the sharp narration. The Dancing Murders is utterly absorbing.