The Body in the Ballroom

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 May 2018

Member Reviews

Alice Roosevelt is at her best in this wonderful sequel to Alice and the Assassin by R. J. Koreto.  When a guest is poisoned at one of the New York City's most highly anticipated debutante balls of the season where Alice is a guest, she is determined to find out what happened, especially when the police arrest a friend.  With her Secret Service bodyguard, Joseph St. Clair, at her side, she is determined to clear Peter Carlyle's name and bring the real killer to light.

This book is truly engaging, and I loved just sitting back and enjoying the ride as Agent St. Clair narrates Alice's quest for justice.  Alice is a young woman (now all of 18) not to be toyed with and is never daunted by the tasks at hand.  I especially enjoyed her impromptu "breakfast meetings" where she gathered information from people from all walks of life to aid in her investigation.

I highly recommend this book as well as the first book in this series, Alice and the Assassin.  R. J. Koreto's Alice Roosevelt is a wonderful character, and I look forward to reading more about her adventures in future books in this series.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley.  All thoughts and opinions are solely my own.
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Thank you so much for approving me for a copy of this book! Please see “note to publisher” section for my thoughts.
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R. J. Koreto immerses us into the intrigues of old monied society in New York before the First World War in The Body in the Ballroom. Alice Roosevelt the 18 year old of President Roosevelt was present when the first body dropped in a New York ballroom. To save a black auto mechanic and chauffeur who is falsely accused she and her Secret Service agent body guard turn sleuth among high society and lower class New York. Alice smokes and places bets with a bookie; she wants a revolver. She is always Trouble for her body guard.  Read this very amusing whodunit.
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I wanted to like this so much yet it veered a little bit too much to the cozy side for me.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth was a remarkable woman, even though at the time these books take place, she was more a mischevious and somewhat spoiled teen. While we see her burgeoning strength of character here, it is characterized as more spoiled playacting rather than the woman that she would grow up to be. She's ready to bend mores at will, treats her Secret Service man as both a friend and a lacky at the same time and just didn't fit with the woman that I have studied in biographies and other histories. 

While as a period cozy, it was entertaining, I couldn't help cringe of her characterization, a woman that I've learned to see as the grand dame of Washington D.C. Society for years.
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Thank you netgalley for E-Arc.
Dnf
The title sounds that of any Agatha Christie mysteries, and synopsis was interesting enough.

I'd a difficult time getting into this book, the narrative was at the start telling than showing. Somehow I didn't feel the mystery pulling me into the story, I guess it just wasn't my cup of tea
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This is the second book in the Alice Roosevelt series, and I really enjoyed it.  I really like historical fiction, and I could tell that the author did quite a bit of research into what life was like in the early 1900's.  The plot was interesting and the characters are well drawn.

When a partygoer drinks poisoned punch, Alice starts to investigate with the help of her Secret Service agent.  She is independent and headstrong, and won't stop until the real murderer is found.

I recommend this book along with the first one in the series.  Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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In the second of a series, Alice Roosevelt returns to her sleuthing ways when a partygoer drinks a deadly cocktail at a high-society ball. Using her contacts—she is the daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt, after all—Alice drags her bodyguard, Secret Service Agent Joseph St. Clair—into the investigation.

Lynley Brackton drank the same punch that everyone else did at the party—a longtime tradition at the party, even though it wasn’t to most people’s tastes. But it especially wasn’t to Brackton’s taste, as his glass had the deadly poison wolfsbane. Police focus in on a black mechanic, Peter Carlyle, as the suspect, although there is no evidence to support this theory. Both Alice and St. Clair know Peter is innocent and being targeted mostly for the color of his skin, and so they set out to catch the real killer. Along the way, they uncover a shadowy group called the XVII, influential men who want to keep immigrants out of New York City; a secret that is being kept by Jewish financiers (themselves in the outsider circle among the high-society types); and a young couple who is trying to keep their mixed-race marriage from being discovered. 

Alice, a headstrong 18-year-old Alice, thrives on excitement. To the exasperation of her aunt Anna Cowles, who is hosting her in New York City, Alice is soon inviting journalists and policemen to her aunt’s home, while also inserting herself wherever there is information to gain, from the parlors of the wealthy to the worst neighborhoods of early 20th-century New York. St. Clair, the book’s narrator, barely keeps up with Alice, saving her from harm more than once.

Much is changing in the city, with automobiles still sharing the streets with horse-drawn carriages. But the biggest changes are perhaps the demographics of the city, a growing mix of Irish, Italians, Chinese, blacks, and many others—and not everyone is as open-minded and welcoming as the Roosevelts and St. Clair. 

The book is fiction, of course, but one hopes that Alice, who in real life was a rebellious teen, would also have stood up for the disenfranchised had she faced these same circumstances. Historical fiction buffs can’t go wrong with THE BODY IN THE BALLROOM.
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A medium paced murder mystery that is full of droll dry wit if the reader is astute and able to separate the wheat from the chaff. It is an art, the in it's self, to be able to pluck forth a real life figure and then build a fictionalized story which will hold the reader's attention. This story held my attention from beginning to end and gave me a lot of chuckles while doing so.

I have rated this book 5 stars.

I received an ARC from Netgalley for my unbiased opinion.
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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Body in the Ballroom
(An Alice Roosevelt Mystery #2) by R.J. Koreto from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Having read and reviewed Mr Koreto’s first book in the series, Alice and the Assassin, I have to say he has outdone himself, this book is fantastic!

Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of President Roosevelt, after being banished to Washington due to her exploits in “Alice and the Assassin”, has returned to NewYork with Joe St.Clair, her re-assigned secret service agent in tow. While attending a debutante ball a murder occurs forcing Alice and St.Clair to plunge headfirst into the start of an intriguing, thrilling plot that will keep you guessing. Mr Koreto has done an amazing job at combining history, fiction, intrigue and humour in his work as well as tackling some relevant (then and now) issues such as racism, misogyny and antisemitism with tact and class.

Although at first, I was sure I knew who did it, I was left second guessing with all of Mr Koreto’s cleverly placed red herrings. I also love the development that has taken place in Alice. At eighteen years old now, still young in many ways, she is coming into her own with her intelligence, fearlessness and pride. Still precocious in so many ways, there is a softer side, a genuineness, blooming that endears you to her.  Agent St. Clair is also showing development and you have to appreciate him for his patience…and oh what patience he has. This time around there was also a nice secondary cast of characters, although some made appearances in his last book, this book I felt more of a camaraderie between them.

I have always been a fan of authors such as Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle, in my opinion, R.J. Koreto is joining them.  This book would be great as a stand-alone, but I do recommend reading the first as it is also a fantastic read, both I feel are suitable for most ages.  A fun, brilliant read that will keep you turning pages!
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Alice Roosevelt, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt is invited to the Rutledge Ball where a man dies. Although this man is hated by nearly all at the ball, and is deemed unreliable, it is a car mechanic who is arrested. As he is a good friend of Alice's secret service bodyguard Joseph St. Clair, they both decide to clear his name.
I enjoyed this mystery and it kept be entertained until the end. I look forward to reading more in the series. Although this is the second in the series it was easily read as a stand-alone story.
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The Body in the Ballroom is the second book in the Alice Roosevelt mystery series by R. J. Koreto. Published by Crooked Lane Books, it's 293 pages, and released 12 June, 2018.

This is a period cozy murder mystery written around a framework of actual history and historical characters. For fans of period cozies, this one is well written and well plotted. I admire the author's facility with lining up a veritable stable of possible murderers and eliminating them one by one. My 'favorite' for whodunnit was eliminated by the middle of the book and the denouement had me sitting up in my reading chair saying 'well played, Mr. Koreto, well played'.

First daughter, Alice Roosevelt, and her secret service bodyguard are back in this book and investigating the murder of a despicable but rich and powerful man at a debutante ball given in honor of Alice's friend.

There were several places in the narrative where I found myself yanked out of my suspension of disbelief because of anachronistic behaviors or actions from the characters. I give the author a lot of latitude because it IS a cozy. People who come into the series expecting anything resembling meticulously rendered history are going to be disappointed. I also felt that there was entirely too much word count devoted to smoking (rolling, lighting, etc), but in the Edwardian era I guess they did smoke a lot.

Alice was depicted as mostly playful and occasionally scandalous, and I liked her a lot better in the pages of this book than the often wantonly malicious real-historical-version. I liked that she visited her bookie, drank and otherwise did pretty much exactly what she wanted.

The author's use of the first person narrative was deftly handled. He's a gifted and capable writer.

Four stars, I enjoyed it very much. The book can easily be read as a standalone, there won't be any trouble getting up to speed and figuring out who's who.
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The writing was so sappy and this book did not hold my attention at all.
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I have always admired Alice Roosevelt, so outspoken, so full of life and determination so this series was an instant favorite for me. We get to know 18 year old Alice and her former Rough Rider, former deputy sheriff from Laramie, WY now Secret Service agent, Joseph (Joey) St. Clair. St. Clair served with Teddy Roosevelt and has been tasked with keeping Alice safe. San Juan Hill and the wild west of Laramie can't hold a candle to the challenge of keeping up with a free spirit like Alice. She calls him Cowboy and he calls her Princess (she was know as Princess Alice). She speaks her mind, ventures out to places proper ladies shouldn't even know exist and, by the way, she smokes and hates bourbon.
Here we are in the second adventure for Alice and St. Clair. While attending a debutant ball, a guest keels over dead, poisoned by a really nasty punch, hated by almost everybody but it's a tradition that everybody must drink at least a few sips. That's all it takes to kill the guest. Other deaths follow and Alice and St. Clair are in the thick of it because Alice was one of the guests at the party and was near the punch bowl when the poor man took his fatal sip. Reluctantly, the police engage her help because there is no way an Irish cop could get the information needed to catch the killer. Alice is in her element and St. Clair has to run to keep up with her. Under other circumstances, Alice would have made a great detective. 
The relationships between the characters is well developed, funny and I love the banter between Alice and St. Clair, it's based on mutual respect. As for her Aunt..well, let's just say I would never want to get on her bad side. She is truly a force to be reckoned with, which is a Roosevelt family trait. 
The mystery is very good and has depth to it, addressing the issues of immigrants, religion and racial interactions - they all figure into the motive and means of the crimes. How far did someone go to try to keep the status quo? Leave it to Alice to figure it out. I'm eager to read the next mystery Alice and St. Clair get mixed up in. It's bound to be a doozy.
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Alice Roosevelt is back in "The Body in the Ballroom", the second in R.J. Koreto’s series featuring Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter, who was a “media darling” of the early 1900s in the United States.  (If Alice was alive today she would have her own reality TV show and a vast Twitter following, indubitably.)  

This mystery is once again set among the hoi polloi of New York.  When a member of this American aristocracy, albeit a despised one, is murdered, his peers are very, very happy to let sleeping dogs (literally and figuratively) lie.  Which might be good enough for someone who isn’t the daughter of the President of the United States.  Especially when the eyes of the police fall on an African-American mechanic who just happens to have argued with the un-lamented deceased.  Aided by her long-suffering bodyguard Joseph St. Clair, she sets out to find the culprit, along the way rubbing shoulders with every level of society and uncovering a mysterious group of men who are quite willing to do anything necessary to achieve their (dubious) aims.

As in the first book, Alice is a wonderfully realized, a fully alive character, and Joe St. Clair ain’t far behind.  The author uses the “real” Alice to full effect, bringing to his readers someone who we truly would be privileged to know.  I look forward to further adventures.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the copy of this book, in exchange for this review.
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I was thrilled to get the chance to read the sequel to Alice and the Assassin. Alice Roosevelt is a fabulous character, just as colorful in the series as she was in real life. Joseph St. Clair returns to be her bodyguard in the book and one of the first events they do are a ball. Well, not together, it's Alice that's going to the ball, Agent St. Clair is just waiting for her and playing poker with drivers, etc. Just a peaceful evening. Until Alice finds St. Clair and tells her there is a dead body...

The Body in the Ballroom is a good sequel to Alice and the Assassin. I have become quite fond of Alice Roosevelt. She's a bit unconventional and that's something I truly enjoy. It would be great fun to see her interact with her cousin Eleanor in some book in the future. Especially since they don't like each other.

The man that was killed was pretty much hated by everyone, but when a good friend to both Alice and St. Clair is accused of the murder must they act fast to catch the real murderer. Now they just have to find who hated him enough to kill him. The drawback with this murder investigations was that I suspected the truth for a long time before it was revealed that I was right. It was not that hard to figure out the truth, to be honest. The story would have been much more interesting if there had been some surprising twist to it. But, all and all a really nice book and I will definitely read more books in the series.
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The Body in the Ballroom is the second book in Alice Roosevelt Mystery series.
Although this is the first book in the series that I have read I had no trouble at all getting into the story or familiarizing myself with the characters. I usually don't read historical mysteries so this was quite a treat for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The lady in question is no other than President Theodore Roosevelt's daring daughter who with her faithful bodyguard Agent St.Clair is determined to prove that their friend is not quitly of murdering a member of high society. 
Full of suspense, with a clever plot and with many mischievous situations that Alice gets them into this was a truly charming read. I liked all characters, both big and small. and it was really fun going back to the past.
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I can't think of a more perfect historical figure to be an amateur detective than Alice Roosevelt.  While I don't know that she was ever involved in a murder investigation I feel if she wasn't it was circumstance than desire.  Having the POV told through her body guard Secret Service Agent and former Rough Rider, Joseph St. Clair added a bit of maturity, balance, and humor to Alice's more impulsive hard headed nature.  St. Clair's obvious fondness for Alice tempers his exasperation at her never quite sticking to script and I found the sympathy he received from others for his job pretty funny. 

Alice is so sure of herself and doesn't hesitate to barrel into a situation without necessarily knowing the full situation.  She throws her status around as the President's daughter fairly regularly but is also fully conscious that her identity and her social status are tools she can use to get people to talk to her and never comes off as believing that she is above anyone.  I liked that while most of the time she is so confident that every once in awhile little bits of softness or insecurity will show and there are times when she seems very very young.

The mystery was very well done and I found the avenues St. Clair and Alice pursued fascinating and I enjoyed the bits of history mixed in with a solid mystery.  I must admit that I was a bit surprised by the final outcome.  The Historical Note that Koreto added at the end of the book was very informative as to who the characters were based on and what was going on at the time of the investigation.  I think I'll be looking for a biography on Alice herself as this book very much made me want to learn more about her. 

If you're looking for an enjoyable fast paced historical mystery with a nice dash of history and a lot of fun than this is a must read!
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Joseph St Clair, who narrates this fun mystery novel, is the Secret Service Agent assigned to protect Alice Roosevelt, which turns out to be as much of a challenge as being a Rough Rider.  Only 18, she's already been involved in one murder case (I didn't read the first book but this one catches you up just fine) and now, when she's supposed to be doing the debutante thing, there's another.  Koreto does a nice job of capturing the essence of the culture and the time- and Alice's voice.  This is funny, sometimes in an understated way that might have you going back to the line, and it's well plotted.  A few twists. Who murdered Lynley Brackton and why is at the root of this one.  No spoilers.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  For fans of the genre as well as those looking for a good read.
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I would like to thank Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  Even Alice Roosevelt’s father, President Teddy Roosevelt, acknowledged that he could be President or control Alice, but not both.  In The Body in the Ballroom that job falls to Secret Service Agent Joey St. Clair, a former deputy sheriff in Wyoming and Rough Rider.  It takes all of his patience and skills to keep her out of trouble.

At the debutant ball of her friend, Linley Brockton, a man who is hated by everyone, is poisoned.  St. Clair’s Friend, an Afrio-American mechanic,  had a disagreement with Brockton and is now suspected of the murder.  It is up to Alice and St. Clair to clear his name, a job that Alice is eager to jump into.  From the mansions of uptown New York to the less savory areas of the city, Alice plunged ahead as St. Clair strives to keep her safe and out of the newspapers.  As their investigation progresses they discover a powerful group consisting of members with similar backgrounds, education and family connections.  Brockton was a member of this group, but did this have any connection to his murder?

Alice Roosevelt is a spirited young woman who is willing to take risks and often forges ahead without thoughts of danger, depending on St. Clair to keep her safe.  She is also capable of being diplomatic when dealing with figures of authority.  R.J. Koreto’sportrayal of Alice as an investigator is sometimes amusing, sometimes gripping, but always entertaining.
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Ex-Rough Rider Joseph St Clair has joined the Secret Service and his duty is to look after President Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, Alice, who is not a typical late 19th/early 20thC young society woman. For one, she smokes. She also visits bookies, spends time in the company of 'non-society' types, and, in this instance at least, solves murders.

I'm not American so the historical aspect of presidents and their families isn't that interesting to me, but I did learn that Alice was very real, only died in 1980, and was actually the controversial, outspoken and fascinating woman more or less depicted in the book. She sounds like a real kick! Certainly well ahead of her time and very much her own woman.

This second installment finds Agent St Claire back in Washington to keep an eye on Alice, who has been brought back from New York in order that her aunt and father can keep a somewhat closer eye on her. When Lynley Barker, an 'unreliable' member of Society and the group the XVII, drops dead at a Society party, no one is upset but a few are curious enough to wonder who actually did it. An easy suspect in the form of African-American mechanic, Peter Carlyle, is arrested by the police and most consider it over and done with. He'd had an argument with the victim earlier about a car. Society, after all, protects one from the uncomfortable and nastier things in life like murder and cushions one from even being questioned about it. The blacks, the Irish, the Chinese, the Jews - no one would care if any of them were arrested for it, whether they did it or not.

Alice dislikes the fact that her friend Peter has been arrested, simply because the police are lazy and no one is making any real effort to find the killer. Once a second body is discovered, however, the police get a little bit more interested, but it's Alice who continues to lead the charge, figuring out how the two victims are related and what they both have to with the secret XVII club.

The mystery flows well and has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, although I was right about the killer. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the fact that it was based on a real person who, by the sounds of things, may actually have done very well if she'd taken it upon herself to investigate a murder or two!

Several passages, however, where nothing happened and did nothing to move the story forward or add anything to it were left in. These could easily be removed and not affect the story in any way.
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