Grace and Dancing: Murder and TV

Graceful immortality by Robert Downs

True confession time – I read this book almost as soon as I got it – but forgot to write the review – probably during the period just after my last operation when the drugs and their side effects were still making me very confused.

This is a murder story with a private investigator, the cut-throat world of dance and ballet, and some people with very few scruples.

I am writing this review during the final – the very final session – of this year’s Strictly Come Dancing  programme on the TV –  which seems so appropriate! I have watched this series almost from the beginning, though confess I find the Sunday programme rather boring and video it and then skip to the actual dance-off. Just as we video the Saturday programme and skip over the telephone numbers and lots of the chat… there is far too much chat and not enough dancing.. we don’t want the professionals to dance either. Aren’t we picky? Just the celebs.

They are dancing their last dance – just the final 3 couples – my husband and I are quite good are scoring – we are right within a point or two and got the celeb who was to leave the semis right too, we have learnt a lot about the art of ballroom and what a ‘frame’ is and how the hands should look and so much else. [pause while I watch a pasa doble with Kevin and Frankie]

I find Robert Downs a consistent author – both his books read well, the characters have character and an amount of wit and the storyline is well paced and well crafted. As a book reviewer himself Robert must know [pause while Caroline and Pasha dance the Charleston] what he likes to read and thus should know also what others would like to read too. This not always being the case with authors who have been known to write for themselves rather than their readers.

Strictly is an interesting programme because it is not really about modern dance but more about classic dances with a twist – but not too much gymnastics please! And I think the audiences think so too.. although the muscles are pretty impressive at times and we do see some tattoos – which seem to be the latest in the way to dress up males [ pause for Simon and Christina to dance the Argentinean Tango].

So the final has finished and Caroline won – she got a straight set of 10s from every judge for every dance – unheard of before and I think she was worth it. Her feet and hands were so beautifully positioned and stretched and she was fearless in the way she allowed Pasha to throw her around.. [ gives all the details and some great photos]. She does have some background in dance though – According to the Telegraph [] Flack played down her pre-Strictly dancing chops, but in fact she won 2010’s Dancing on Wheels competition, during which she was coached in ballroom dancing by Strictly pros Kristina Rihanoff and Brian Fortuna in order to partner wheelchair-user James O’Shea. It’s also emerged that Flack trained from 1996-99 for a musical theatre qualification at BodyWork Company Dance Studios in Cambridge, although Flack says it was more drama and singing than dancing.

Also, can anyone tell me who pays for Darcy  Bussell’s dresses – they are stunning and must cost over £2kea – is she expected to buy them? Surely not.. Perhaps the designers lend them to her for the show – in which case we need a list of gowns and the designers. ‘Course, she has a great figure still and those long legs are so enviable.


All a long way from the book of course, but all about dancing and ballet and…

Robert – sorry for the delay in writing this up, but I did enjoy reading the book and hope to read some more by you in the future!



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