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A Manhattan Murder Mystery

(An Irina Curtius Mystery )

Written by Susan Bernhardt


Irina Curtius, a retired ballet dancer living on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, runs a ballet studio for young children. Recently, she has been watching her younger and otherwise healthy neighbor, Stephen Kramer, become ill over time. When Stephen travels for business, his health always seems to improve dramatically after he has been away, but only temporarily. Within days of returning home, his health begins to deteriorate again. On top of that, Stephen has added stress due to problems he is having with his wife and his irate live-in sister-in-law. Sadly, Stephen's last bout with his mysterious illness has proven to be fatal. Unsatisfied with the official explanation and in order to deliver justice for her friend and neighbor, Irina sets out to uncover the truth and prove that Stephen was indeed murdered.

It won't be easy, though. A former lover from Irina's college days at NYU has suddenly reinserted himself into her life, wanting to pick up where they left off. Additionally, a strange newcomer arrives in Irina's neighborhood and he now seems to be shadowing Irina, appearing everywhere she goes. The story that unfolds, interwoven in the everyday lives of Irina and her social circle, highlights the unpredictability of life, the best and worst of humanity, and the powerful bonds that drive people together (and apart).


Other Published Works:

The Ginseng Conspiracy - Murder Under the Tree - Murder By Fireworks - October 31st - Midsummer - John and Madeleine


Reviews of A Manhattan Murder Mystery

Superbly written! Loved it!! - I am a big fan of anything Susan Bernhardt writes. Her storyline and details, in all of her books are a fan favorite. A Manhattan Murder Mystery has mystery, intrigue, and all the above for you to enjoy. After the sudden death of Irina's friend and neighbor Stephen, she feels something is foul. His death is ruled a suicide and she will not hear of it. She is determined to prove her friend was murdered and sets out to unravel, piece by piece, each and every detail. With her list of suspects in hand, she is determined to see the person or persons responsible, answer for this crime. She enlists the help of several friends to embark on her journey. Irina also has several surprises of her own come to light. Her own life will take several new journeys during this adventure, as well.

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I hated to see this book end! - I finished Manhattan last night. I loved it. I hated to see it end, although solving murders is a good thing. You are so gifted. I can almost see this story as a theater play? I look forward to book 5. Keep writing.

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Excellent!! - I throughly enjoyed this book. I hated to come to the end because I was enjoying the characters so much!!

The main character, Irina, teaches ballet to children in Manhattan. She is a retired ballerina who traveled to many countries in her career. She has become concerned about her friend, and neighbor, Stephen. He looks seriously ill to her. Neither his wife, or sister- in- law (who lives wife them) are concerned at all. When he dies, Irina can't shake the feeling that he was murdered.. The authorities think otherwise, so she begins to investigate, herself. She suspects that his wife and her sister have conspired to murder him. During this time she has an old and new romance beginning. I hope this is the first of many stories with Irina and her friends. I highly recommend this book.

If you haven't read the author's Kay Driscoll, series, you should. It's very, very, good!! The first book is, The Ginseng Conspiracy. I think you will be glad you did.

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If you love NYC, you'll love this book! - Susan Berhardt excels at description. She captures the energy of the city & will make you love it, too. And oh the food! Don't start your diet while reading this book. Lovely characters, even the bad guys. A sweet romance for older characters makes this a good read.

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Another great cozy mystery! - I was already a Susan Bernhardt fan, so I had pretty high expectations for this book. I wasn't disappointed! As in her Kay Driscoll mysteries, the characters are compelling, and the descriptions (especially of food!) really pull you into the story. I particularly enjoyed the twists in this novel. It kept me guessing until the end. And the slight Kay Driscoll cross-over was a delightful little surprise. Here's hoping there will be more Irina Curtius adventures in the future!

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Another great book by Susan Bernhardt! A+++++ - Well, I guess I've become a cozy mystery fan!! I've been an avid reader all my life and never really cared for mysteries. But, thanks to Susan Bernhardt, I have added a new genre to my reading list.

If you liked the Kay Driscoll series (and if you didn't like it, then you obviously haven't read it yet); you will love her new amateur sleuth, Irina Curtius. With "The Manhattan Murder Mystery", Susan has created another suspenseful "whodunit" that you will find hard to put down!

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Dancing to the Top - With her new book, A Manhattan Murder Mystery, Susan Bernhardt, author of the Kay Driscoll series, grand jetes into the stratosphere, elevating herself miles above all other cozy writers. A Manhattan Murder revolves about a retired ballerina, Irina Curtius, who lives in Manhattan's Upper West Side and owns a dance academy where she teaches ballet to young children.

Bernhardt's prose flows gracefully like a ballerina in perpetual motion. Her scenes at the academy are so realistic, a reader can almost hear a Beethoven or Chopin melody in the background, guiding the steps of the young dancers. The playing belongs to Jerome, a pianist, who has been Irina's friend since her college days. Unbeknownst to Irina, Jerome arranges a reunion with one of Irina's past lovers. The encounter rekindles emotions Irina thought she had squelched long ago. Can she trust Robert, who once had walked out on her when he felt her career was more important that their relationship? Had he changed all that much? Was he really in town to be with her When Irina and Robert attend a performance of Swan Lake at the State Theatre, a scene arresting for its visual and emotional impact, Bernhard explores feelings of love and betrayal, which lies at the core of the ballet and parallels Irina's emotions in her personal life. Will she end up like Odette, the tragic heroine in Tchaikovsky's romantic ballet?

As she continues to question her future with Robert, one of Irina's neighbors dies under mysterious circumstances. Irina suspects foul play and decides to investigate and bring the killer to justice, which she does with the help of a mystery man, who appears in Irina's life and turns out to be far from a stranger. By introducing this character--whose identity Bernhardt's doesn't reveal until the latter part of the book--she adds a layer of intrigue that has become the author's trademark. In her successful Kay Driscoll series, for example, particularly in The Ginseng Conspiracy, Bernhardt's uses unexpected plot twists to create a mountain of suspense that never crumbles until the end, a technique that reminds this reader of Agatha Christie's works, most notably, And Then There Were None.

After all is said and done, and the final curtain comes down on this delightful cozy dance, I envision Irina and Bernhard taking their bows in front of an appreciative audience of readers. Bravi! Bravi! Encore!

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A Classy Who-Dunnit - I love the "cozy feel" of the worlds Susan Bernhardt creates. She welcomes you into the story with a refined finesse only a talented writer can conjure, and doesn't let you leave until all the pieces of the mystery fit together. Her characters come to life and the plot line is intriguing. I recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers and especially those with a soft spot for Manhattan, the ballet and music.

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"A Manhattan Murder Mystery" is yet another great novel by Susan Bernhardt. Susan lives in Wisconsin so I wondered just what she knew about New York City. Since I'm a native New Yorker which means I'm always ready to fight any outsiders who think they know enough to write about the New York I read this book with my boxing gloves on ready for a good brawl with Ms. Bernhardt. It never happened. Everyone writes about the Statue of Liberty, the World Trade Center, the Empire State building, that's easy, just Google those popular sites and you have all the information you need just by sitting in bed in your pajamas but Susan's description of Manhattan was different.

She not only described the Upper West Side to perfection with its neighborhood stores and the pre war apartment buildings but she somehow got the feel of what living in New York is all about. Every neighborhood is its own country and every apartment building is its own city. Apartment buildings actually do have "mayors" who people go to when they need someone to talk to and I'm not talking about a condo board. And walking from one neighborhood to another you kind of need a passport to pass through with people watching any strangers who pass by their buildings. Most writers who don't live in New York don't get that but somehow Ms. Bernhardt did. "A Manhattan Murder Mystery" is like a love letter to this great city and it's obvious that the author respects New Yorkers and how we live here.

I thoroughly enjoyed "A Manhattan Murder Mystery." You think you know what's going on with the murdered Stephen, most avid mystery readers would catch on fast and Ms. Bernhardt doesn't try to hide it from her readers but how he was killed is not the reason to continue reading the story. It's not the how but the "why" and the "who" about his death that forces you to read to the last page.

Then there's Irina's personal life. There were times I felt like screaming into my Kindle telling Irina to stop being such a nice person and get rid of someone in her life and to look to another instead. You will also get really angry at some of the characters and want to slap them around. Sorry about my violence towards a book character but I am a New Yorker and we all have a teeny bit of violence in our genes.

I'd love this to be turned into a series and I have a feeling that Susan Bernhardt just might do that. But Irina has to go over the bridge and visit Brooklyn for her next adventure. Come to Brooklyn, have someone poisoned at Nathan's Famous, then have the suspect chased to Coney Island where they try to lose Irina on the Wonder Wheel, and then on to the Aquarium to swim with the sharks, and finally to The Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball team to get lost in the crowd. All these sites are within walking distance of each other so a good chase scene would be realistic and doable in a few hours. Maybe I should write a book.

You'll have a great time reading "A Manhattan Murder Mystery" and will not be disappointed in this excellent story."


©2012 by Susan Bernhardt. All rights reserved.