“Skating on Thin Ice” by Jessica Fletcher

A Skating Book for the Beach Bag

"Murder, She Wrote: Skating on Thin Ice" by Jessica Fletcher & Donald Bain

I’ll be honest: the last time I recall watching “Murder, She Wrote” was at least ten years ago, sitting next to my grandmother on her floral-print sofa. I never objected to watching the show with her, though it wasn’t something that I followed when I went home. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Jessica Fletcher’s amateur detective world is still alive and well!

The television series may have ended in 1996, but its presence continues in the form of TV movies, a book series and even a computer game.

It is the book series that is pertinent, because the latest title is “Skating on Thin Ice.” In it, Ms. Fletcher investigates suspicious events, culminating with a murder that occurs when a world-class coach and a new pairs team arrive in a small town in Maine and whose sole objective is to revitalize an interest in figure skating.

With enough twists and turns to delight lovers of the mystery genre, the most striking part of Donald Bain’s new book is how accurately he has captured details of the skating world.

The star pairs team in the book is an American-Russian hybrid. Bain’s explanation with respect to the process of switching countries is commendable.

The dedication page thanks Dick Button and, indeed, some of the skating descriptions do sound like they were lifted from an ABC broadcast, but I will take borrowed Button comments over fabricated elements.

The novel is not meant to inspire critical thought, and the writing style of the dialogue has more choreography than a level four footwork sequence, but I would recommend the book to any mystery reader who also loves skating. Throw it in your beach bag this summer, and spend an afternoon in the sun with it.

Originally published in August 2011