Ballistics at the Ballet by B.J. Bowen

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Ballistics at the Ballet by B.J. Bowen. Many thanks to Lori Caswell of Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.

This post contains review of the book as well as a character interview.

Title: Ballistics at the Ballet (Musical Murder Mystery #2)

Author: B.J. Bowen

Published on: 14 September 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Ballistics at the Ballet is the second book in B.J. Bowen’s Musical Murders Mystery series.

The story begins with Emily and her musical troupe getting ready for Nutcracker ballet – the orchestra and the ballet teams have arrived and are rehearsing everyday. Felix, the orchestra’s conductor is his usual irritable self. At a rehearsal, he admonishes Charlie for not following the count (beat). He also insults a few other members of the orchestra.

Emily finishes her lunch soon and decides to reach the venue early so that she can practice in peace. But when she enters the music hall, she listens to a commotion. Felix is shouting at someone and the next moment, Emily hears a gun shot. Someone runs away from the scene. When the coast is clear, Emily rushes to Felix’s office and sees him lying in a pool of blood. His dying words are “Tell her she’s the only one…”

Charlie, Emily’s nephew is arrested for killing Felix. But Charlie claims he’s innocent. Kathleen, Emily’s sister and Charlie’s mother, arrives to help prove her son’s innocence. Emily too helps her with sleuthing. But Kathleen crosses the line once or twice and gets reprimanded for ‘stalking’ suspects. Meanwhile, Emily’s questioning has fueled more gossip – so those on the suspects list are aware of Emily and her relation with the accused. Would they help her prove her nephew’s innocence? Or, would they hinder her investigation?

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If you are looking for a Christmas Cozy read, I recommend you to add this book to your TBR. A Nutcracker-theme based ballet, murder, whole lot of sleuthing with a dash of everything Christmassy.

The mystery behind the murder kept me guessing till the end. The victim was known for his temper. As Emily and Kathleen start to question suspects, they learn Felix had insulted and embarrassed many. Then there is a cherry on top – Felix was not loyal to his wife. Did a disgruntled spouse or boyfriend kill Felix in a fit of rage? Does this mean Charlie too could have done it?

Of all the cozy mysteries I have read so far, this story stands out from the rest. Lots of sleuthing – which I absolutely love. Yes, cooking or crafting or whatevs do make a cozy mystery enjoyable but as a mystery lover I cannot ignore the fact that 75% of this story involves Emily and Kathleen questioning suspects, gathering clues and making conclusions based on evidence.

There’s also a side story that caught my attention. Emily is a domestic violence survivor. Her husband had hit her previously and she finally divorced him. In this story, we see a young girl – Emily’s student – discuss the situation at home. Her father’s been acting strange and Megan is worried. Things escalate soon and Emily decides to help Megan.

The identity of the killer was shocking and unexpected. There is a twist in the second half of the book – something that might have proved Charlie’s innocence. But, the police still suspected Charlie of killing Felix. Hmm!

Overall, Ballistics at the Ballet by B.J. Bowen was an enjoyable and engrossing read. A perfect Christmas Cozy Mystery.


Many Musings, Mostly Musical: Interview with the Suspect’s Mother By B.J. Bowen

Felix Underhayes, conductor of Colorado’s Monroe Symphony, was recently murdered. Kathleen McRae, mother of the accused killer and sister of flutist and reluctant amateur sleuth Emily Wilson, has graciously agreed to step out of the pages of Ballistics at the Ballet and be interviewed by BJ Bowen, author of the novel and her creator.

BJB: You live alone?

KM: Yes. My son, Charlie McRae, moved out when he left for school. He plays percussion in the Monroe symphony, and he’s been accused of the conductor’s murder. Ridiculous! But not to worry. My sister, Emily, and I will figure out the true criminal.

BJB: How do you intend to do that?

KM: I find it’s best not to make plans. God just laughs. I imagine Emily will have some good suggestions. She investigated last year when she was wrongly accused of murder. She’ll know what we should do.

BJB: You say your son, Charlie, has been accused of the murder. Tell us a little about him.

KM: He’s a wonderful boy. (Takes out a tissue and sniffles into it.) He always makes me laugh. And he loves Emily and her dog, Golden.

BJB: Then why was he accused of murder?

KM: He also loves this girl, Ana. I don’t know her very well, but Felix behaved…well, inappropriately…and Charlie was just defending her. But my son didn’t kill Felix. He couldn’t.

BJB: Is that just a mother’s love talking, or do you have evidence?

KM: I don’t have evidence yet, but I’ll find it, and clear Charlie. I know I will. Emily will help, and so will our mother.

BJB: Your mother?

KM: She’s coming to visit soon. She loves Charlie—he’s her only grandson—and she’s a tigress defending her family. She thinks outside the box, too.

BJB: Do you think she can help, where Emily can’t?

KM: I don’t really know. I just believe the more heads the better. We’ll figure something out. We all want to support Charlie and each other. You know—All for one, and one for all. Together.

BJB: You don’t sound like you have much confidence in the police investigation.

KM: Why should I? They’ve accused my son, and I know he didn’t do it. I’m sure they’re doing their best. But that good-looking Lieutenant Gordon could use some help. That’s what I mean. The more heads, the better.

BJB: Do you think the lieutenant will be grateful?

KM: Who knows? I just know I have to do everything I can. I’ll worry about the lieutenant later.

BJB: Well, good luck with this whole thing.

KM: Thanks, BJ. As bleak as things look for Charlie, I’m going to need all the luck I can get.

BJB: I appreciate you talking with me, Kathleen. I’ll let you get back to sleuthing now.

KM: Thanks for listening. I’ll see you in the edits.


There’s a Giveaway for this tour. Click here for details.

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