The Body in the Ballroom: R.J. Koreto
Alice Roosevelt is back and her sleuthing skills take hold in many directions. Refusing to back down, allowing the police to handle a well planned and timed murder, she and her bodyguard, Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair go on the hunt for a dangerous killer who seems to be targeting the rich and powerful by poisoning them in a devious and subtle manner. While attending a debutante ball for her friend Philadelphia Rutledge, someone spiked the awful Rutledge punch with not more spirits but with a deadly poison called wolfsbane which they cleverly hoisted or pilfered from the Rutledge greenhouse but how and who? Wolfsbane is defined as any of several plants in the aconite genus Aconitum, including A. lycoctonum, bearing stalks of hood-shaped purplish-blue flowers, the monkshood A. napellus, which yields a poisonous alkaloid used medicinally, and numerous garden varieties in various colors. Unfortunately for Lynley Brackton taking a sip of the punch would be the last taste of spirits he would ever get. But, when investigating the murder, and realizing there was much more to it, Alice goes into first gear and decides it’s up to her and St. Clair to solve the murder but not before she learns that they arrested the mechanic used by Rutledge himself, Peter Carlyle for the murder and insists he is released. Demanding that of Captain O’Hara you would think he would send her on her way, but Alice Roosevelt is relentless and refused to give into his authority and managed to convince the Captain to get him released.
Within this novel you will meet Brackton’s wife, Victoria, Philly and many other colorful characters but when you learn about his affairs and his other dealings you wonder why Victoria dealt with him. Then things heat up even more when another victim is found, one who would have provided information for Alice to solve the case. She manages to get into see the victim’s spouse and convinces the person to explain about their relationship and how the victim was found, where and what cause the death.
Added in she and St. Clair witness the marriage of two people that have to hide their relationship in order to not get in trouble with their employers or anyone else.
Alice is tenacious, blunt and overpowering at times and because she is the President’s daughter she flaunts her position, power and feels she is immune to any rules or regulations others that investigate would have to adhere to and follow. Learning more about Deliah Linde was her goal, adding in why three people namely, Brackton, Marcus Linde and Simon Rutledge were members of the XVII and the significance might help her solve the case. The XVII dislike anyone what is not white and Protestant a racism and prejudice are two issues that come through in this novel as well as why would someone be targeting the rich and well-known families?
Felicia Meadows is a reporter for the Herald and Alice decides to form an alliance with her in exchange for information about the rich in society hoping to learn more about Rutledge, Brackton, The Roths and their dealings as well as Marcus Linde, whose wife is victim number two. Felicia explains the history behind Marcus’s marriage and that although he was much older than Delilah they for appearances seemed happy but whose child was she having and why would someone kill her? Added in we learn more about Adam Roth, his father’s company and dealing with his antique’s business and how both Adam and Philly were couriers for their fathers passing off information when needed. Money was changing hands and the XVII wanted to you might say cleanse New York of immigrants, blacks and anyone that did not fit their demographics of what they feel the world should look like but why would anyone want to kill Victoria Brackton and who send Delilah the bottle and who sent Victoria one too? As Felicia relates more information about these families and their dealings, Mrs. Cowles is skeptical as to why she is in her home and why all of a sudden Alice wants to learn more about the press and how to deal with them when she is not allowed to give anyone press conferences. Deals are made like in the backroom of bars, lies are told on all sides and President Roosevelt learns about Alice’s dealings with the murder and for some reason supplies her with information about the XVII and his take on them but who is behind the murders and why?
Alice Roosevelt is tenacious, bold, blunt and fearless at times and although she has been threatened just like the Roth family and Rutledge families it does not deter her from going ahead with her plans to solve the case claiming she and St. Clair are better suited than the police and she is more trustworthy as Captain O’Mara even shares information with her but will she do the same? Alice is bent on doing it all by herself and even when she is in dangerous and might be hurt for some reason she does not back down. Is this wise and what if her aunt learns her about her antics? Will she sent her back? What about St. Clair?
When Alice realizes after reenacting the murder that committed you won’t believe how she pieces it together. Author R.J. Koreto created a plot that is so devious, so well constructed and delivers a knock out punch that you won’t see coming. As the guests file into the breakfast room, and Anna Cowles realizes Alice is up to something again, will anyone ever reign her in and why does she think she will catch a killer but will the killer try and get her? With the help of Mariah Flores, St. Clair’s sister they devise a plan, trap a killer but who killed both Lynley and Delilah? Who had the most to gain and why? Money, Power, Revenge or a woman scorned?
Author R. J. Koreto takes Alice Roosevelt to another level as she dares those in high society, the rich and powerful to defy her wishes, not adhere to her wants and wills and takes on some powerful people in order to find out who is responsible for THE BODY IN THE BALLROOM.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ network/MJ magazine