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Skating Around the Law: A Mystery (Rebecca Robbins Mysteries) Hardcover – September 28, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Rebecca Robbins has come home to Indian Falls, to the roller rink she inherited from her mother, intending to sell it and return to her life as a mortgage broker in Chicago. However, when she finds handyman Mack dead in one of the rink’s restroom stalls, it puts a crimp in prospects of a sale. The sheriff prefers to concentrate on his gardening, so Rebecca decides it’s up to her to solve the case, which means delving into Mack’s secrets. She also has to deal with people in town who treat her as an outsider, with her sexually frisky grandfather, with a handsome hunk of a veterinarian and his retired circus camel, and with a boss in Chicago who thinks he’s got “dibs” on her. Charbonneau’s debut mystery has much that is familiar, with its small-town setting and hints of romance, but her quirky characters, the roller rink, and the side plot involving Mack’s secret business add fun touches. And, of course, readers will love Elwood the camel. --Kat Kan


“Rebecca's investigative work is clever and offbeat.” ―Chicago Sun-Times

“Funny and sexy, with a teasing mystery. Janet Evanovich fans will find Charbonneau's debut a good fix while they're waiting for Stephanie Plum's latest.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Roller skates and crime don't mix, or do they? In Charbonneau's fresh, funny debut they most certainly do.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Joelle Charbonneau with her debut novel shows she knows how to craft a great mystery and she has wonderful timing, which she uses deftly in this small town murder story. Rebecca Robbins is a character that is hard not to love, funny, smart and an amateur detective who can think on her feet, or skates. Pick this up, you'll enjoy it.” ―Crimespree Magazine

“Let Joelle Charbonneau skate into your imagination with a sparkling mystery featuring a spirited heroine and a small town populated with lively characters. Joelle is a charmer of a writer.” ―New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips


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Product Details

  • Series: Rebecca Robbins Mysteries (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031262980X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312629809
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,261,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joelle Charbonneau is a storyteller at heart. She has performed in a variety of operas, musical theatre and children's theatre productions across the Chicagoland area. In addition to her stage work, Joelle has also performed with several bands and worked as a solo performer.

While Joelle is happy to perform for an audience, she is equally delighted to teach private voice lessons and use her experience from the stage to create compelling characters in her books. She is the author of the NY Times and USA Today Best Selling THE TESTING TRILOGY (The Testing, Independent Study and Graduation Day) as well as the Rebecca Robbins (Minotaur Books), the Glee Club Paige Marshall (Berkley) mysteries. Her books have been nominated for the Agatha and Anthony Awards as well as listed on the YALSA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and nominated for the YALSA Top Ten books for 2014.

To learn more, visit Joelle at her website:

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#96 in Books > Teens
#96 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Chris La Tray on October 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What struck me the most about this novel was the strong thread of humor running throughout, and I enjoyed the heck out of that. There is an excellent cast of characters holding up an interesting little whodunnit, with just enough twists and mild coincidences to keep the story flowing. An excellent first novel from Ms. Charbonneau!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. White on October 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When Rebecca Robbins returns home to tiny Indian Falls, Illinois she initially thinks she has one problem to deal with - selling the roller rink she inherited from her mother - but ends up with something decidedly more ominous on her hands... a dead body in one of the roller rink's bathrooms.

Though at first it looks like an accident or suicide given the bottle of prescription pills found nearby, the town's doctor / coroner soon rules it a homicide making Rebecca's task of selling the roller rink even more difficult. (Who wants to buy a murder scene?)

And if a dead body throwing a monkey wrench into her plans to make a quick sale and hightail it back to Chicago wasn't bad enough, the glacial pace - and incompetence - of local law enforcement's investigation makes the prospect of Rebecca ever getting out of Dodge look downright grim.

What's a girl to do? Take matters into her own hands, of course. So, with the "help" of her grandfather, Pop, Rebecca becomes a reluctant detective... and finds more than she expected.

Author Joelle Charbonneau has obviously drawn upon her extensive experience in the performing arts to give each of her characters a strong, and unique, voice. From Rebecca (who has a wonderful mix of whimsy and level-headedness), to Pop (who's both well connected and disturbingly "active" in the town's retired community), to Neil (Rebecca's seriously misguided boss and would-be suitor), to Lionel (the veterinarian Rebecca loves to hate... or is it hates to love?), to Elwood the camel, every character has an incredibly rich, fully realized personality (yes, a camel can have a personality... trust me on this.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Barna W. Donovan on November 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Joelle Charbonneau's first novel, Skating Around the Law, is a great example of the way the cozy mystery can be given a refreshing new twist of a wry, almost subversive sense of humor, all the while delivering a satisfying mystery that will leave the reader guessing whodunit until the conclusion.

Well in line with the classic conventions of the genre, Skating Around the Law's heroine and amateur sleuth is the cute, determined Rebecca Robbins, the owner of a roller rink in a small Illinois town who finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery when a corpse turns up in her establishment's bathroom. Hoping to sell the rink as fast as she can so she can get back to Chicago, Rebecca needs to outwit a killer who seems to be too many steps ahead of the ineffectual local cops.

Aside from the engaging Rebecca and the oddball cast of supporting characters, what makes this book a winner is the way it doesn't merely enact the requirements of the genre, but slyly comments on and parodies many of them as well. Plus, in a mystery subgenre full of quaint small towns, Skating Around the Law makes a few very effectively pointed comments about some of the not-so-cozy aspects of insular, traditional little communities where - for good or ill - everyone knows everyone.

For a fun mystery with quirky characters and an edgy sense of humor, you should treat yourself to Joelle Charbonneau's Skating Around the Law as soon as you can.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on October 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Thirtyish Chicago mortgage broker Rebecca Robbins inherits a roller skating rink from her deceased mom in her hometown of Indian Falls, Illinois. She has no plans to keep it and wants to sell it as soon as possible. However, her plan to sell immediately is placed on hold when maintenance man Mack Murphy is found dead with his head in a toilet and prescription pills on the floor nearby.

The obvious conclusion is suicide, but medical examiner Doc Truman thinks a homicide occurred. Remaining in town longer than she planned, Rebecca considers sleuthing to expedite the sale as the cops seem more Keystone than detective; while her grandfather Pop, veterinarian Lionel Franklin and Elwood the retired circus camel want her to stay.

This is a well written amusing amateur sleuth that readers will enjoy as the locals (except the above mentioned trio) no longer consider Rebecca a native as she is Chicago tainted especially since she could not wait to leave town from the moment her dad deserted her and her mom. The story line is faster than a spin around the track, but it is the jocularity that makes Skating Around the Law an entertaining whodunit.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Julie Johnson on October 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What a great debut for Joelle Charbonneau!

In Skating Around The Law, Rebecca is feisty & funny as she begrudgingly reacquaints herself with her childhood hometown. Hilarity ensures as Rebecca tries to overcome the ineptitude of the town sheriff's department while trying to solve a murder so she can return to her `real life' in the city.

Outstanding characters make this book something special (I personally love Elwood). It's a funny and engrossing read that you just hate to put down.
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