Timestep to Murder, by Norma Lehr: A Chorus Line Reunion Turns Deadly

“The author does a fine job of setting up the murder scene and then demonstrating how just about every other character in the book, from the former Toppettes to the mysterious private investigator who always seems to show up in unexpected places, would have had a possible motive. There are many surprises included to deepen the plot and to keep the reader guessing …. Timestep to Murder is definitely a book that will appeal to women. It has an interesting plot, intriguing characters, and an ample amount of drama. The story moves at a good pace and provides the reader with an entertaining experience.”

–Leslie Granier for Reader Views

“The book wanders around in a very pleasant way, getting to the point in its own good time and having fun doing so. The friendships, and the fights, among the characters, are well told by the author. Ms. Lehr describes the setting in such a wonderful way, and embraces the history of the place so well (the hotel was a hang-out for the Rat Pack), that I wanted to pack my bags and head up there for a few days. This is a good book, one I enjoyed very much. I am looking forward to reading more of her work.”

–Sherry Lilley, Gumshoe Reviews

Killer Nashville’s Book of the Day: “A good story with the setting almost playing a role as much as the living characters.”  Read more.

–Clay Stafford, Founder of Killer Nashville

Timestep to Murder ($13.95, ISBN: 978-1-60381-863-6, 226 pp.), by Norma Lehr, is a mystery starring a group of semi-retired showgirls who reunite to perform at the Cal Neva in Tahoe. During the rehearsal period, a killer starts to pick them off, one by one.

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“Norma Lehr’s Timestep is a toe-tapping good mystery with a chilling finale. I’m eager to read more,” says Kathleen Asay, editor of Capital Crimes: 15 tales from Sacramento Area Authors.

Cindy Sample, Author of Dying for a Date, says: “Vivid characters, a Lake Tahoe setting with ties to Sinatra’s Rat Pack, nonstop action and an engaging protagonist make this murder mystery hard to put down. Definitely a series to watch!”

Reunions Can Be Deadly. How deadly? Abby Rollins, a Manhattan Toppette in the 70s and 80s, is about to find out. She joins five other former Toppettes, once a wildly popular group of chorus line dancers, on the Celebrity Showroom stage for one weekend at the Cal Neva Resort Hotel at Lake Tahoe.

Although twenty-five years have passed since their last gig, their professional and romantic rivalries are not forgotten. With so much bad blood between them, no wonder two of the dancers end up dead. No matter what the cost, Abby is determined to absolve her best friend Renee from all suspicion. Meanwhile, who is that mysterious figure lurking backstage? Who’s leaving the anonymous notes? What about the sleazy comic who’s emceeing the event?

The group’s solid fan base and the sensational nature of the murder investigation guarantees a sold-out house. Abby’s new friend Blade, a former cop turned P.I. whose interest in Abby is more than professional, has his hands full keeping her out of danger. But is he really who he claims to be? Is anyone?

“Tap-dancing has always been a passion of mine,” says author Norma Lehr. “I was a kid who had to have taps. Now that I’m an adult, I still have tap shoes, and when the rhythm moves me, I slip them on and brush off my silver top hat. I’ve been a member of two adult dance troops who regularly performed around town. I know the thrill of the heavy curtain slowly opening as the audience applauds in anticipation, the bright stage lights at my feet, and that first downbeat of music.”

Norma Lehr is a multi-genre author of short stories, a middle-grade ghost series (Lerners and Northland), and an adult supernatural suspense novel, Dark Maiden (Juno Books, 2007). Timestep to Murder is her sixth published novel. A former nurse and health food store owner in the San Francisco Bay area, Norma now lives with her husband and two senior white pups in the beautiful Sierra Foothills where she joined a tap dancing performing group called the Timetappers. You can find Norma online at www.normalehr.com.

Timestep to Murder is available in Kindle ($4.95) and paperback editions on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon Japan, and at select Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores. Bookstores and libraries can order through Ingram or by contacting info@camelpress.com. Other electronic versions can be purchased on Smashwords, BN.com or at any of the major online ebook stores.

Keep Reading for an excerpt:

The pool area was deserted. The weather this time of the year didn’t beckon many swimmers, only the hearty. She stopped and gazed down into the clear water. A thick blue line painted on the bottom spanned the width of the pool, separating Nevada from California. Before she left here, she made a mental note to swim from one state to the other. Cross that line. Ah hah. She shuddered. That might not be the only line she’d cross at the Cal Neva if she went ahead and entered Melanie’s chalet without permission.

Abby cut through the bar and found the others, all except Jan and Dana, having coffee in the restaurant. She hoped the maid had put in the order for Dana. She needed a shot of caffeine to lift her up.

The other women gathered at the table had all changed from their dance togs into casual clothes and, with lowered voices, were discussing the horrible way Melanie had died. “I ordered you a Chai,” Renee said, patting the seat next to her. “How’s Dana holding up? She looked really bad when she got back.”

All eyes turned to Abby. “It’s tough for her. Apparently Melanie doesn’t have any family. Dana had to make the call to the academy in San Diego and tell them what happened.”

Gail stood to leave. “Well, I’m going to do some gambling on the old slot machines. Pulling a handle and letting those colored symbols roll down and across are Zen for me. Negative thoughts fly out of my head, and everything wonderful happens when the red sevens line up.”

“Good for you.” Blythe folded her napkin into a triangle. “Go meditate.” She looked around at the others. “What about our performance? Is it still on? Has anyone spoken to Jan since Melanie …?” Blythe’s voice quivered.

Gail nodded. “I spoke to her a while ago, over by the roulette wheel. She says there’s no problem. She’s expecting reporters to show up soon because bad publicity always brings in a crowd of curiosity seekers. There she is now, and look who’s with her, Dana.

Wonder what that’s about.”

All heads turned. “Maybe she’s backing out of the performance,” Blythe said.

Renee lifted her chin. “Or she’s pulled herself together like the trooper she is and is letting Jan know the show must go on.”

Abby hoped Renee was right. It did seem odd to see Dana up at the tables looking fresh-faced after what she’d divulged to Abby earlier. “Well, Jan told us that if we had questions, she’d be happy to answer them … that she’d be in the casino somewhere. Maybe Dana has a question.” Abby finished off her tea. “So, let’s go on over. Personally, I need to know if we’re planning to continue. If we are, I want to hear it straight from Jan. If not, I’ve got to make a call and try to reach a friend who’s planning to be here.” She gave Renee a wink. “I don’t want to disappoint him.”

“Either way, whether we dance or not, I hope he does come,” said Renee. “If Melanie’s death escalates into murder and any one of us becomes a suspect, we can use some help from an ex-cop.”

On their way to join Jan and Dana, Abby couldn’t stop thinking about Melanie’s chalet. She felt an irrational urge to get in there. A gut feeling told her that, even if there wasn’t a suicide note, she might find something that the deputies might miss or misinterpret.

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