Want some novel reading to go along with your Olympics watching? As the women's figure skating finals come into view, read up on the world behind the scenes in Alina Adams' hilarious and entertaining mystery, Murder on Ice.
Granted, Murder on Ice is set at the world championships, but close enough. For those of us who follow figure skating once every four years, this is all a fun new experience.
Full disclosure up front: I happened to tell Alina Adams on Twitter (I think? It was awhile ago — I am anything but prompt!) that I loved her book (the paperback version) and was going to review it on my blog, and she offered to send me the multimedia Kindle version as well. So this isn't a sponsored post, but I did get a free enhanced e-book out of it!
So, this all makes me want to review Murder on Ice first as a reader — and then as a writer. It's an inspiring book in both categories!
Reader's reviewBex Levy is a researcher for the TV series 24/7, and she's in charge of knowing everything — absolutely everything — about the figure skating competition that the famous commentators might need for their patter and that the show might need for choosing camera angles and interview opportunities.
I came across the term micro-niche, and I love it. As a reader, it means you can find something written specifically to your interests: In this case, you can enjoy a peek into the world of figure skating and the world of being a professional TV researcher, as well as enjoy a cozy mystery along the way. I suppose some readers choose interests that already align with what they know; I actually love opportunities like this, where I get to see into a life I've never led.
It's not enough just to have an intriguing setting, though — fortunately, the book comes through with a clever mystery and plenty of funny. An Italian judge is murdered — and Bex's boss decides that, as a researcher, Bex is the perfect person to find the killer in time to reveal on air at the finale! But no pressure.
Bex, underpaid and generally beleaguered, sees no choice but to agree. She does already know all the players and quickly becomes adept at nosily sussing out their secrets.
One of my favorite passages is when Bex considers the lengthy and detailed descriptive travel passages in mystery fiction. I've often wondered about the same thing.
"As a reader, Bex had assumed the technique was nothing more than filler. […] However, now that she was a sleuth herself, Bex decided to give all those poor, maligned writers the benefit of the doubt and guess that the interminable itinerary listing was actually a sensible way of organizing their thoughts in a linear fashion, the better to make sense of the knotty puzzle before them."
She decides to give it a go:
"She noted that they seemed to be driving down Nineteenth Avenue. The street was … street colored. Concrete colored. Gray.
And, anyway, now they had left Nineteenth Avenue and were driving through Golden Gate Park, which was pretty and green, as parks are wont to be. Finally, they pulled out of the park and alongside the Pacific Ocean. It was blue and big and, presumably wet."