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

4.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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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

Review

“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: #2,623,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a reasonably good first novel by the author. Rebecca has inherited a roller skating rink in the small town where she was raised. She takes a leave of absence from her job as a mortgage broker in Chicago with the intention of selling the rink, but there are complications. The local handyman had been working in the women's restroom, apparently fixing a stopped up commode. He is discovered by a teenager with his arms wrapped around the commode and his head underwater. There is talk about trying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but, well..., no volunteers come forward. The novel has its moments. Finding a dead body kills immediate hopes of selling the rink. Rebecca starts doing some investigative work and finds out things about many people, including things they would rather not have revealed. Someone wants her to leave town, but that's hard to do with an unsolved murder making life complicated.

The plot is overlain by various love interests, both Rebecca's and her grandfather's. There are other side issues, and there is the camel that wears hats. It makes some interesting light reading.
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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lots of humor, a little romance, interesting/appealing characters, and an irresistible small town setting featuring a skating rink make this lively book a fun, relaxing read. Rebecca Robbins left her hometown of Indian Falls for the big city of Chicago as soon as she could, but she's back now just long enough to sell the roller rink she inherited from her mother. Unfortunately a man is killed in the ladies room and no one wants to buy a rink with an unsolved murder. Since the local police aren't as motivated as she would like, Rebecca figures she has to try to solve the mystery on her own. This is definitely reminiscent--in a good way--of early Stephanie Plum novels. There is even an overly enthusiastic grandfather who reminds me a lot of Grandma Mazur. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author.
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