Once again, Emily takes on the role of investigator, this time to clear her nephew of murder. Her process of eliminating all the suspects (and excellent red herrings) was very well done. The story is told in the first person, so we are privy to her thought processes and doubts about the case all along the way.
Emily is just a nice woman, getting her life back together after ending a bad, abusive marriage. She can relate to the other women in this story who are experiencing similar violence in their lives and Charlie’s plight, too, having been in his position in book one. In both situations, she carefully tries to help without going overboard (unlike Sister and Mom) in her efforts to gain information. Kathleen, the understandably worried mom, and their mother are a delightful pair of loose cannons. I LOVED the instant attraction between Kathleen and Lt. Gordon, and I liked seeing how their friendship knocked off some of his sharp edges.
The setting behind the scenes at the mounting of a production of The Nutcracker was engaging, fun, and fascinating, despite the murder. I enjoyed seeing all the preparations the symphony went through and the massive amount of coordination required to meld them, the traveling ballet troupe, and the local children’s ballet companies/classes into one magical production during the holiday season.
With its well-conducted amateur investigation, likable characters, and behind-the-scenes look at the iconic ballet, I recommend BALLISTICS AT THE BALLET for cozy mystery readers, especially those interested in the symphony, ballet, The Nutcracker, and stories set during the winter holidays.