Bel of the Brawlby Maggie McConnon

Published March 7th 2017 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks

4.5 Stars


Synopsis: Bel McGrath loves her work as a wedding chef. But with her latest event set to take place at Shamrock Manor, she just can’t seem to catch a break. The Casey wedding has left her with ten thousand greenbacks in the hole, a missing staff member, and a dead groom. Now, in between Guinness beers and pub brawls, Bel must find a way to crack the case–even though what she should be cracking are eggs into the batter of the wedding cake. A good Irish girl’s work is never done. . .

What begins as local town fodder for an episode of -Wedding Gone Wild- is turning into -Gangsters with Guns.- With the Casey family spiraling out of control, and billable McGrath hours being lost by the minute, Bel is definitely in too deep. With all these shenanigans, she barely has time to obsess over her new boyfriend and her own unsolved mystery from years ago! Time is running out on getting the next couple down the aisle before the so-called luck of the Irish takes a deadly turn… Bel of the Brawl will keep Maggie McConnon’s fans, new and old, guessing.

My Review: This is the second book in the Belfast McGrath Mysteries. I have enjoyed both of them, although you do not have to have read the first to enjoy this one.

Belfast (Bel) is the chef at her family’s banquet/wedding venue as well as their home, Shamrock Manor. The Manor is just beginning to get back in the black following a murder in the last book. The wedding that opens the story is Pegeen Casey, whose family is involved in import/export and quite well off to Gerrard, a retired police detective and now private investigator. At the end of the wedding, Gerry is found dead in the women’s washroom by Bel. This death is ruled a heart attack. Shortly after this, one of the Manor’s servers, Pauline, is missing. Has she been kidnapped by her abusive husband, detained by ICE as she is an illegal or just run off with the $10,000.00 tip. Bel and her brother Cargan, set out to find her for very different reasons. While this is all going on, the mystery of what happened to Bel’s BFF from her youth is also playing out.

Bel is either fearless or just does not think, as she puts herself in some precarious situations. She is still trying to sort out her emotions about men after having a nasty split from her previous fiancee. She is not sure where her new beau fits in to her life and still seems to have some buried feelings about Kevin, her highschool sweetheart who is also the police officer investigating the death at the manor as well as the disappearance from years earlier. The McGrath family are a hoot. They are a large Irish family that all work at the Manor so are always in each other’s lives. Bel’s mother is the typical interfering mom who wants the best for her daughter as well as for her to get married and have kids. They have Sunday dinners together and the sibling teasing is another light part of the book. A quick story with a plot that moves forward with short chapters to keep you reading, just one more. I enjoyed this story with just one exception, the ending regarding the missing server was not what I expected or liked, otherwise, a good read. I would recommend this book to cozy mystery lovers who enjoy plot twists and a good mystery. The publisher provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.