Murder in the Balcony By Margaret Dumas: Review/Giveaway

Oct 19, 2019 | 2019 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Murder in the Balcony, and links to purchase it from Amazon and an indie bookseller.

“Haunted! How perfectly fascinating!” —The Ghost and Mrs. Muir

At the suggestion of a close friend, Nora Paige accepted a fascinating position as manager of the Palace Theater, a San Francisco vintage movie house showing classic films. Her film star husband took up with his sexy leading lady leaving her vulnerable to the overzealous paparazzi, so a refuge away from Hollywood was a blessing. Although the former manager of the theater had died in a tragic accident and the mystery led to a conflict with Detective David Jackson along with some personal peril, the job was perfect and the main employees are a delightful quartet: a ninety-year-old film buff Albert, angry projectionist Marty, social media film student Callie, and a soft-spoken teenager Brandon. But, it’s the ghost that has been the most “fascinating” and often life-saving…no pun intended. After suffering a concussion falling from a ladder, Nora is introduced to Trixie, a twenty-year-old usherette who died in the theater in 1937. She, of course, missed crossing over. Only Nora can see and hear Trixie, and Trixie, who has longed for decades to be able to interact with the more corporeal, is extremely eager for the company…too eager at times when communicating with “no one there” is problematic for Nora. But, this friendship is one that suits them both.

Murder at the Palace Book 1 KRL News & Reviews 2/15/19 Murder at the Palace

mysteryMurder in the Balcony earns 5/5 Midnight Movie Shows…Engaging Entertainment
“I’ve been ghosted!” Of course, Trixie needs a quiet lesson in tech slang since she thinks, “She [Callie] saw a ghost?” Film student Callie Gee’s boyfriend, Warren Williams, has yet to respond to her many text messages; his silent mode over the past three days has her worried, confused, and a bit angry. He was so attentive as a struggling real estate intern studying for his license, but now, license in hand, his “Mr. Real Estate” attitude is a major concern. Nora is sympathetic, but she has “man” problems of her own with her not-quite-ex plastered all over the tabloids with the leading lady he said was history. However, social media alerts and Callie’s scream of alarm answer at least one problem…Warren has been found murdered!

And the Oscar Goes to…! Margaret Dumas has penned another top notch cozy in her Movie Palace Mystery series. This second book is well-written with a clever murder mystery incorporating women scorned, secret obsessions, real estate dilemmas, and more to keep any ‘Basil Rathbone’ fan entertained…that’s my vintage film reference to Sherlock Holmes, not Sir Guy of Gisbourne. Dumas does well to illustrate the areas of San Francisco and the theater, emotion and tone, and the various personalities with vivid description, inner thoughts in a first-person narrative, engaging dialogue, and the entertaining and informative Sally Lee blog on classic films. The references to old films are not just an interesting hook; Margaret Dumas incorporates movie plots, cast details, and insights to add extra meaning or connection to her plot. Despite early in the series, the characters are well-developed because of Dumas’s writing skill. From curmudgeon Marty to quiet Brandon, from a suspicious husband to a consoling BFF, Nora is admirable, yet flawed, and compelling to follow as she navigates a broken marriage, manages a struggling theater, befriends a wide age-range of employees, mentors her ghostly companion, and discovers a knack for channeling her own ‘Bonita Granville’ skill (Ok, my final classic movie reference to the 1930s Nancy Drew!). I love this series!

“Because I love classic movies and I want you to love them, too.” If you enjoyed Sally Lee’s movie blogs interspersed throughout the book, check out the Movies My Friends Should Watch BLOG by Sally Lee. And always watch classic movies!

Be a Big Margaret Dumas Fan!
Along with this favorite two-book Movie Palace Mystery, Margaret Dumas pens the two-book Charley Fairfax Mystery series also set in San Francisco—well, she does live there ya’ know. Charley Van Leeuwen is a theater director who finds herself dealing with mayhem and murder.

Website — Margaret Dumas
Twitter — Hey Margaret

It’s Movie Night…Pass the Popcorn!
Enjoy your favorite movie with this “Classic” Caramel Popcorn from Evermine blogger Jeanne Williamson. If you’d like a more savory twist to your movie treat, try spicing it up with these recipes, Flavored Popcorn, from Evermine blogger James Luster.

Check out other Henery Press mysteries on their website.

To enter to win a copy of Murder in the Balcony, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “balcony” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 26, 2019. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also check our our new mystery podcast! The last 2 episodes are both perfect for Halloween listening!

Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

You can use this link to purchase this book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Opens to author website

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Murder in the Balcony sounds intriguing and captivating. The story and era interest me greatly. A most enjoyable post. Thanks.

  2. I have been wanting to read this book and even more intrigued after reading about the storyline and the author’s Interview. I’d love to read and write a review. Thank you for the chance.

  3. I love classic movies. Thanks! ckmbeg (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Thanks for the great interview! JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  5. I am reading this now and highly recommend both series. I hope to meet the author this Wednesday at a MWA panel at the Redwood City Public Library at 7 pm. Come join us if you live in the area.

  6. New author to me. Would enjoy reading.

  7. This really sounds like a fun story. Ms Dumas is a new to me author. I have been missing something special here. And I love the Art Deco cover.

  8. The ghost who can’t cross over
    and hangs around makes a
    good story. Sounds like
    an interesting read. thanks
    for the offer.

  9. Sounds interesting. Count me in!

  10. Sounds interesting and intriguing. Perfect book to read right now! Thank you for the chance

  11. We have a winner!


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