March 25, 2021

Murder in First Position

 


Murder in First Position: An On Pointe Mystery
by Lori Robbins

About Murder in First Position

Murder in First Position: An On Pointe Mystery
Traditional Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Level Best Books (November 24, 2020)
Paperback: 260 pages
ISBN-10: 1947915746
ISBN-13: 978-1947915749
Digital ASIN: B08GQBDLN9

Ballerina Leah Siderova knows the career of a professional dancer is short. But rarely is it as brief as that of her rival, Arianna Bonneville, whose rise to stardom ends when she is stabbed in the back.

New York City police detective Jonah Sobol fixes upon Leah as the prime suspect. After all, she was the one who found the body, she had the most to gain from Arianna’s death, and it was her name Arianna whispered, just before she died.

Leah is desperate to clear her name, and she begins her own investigation, collaborating with her best friend and her ballet coach. As the three dancers sort through backstage intrigues, attempted blackmail, and a tangle of romantic liaisons, the noose around Leah’s neck grows tighter.

Ballet, with its merciless discipline, is all Leah has ever known. Is that enough to keep her one step ahead of the police—and the killer?

Character Guest Post

Ballerina Leah Siderova


I have a few loyal friends, but even before my recent role, as the most-hated dancer in New York City, I was never a candidate for Ms. Congeniality. I’ve tried to make friends with normal people, but it’s hard to explain to outsiders how all-consuming a life in dance can be. There just isn’t much room in my schedule for the kinds of relationships most people take for granted. Of course, unpopularity for me isn’t new. Back in high school, I was that skinny, pretty, confident girl all the other kids wanted to kill. Not literally, of course. That came later.


You have to be a little crazy to sacrifice everything on the altar of ballet, but no one ever accused dancers of being practical. It’s a cruel fact that professional dancers, no matter how successful, are always one injury away from becoming last season’s sensation. I learned that the hard way, when Amerian Ballet company was on tour in Paris. I tripped over a backstage cable, and something important inside my knee cracked. I can hardly complain about my joints, however, when, later that evening, Charles Colbert died. As I explained to the police, I had already left the theater when the poor man was killed.


A few months after my knee surgery, I became a poster child for my orthopedic surgeon when I returned to ballet. If I had a dog, that span of time would have added up to a year. For a dancer, it was an eternity. For that reason, and others, I was nervous about my reception when I returned to the company and to the stage.


With no physical activity, aside from grueling physical therapy session, I gained three pounds, which clung to me with a devotion far beyond that of my most recent boyfriend. He ditched me when I was in Paris. At least he did me the favor of a phone breakup. That way, I wasn’t ambushed three days later, when he updated his status with his new girlfriend, who apparently had unlimited to attend baseball games, destination weddings, and weekends at the beach. She better watch out. All that healthy outdoor living would age her to the point she’d look as old as I am. Yes, my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend is twelve years younger than he is, and a full five years younger than I am. Not that I did the math.


Day after day, I checked the newspaper to see if Grayson Averin, the chief dance critic of The New York Times, had written his long-promised piece about me and Bryan Leister, one of ballet’s hottest choreographers. The day I returned to dancing, Grayson finally came through and posted his article. As promised, Bryan featured prominently in the story. But Grayson left out any mention of me. Instead, he wrote about Arianna Bonneville, this season’s hottest ticket, and my new rival.


Yes, ballet involves cutthroat competition. But that’s supposed to be a metaphor. Rational people don’t kill their competitors, even when that person is tall, blonde, and a classic mean girl. 


I wanted to kill her. But someone else beat me to it. 


About Lori Robbins

Brooklyn-born Lori Robbins began dancing at age 16 and launched her professional career three years later. She studied modern dance at the Martha Graham School and ballet at the New York Conservatory of Dance. Robbins performed with a number of regional modern and ballet companies, including Ballet Hispanico, the Des Moines Ballet, and the St. Louis Concert Ballet. After ten very lean years as a dancer she attended Hunter College, graduating summa cum laude with a major in British Literature and a minor in Classics. Her first mystery, Lesson Plan for Murder, won the Silver Falchion Award for Best Cozy Mystery and was a finalist in the Readers’ Choice and Indie Book Awards. Murder in First Position is the first in her new mystery series, published on November 23, 2020, by Level Best Books.

She is currently working on the second book in both series. She is also the author of “Accidents Happen” a short story that will appear in the 2021 Malice Domestic anthology: Murder Most Diabolical. Robbins is a vice president of the NYC chapter of Sisters in Crime. She is also a founding member of the Damsels of Distress, a group that offers writing workshops and book readings. She is an expert in the homicidal impulses everyday life inspires.

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