Picks and Pans Review: Murder Takes a Partner

updated 03/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/23/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Haughton Murphy

Murphy's first mystery was set in the world of a big-league law firm. This time it's a frantic New York ballet company. The heroes again are a 75-year-old retired corporate lawyer named Reuben Frost and his New York police detective friend, Luis Bautista. Frost heads the board of a ballet company run by Clifton Holt, a great choreographer whom a large number of people hate. After a stormy rehearsal of a new ballet, Holt is stabbed in an alley. Frost and Bautista learn that the killer was paid, but there are seven people who had good reason to kill Holt: his wife, who had been mistreated; the aging ballerina, who was being phased out; his producer-lover, who was being written out of his will; the young male dancers, who had other reasons to detest him; a rich board member, who wants to take over creative control. Murphy's style, old-fashioned, knowing and nicely jaunty, is just right for this sort of entertainment. Imagine Fred Astaire in the leading role. (Simon and Schuster, $15.95)

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