Rhapsody in Black

Rhapsody in Black


An Elena del Carral Mystery

Elena del Carral has been invited to dance in a Gala Performance by none other than Derek Michaels, founder of the world-renowned Terpsichore Ballet in New York City. She’s also been invited to audition for Black Rhapsody, the unfinished ballet from the late choreographic master, René Fauchier. Delighted, Elena accepts the invitation, knowing this performance will enhance her career, not only as a principal dancer, but also as an up-and-coming choreographer, as well.

But Elena holds a secret, too, one which revolves around Black Rhapsody itself. Unfortunately, no one warned Elena, when she arrived in New York, that such revelation would spark a chain of events that would involve attempted murder and finding an almost dead body in the rehearsal hall.

Rhapsody in Black: An Elena del Carral Mystery (Rhapsody In… Series, Book 1) by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra. I loved this book and I can't wait for the next one. Its full of mystery, intrigue, murder and suspense. It’s the story of Elena who has been asked by Derek Michaels to dance at a Gala event at the Terpsichore Ballet in New York City. She has also been invited to try out for the Black Rhapsody ballet that is by the famous Rene Fauchier and it’s such an honor. Elena accepts the invitation knowing that it will only increase her success as a dancer and her dream of being a choreographer. Elena does have a secret that is linked to the Black Rhapsody and it could come back and ruin everything. This book reminds us that Ballet is not only beautiful but it has a dangerous side and when Elena's secret comes back to haunt her there could be murder, deceit and danger. Such a fun suspenseful mystery set in the gorgeous world of ballet.

Tausha Treadway on April 21, 2024

Rhapsody in Black: An Elena del Carral Mystery is the first book in the Rhapsody In… Elena del Carral Mystery series by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra. It is an engrossing cosy mystery with a whodunnit element, crime & investigation, suspense, danger, tension, emotion, jealousy, secrets, sabotage, accidents, agendas, twists, & dramatic developments- all set on the ‘ballet-world’ stage.

This is another well-developed, multi-layered story- with a tightly woven plot that snagged my attention right from the beginning, and had me trying to piece everything together as the plot unfolded.

Elena del Carral is excited to be offered the opportunity to dance for the premier ballet troupe in New York City- but when secrets and agendas are added to the mix, a sinister shadow is cast- making for some suspenseful reading.

Engrossing. Intriguing. Interesting characters. Well worth the read!

Happy Reading…

Thank you, Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra!

Angela Hayes on April 20, 2024

The reader is swept into the world of ballet through the eyes of the main character, Elena. I'm not familiar with ballet, and this this was an interesting story. This cozy mystery is filled with drama, scheming, sabotage, secrets, and a little bit of romance.

Brandy Vaughn on April 20, 2024

A different kind of cozy...Elena del Carral has been invited to dance at a Gala Performance by none other than Derek Michaels, founder of the world-renowned Terpsichore Ballet in New York City. She’s also been invited to audition for Black Rhapsody, the unfinished ballet from the late choreographic master, René Fauchier. Delighted, Elena accepts the invitation, knowing this performance will enhance her career, not only as a principal dancer, but also as an up-and-coming choreographer, as well. But Elena holds a secret, too, one which revolves around Black Rhapsody itself. Unfortunately, no one warned Elena, when she arrived in New York, that her revelation would spark a chain of events that would involve attempted murder and finding an almost dead body in the rehearsal hall.

Such an awesome book, kept my attention, great characters, can’t wait to read more of this authors books, I give this book 4 stars.

Steph on April 18, 2024

This book is another great addition to the series and is a well written mystery book. The book brings so much intrigue and suspense and had me hooked from the moment I started reading. I loved watching the mystery play out as the characters worked to solve it.

This is an author that I still haven’t read a huge number of books from and yet she has definitely made a lasting impression. I am excited each time I come to read one of her books and I always connect with the story she is telling. This book is another success and reinforces the fact that I want to read more of her work.

Kerry Baker on April 18, 2024

Rhapsody in Black: An Elena del Carral Mystery by María Elena Alonso-Sierra brings us Elena who has been invited to dance at the Terpsichore Ballet by the founder Derek Michaels. She knows that this would be amazing for her career as a dancer but also as a choreographer. Black Rhapsody is an unfinished ballet by a great choreographer. Little does anyone know that Elena has a secret and a connection to Black Rhapsody and her coming to New York is going to start a chain of events that no one is ready for!

I loved this book; I can go as far as to say this is in the top 10 for me this year. This book had it all. Mystery, secrets, and romance. Everything there is to love in a good book and add in the Ballet and its PERFECT!!! I think the author brought so much to the book. The world that she created with amazing characters, the ballet, and everything in between truly makes this an amazing read!

Heidi Woodring on April 18, 2024

The reader is introduced to the world of ballet through the eyes of Elena. For someone who is not familiar with ballet, or any dance forms really, this was pretty interesting. This story is filled with secrets, twists, turns, a little bit of levity, and lots of intrigue. It was hard to put this one down and I look forward to future books in this series!

Faithfulgirl on April 18, 2024

Rhapsody in Black: An Elena del Carral Mystery is the first in a new series. The author uses her mother as inspiration for the main character, Elena, a world class ballerina and choreographer. Elena is invited to participate in a Gala performance by the founder of the Terpsichore Ballet, but also invited to audition in the unfinished ballet Black Rhapsody. What might sound like an exciting opportunity quickly reminds Elena of why she left the ballet world. The story is filled with the wonder of the performing arts, intrigue, murder, obsession, and more. I always enjoy books diving into the dark side of ballet and this did not disappoint. Though many view this as a beautiful artform the story gets into the dark side of what could happen behind the curtain. I enjoyed the story telling and learning about Elena. It was interesting to see how everything fit together as the story progressed. The book is a fairly quick paced read and is worth the read. I look forward to the next book in the series to see where Elena takes us next time.

Sheri on April 16, 2024

If you are looking for a suspenseful, mysterious thriller, with a dash of romance and more twists and turns that you can count, then you've found it! Alonso-Sierra had me hooked from the first page and I had to force myself to put it down and be a "responsible adult." The way she writes and develops her characters is superb. I didn't see the twist at the end until Elena saw it herself and I was still like, "No, it can't be." The story revolves around Elena del Carral who has been invited to dance at the Gala Performance at Terpsichore Ballet, where Elena used to dance previously but moved onto bigger and better things. However, Elena is unaware of the secrets that Terpsichore and its owner, Derek Michaels has...but Elena has secrets of her own that just might turn Terpsichore on its head. And while all of this is happening, Elena is falling for the dark and handsome Jake. Such a fantastic piece of writing. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Megan on April 16, 2024

Rhapsody in Black: An Elena del Carral Mystery, written by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra, is a very intriguing mystery thriller as well as a tribute to the author’s mother- a former ballet dancer and teacher named Elena del Cueto. Our main character, Elena del Carral, is invited back to Terpsichore to audition for the Black Rhapsody ballet. While some of Elena’s former colleagues are genuinely happy to see her again, others are clearly offended by her return. When a series of events begins to unravel after Elena’s return, it becomes clear who the perpetrator is really targeting. But why? And what is this secret that Elena has been keeping?

I loved getting a glimpse of the dedication of these dancers as well as what the competitive ballet world can be like in this fast-paced thriller. The way the author brought this story to life with exceptional writing and well-developed characters kept the pages turning and my interest piqued from beginning to end. This is not the first story I have read by the author, and I felt that she has once again succeeded in executing a great suspenseful story. I highly recommend!

Katie on April 15, 2024

Welcome to the world of ballet. The competitive, back-stabbing, cutthroat world of ambitions and dreams. Cue the classical music. The author explores dreams and delusions, and the lengths some characters will go to in order to keep their fantasies alive. There is mystery and romance in this novel, as well as a great deal of information about the world of ballet dancers and choreography.

Alison C. Risher on April 15, 2024

Once I started reading Rhapsody in Black I found it difficult to stop. The characters were developed greatly and very relatable. The story contained a lot of suspense and twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Ashley Davis on April 11, 2024

Once I started reading, I couldn't stop! We are introduced into the world of ballet from Elena's point of view. She's a principal ballerina that has been invited to audition for Black Rhapsody, at her old ballet theatre. She gladly accepts and is excited to audition, but not for the reason everyone thinks. From sabotage, to secrets to accidents, something is going on at the world renown theatre, and all fingers point to Elena. Just when I thought I figured out what was going on, Maria would throw a curve ball and I would have to rethink everything I knew and go back and go over everything all over again. This novella was beautifully well done, and the character development was absolutely phenomenal.

Crystal on April 10, 2024

I enjoyed reading this suspenseful story. This is a newer author for me which I enjoyed their writing style and attention to details that made the twists and turns come to life. This is a well written story about Elena and a ballet performance that is good for her dancing. What she doesn’t expect is the events that lead to murder and secrets. I enjoyed Elena and what she brought to the story. She is a strong, connectable character that made the story easy to read. I enjoyed watching the growth of this story that not only made it engaging but hard to put down. This is a fast-paced story that I truly enjoyed. It had me turning pages fast just to see what would happen next. I look forward to seeing what is next for this author in the future. I highly recommend this book.

Bobbi Jo Wagner

I love a good mystery. This author does a tremendous job with setting up her stories. The premise of the story was built around a former student returning as an instructor. The story had great detail. I really enjoyed how it built its way up to the end. Everything was explained at the end. The characters were well written and easy to relate to.

Shelly Kittell on April 9, 2024

Rhapsody in Black by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra is the first book in the Elena del Carral Mystery series. It is a tribute to her mother who was a famous prima ballerina.

This cleverly crafted mystery is fast-paced with some thrills that is as interesting as it is intriguing.

With accidents, drama, threats, scheming, sabotage, secrets, agendas, romance, and so much more Rhapsody in Black takes the reader in to the cutthroat world of dancing, ballet. But it is not all doom and gloom there are some laughs to be had as well.

The characters are well written, and the plot is cleverly crafted but some of the story is told by recounting of events that I feel would have been much better had they been made a part of the main story itself.

Elena a ballerina and choreographer has been invited to perform but she soon remembers why she left this life behind. Nothing has changed from when she was in it but now it seems it has only gotten more deadly.

Ballet enthusiasts will love this story and if you aren’t it is something different than your average cosy mystery.

Jennadb on April 9, 2024

Rhapsody in Black by Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra, the first book in the Elena del Carral Mystery series, is an exciting read for fans of mystery, drama, and detective novels. Elena del Carral returns to New York from Europe after years of absence. A talented ballet dancer and choreographer, Elena will dance in the National Terpsichore Ballet's gala. An audition for a part in René Fauchier's unfinished ballet, Black Rhapsody, is also scheduled for Elena. She knows a secret about Black Rhapsody, and the invitation to the audition makes Elena uneasy. Elena learns that strange occurrences and acts of vandalism plague the Terpsichore Ballet, where she once performed. The closely guarded secret comes out, and Elena has an ugly fight with her former colleague in the Terpsichore Ballet and ex-lover, Justin Bakare. Soon after, Elena finds someone badly injured in the darkness of the rehearsal hall.

In Rhapsody in Black, Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra invites us behind the scenes of the dazzling world of ballet. The author shows how unforgiving this magnificent art form can be to those involved, adding dramatic notes to the narrative. Rhapsody in Black has several dynamic characters, starting with the intelligent and highly professional Elena del Carral. The author demonstrates how the personality traits of ballet dancers and their relationships with each other can affect their professional lives. Thus, the young, daring, and highly determined Martina Brzinsky challenges her fellow dancers. "We’re friendly with one another, but we’re mortal enemies as well, some more openly belligerent than others," Elena explains, intriguing readers even more. I liked the lively exchanges between the characters and the hints of a tasteful romance. The plotline is carefully elaborated and has thrilling twists and turns. The author reveals the unpredictable outcome of Rhapsody in Black in the best tradition of classic mystery.

Nino Lobiladze for Readers’ Favorite on February 29, 2024

Rhapsody in Black is a riveting novella about a wildly successful professional ballerina and choreographer, Elena del Carral, and the sinister plots that try to destroy her. This cozy mystery, set in the renowned Terpsichore Ballet, in the New York City theater district, will enthrall readers, especially those intrigued by challenges, setbacks, and triumphs that professional dancers face every day. This is grown-up Dance Moms with sophisticated, literary flair.

As she has so deftly done in previous novels, award-winning author Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra once again combines suspense and romance. As her fourth work of fiction and the first in the Elena del Carral series, Alonso-Sierra delivers a moving page-turner with plenty of ballet movements to please ballet enthusiasts. Interestingly, the author wrote this book as a tribute to her mother—Elena del Cueto—the famous Cuban prima ballerina who sacrificed her career to save her children from an oppressive regime. A fine tribute it is!

In the novella, Elena del Carral receives an invitation to solo at a gala directed by a long-time friend of hers, and the founder of the Terpsichore Ballet, Derek Michaels. Five years have passed since Elena left Terpsichore to break free from a toxic relationship and to establish herself as a serious dancer and choreographer now based in Monaco. Now that she is known and loved all over Europe, returning to New York City fills her with a mixture of euphoria and dread. Unfortunately, soon after Elena returns to NYC, said toxic ex-lover (Justin) appears. Things turn tragic. After a grueling rehearsal, Elena discovers Justin knocked out with a head wound, and she quickly finds herself confronted by suspicious detectives and enraged fellow prima ballerinas. What is more, amidst a chaotic investigation and exhausting rehearsals, Elena finds herself being seduced by, and possibly falling for, Jake Forrester, the dance company’s beguiling insurance underwriter.

Eventually, Elena and Jake enjoy a date; however, the actual date is not described in the main plot narrative. Instead of bringing the reader on the date in real-time, the author chooses to have Elena recount the events of the special evening in her head the next day. After all the nice build-up of romantic tension, it was disappointing that she got too drunk to recall much of the details of the date. The reader cannot tell how she is really feeling about Jake other than she appreciates how he conveniently shows up exactly when she needs help or when she is bending over to unlace her shoes. Yes, the book has some comic relief.

The story develops in more detail as Elena grows more frustrated with Derek Michaels and his sidekick, Broderick. The two wield their power as directors and try to complicate matters involving the rights the ballet company has to the late, great genius René Fauchier’s choreography. While they appreciate her talent for the gala, it is also clear they want to undermine Elena’s career development and take away her power. In a climactic moment, Derek shares vital news about the legal snags surrounding Fauchier’s estate and legacy. Once again, readers only get this information through Elena’s friend, Francesca, who recounts the monumental moment as gossip, rather than the reader getting to witness the story develop in the primary narrative as part of the main plot unfolding. This minor flaw aside, the author does an admirable job of making the reader suspect a variety of characters behind the vandalism and assaults, making it fun to wonder who is the criminal behind the repeated acts of violence and even attempted murder. Before dress rehearsal for the gala, Elena walks into her dressing room to find the message, “YOU’RE NEXT!” in lipstick on her mirror. She bursts into anger and starts blaming Carolina, a long-time rival, and Martina, an 18-year-old up-and-coming ballerina. The drama between youthful and aging ballerinas is real!

Rhapsody in Black is filled with scenes that show high-level performers in the throes of histrionics over all things petty and serious. There is significant history between Elena’s mother and the co-founder of the Terpsichore company and famous choreographer, René Fouchier. When the dance company learns Elena’s role in some new developments in the company, all hell breaks loose. Who will be the next victim, and who is, or who are the offenders? Will Elena clear her name in the ballet world, or will she be taken down? The well-orchestrated mystery comes to a startling conclusion, leaving the reader emotionally provoked yet ready to read the next book in this series. Bravo!

Rebecca Jane Johnson for Feathered Quill, that says: Rhapsody in Black is an enticing cozy mystery that exposes the jealousy, rage, and sadness hovering beneath the elegance and perfection in the world of professional ballet.

It is beautiful when stories are dedicated to those who make great sacrifices for the lives of others. Rhapsody in Black: An Elena del Carral Mystery by María Elena Alonso-Sierra, is dedicated to the author’s mother, Elena del Cueto, whose career not only influenced the title of this book but was a prima ballerina, choreographer, and instructor. Despite her mother’s passion and notoriety, she made the tough decision to leave Cuba and her career to raise her daughters in a safe and wholesome environment. Set at the Terpsichore Ballet Company, the environment is competitive like any other ballet company but with a twist. Ballerina Elena del Carral accepted an offer she couldn’t refuse. She was asked to audition and dance at the Rhapsody in Black Gala Fundraiser by Derek Michaels, co-founder of the Terpsichore Ballet Company, and American Theater's former principal dancer of over fifteen years. Even though she was no longer a part of the Terpsichore Ballet Company, she knew that being a part of this masterpiece provided the opportunity to unveil her secret. This secret would not only jump-start her career as a principal dancer but she would then be able to expand her choreography skills and reveal some hidden truths about the Terpsichore Ballet Company.

Rhapsody in Black has everything that a great suspense story needs. As we pull back the curtains and look behind the scenes of the Terpsichore Ballet Company, we see scandal, attempted murder, and sabotage. I enjoyed seeing Elena take the risk to right a wrong that occurred years ago. You never know when it is the right time to divulge a secret and how things will turn out because often things don't go as planned. Readers will enjoy seeing how Elena cleverly plays her hand regarding the secret of the Black Rhapsody masterpiece and its connection to the Terpsichore Ballet Company. Taking calculated risks that can impact your career and destroy everything you've already accomplished in life is always tough. Curl up with this book and enjoy!

Vernita Naylor for Readers’ Favorite

It’s a cosy mystery with its background set in a ballet school. This immediately made it interesting and different. It’s the first time I’d read such a tale. Elena is the main character and she was been invited to return to her former studio to dance. This is when the trouble begins.

Items are stolen, accidents happen, and personal items are vandalised. All of it shocking to the dance group as they look at each other wondering who could do such a thing. Some eyes, including the police, turn to Elena because this only started when she arrived.

Her stalwart friends are by her side, as is the insurance company’s investigator, Jake. There are also several who are against her. But the crimes take a more serious turn and tensions run high.

Overall, this is a great crime thriller. I particularly loved how the author brought it all together at the end. It was explained in full so you had a complete understanding, therefore bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion.

Karen Mossman, Author

Maria Elena Alonso-Sierra Author has done it again! I needed a fun, light read for a long plane ride, and I'm happy to say that her cozy mystery Rhapsody in Black: An Elena del Carral Mystery did the trick. It's a lovely nod to her beautiful and talented ballerina mother, Elena. Great story!

Laurie Olerich, Author of the Primani Series

In Rhapsody in Black by María Elena Alonso-Sierra, Elena del Carral was hesitant to accept the invitation to return to Terpsichore Ballet in New York City. She was invited to audition for an unfinished ballet from the late choreographer master and to dance in a gala performance that would enable her to connect with former mentors and colleagues. Unfortunately, they aren’t all good memories from her previous work five years ago, and she soon remembers why she left. Not only have there been incidents of harm and sabotage in the company, but Elena also has a secret about Black Rhapsody, the unfinished ballet, that threatens to turn an already tenuous situation upside down. When things come to a head with several attacks targeted to make Elena look guilty, she wonders what is happening at Terpsichore, and why her arrival painted her as a villain.

Rhapsody in Black by María Elena Alonso-Sierra is an excellent thriller that will give you a glimpse behind the curtain of the world of ballet and professional dance. This mystery kept me turning the pages until the end. The author did a great job of crafting this story because I had no idea about the motivation or the villain until the final reveal. It’s fascinating to have an “inside look” at the world of ballet, and the life of artists at the top of their game (and after). This fast-paced thriller is intriguing and will keep you guessing right until the last page. An excellent mystery for those who enjoy this kind of reading, and a look inside a life behind the curtain. I really enjoyed this book and read it way past my bedtime!

Sherri Fulmer Moorer for Readers’ Favorite

Once you start reading Rhapsody in Black, it will be difficult to stop. It has great character development, suspense, mystery, intrigue, and romance.

A new Kind of Cozy by DaisyMT on February 27, 2024