Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Book #Review: Bel, Book and Scandal (Belfast McGrath Mystery, Book 3) by Maggie McConnon #CozyMystery

About the Book:

Maggie McConnon rings in Christmas in Bel, Book, and Scandal, the third adventure for everybody's favorite Irish-American culinary artist turned amateur sleuth.

Bel McGrath tries her best to keep herself on the straight and narrow but she just has a taste for trouble. This time danger arrives in the form of a newspaper left behind by visitors to Shamrock Manor--and a photograph that jolts Bel out of the present and back into a dark chapter from her past. The person in the photo is Bel's best friend Amy Mitchell, long gone from Foster's Landing, at a commune in upstate New York shortly after her disappearance. The picture, and Bel's burning desire to find out what happened to Amy--and whether she may still be alive--is the catalyst for a story in which old secrets are revealed, little by little...and certain characters are shown to not be as genuine as Bel once thought.

Book Details:

Bel, Book and Scandal
Belfast McGrath Mystery, Book 3
Maggie McConnon

Print Length: 315 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Sold by: Macmillan

Bel, Book and Scandal is another wonderful book in Maggie McConnon's Belfast McGrath Mystery Series. 

Being the head chef at Shamrock Manor, owned by her parents, Bel is always busy. She does not have much of a social life to speak of and her love life is non-existent. When potential customers come to the Manor to explore the location for an upcoming summer wedding, the couple, whose daughter is getting married in May, remember Bel from the scandal at her last place of employment. Upon leaving the Manor, Alison accidentally leaves the newspaper behind that she had been using to track local antique stores. When Bel finds the paper she can hardly believe who is in the picture supporting an article about a local commune that was a bit north of Foster's Landing. Her long lost best friend Amy Mitchell stares out from an older photograph - and now Bel can't sit idly by not knowing whether her friend is actually still alive. Her sleuthing takes her to the place where the local commune used to be and few people in the town are happy to have the subject revisited. Some are even willing to lie to Bel about any knowledge regarding Amy. 

When the pieces of this mystery are finally put together correctly, prepare to be shocked by the outcome. The author does a great job in all three books building up to what we receive in Bel, Book and Scandal. Between the anguish concerning the long standing mystery surrounding Amy as well as the new revelations, the book takes the reader through a myriad of emotions, actions, characters, and scenes. 

As with the previous books, Bel, Book and Scandal isn't your typical light-hearted cozy mystery. There are some light and humorous moments but overall, the book has many serious overtones. The author does a great job taking multiple story lines and weaving them together into a fantastic and cohesive book of mysteries. There are many twists and turns that take the characters and the reader on a wild journey that doesn't just involve weddings and Amy's disappearance.

I enjoyed Bel, Book and Scandal as both the traditional cozy mystery but also as a more suspenseful book. The characters have their different quirks that add to overall tone of the book and each one is well developed. The story is well-told and full of twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing. The plot is pretty solid; I didn't read anything that didn't make sense or contradicted a previous statement or action. 

I was engaged with this fast paced novel from the very beginning. I wasn't bogged down with useless or filler information about the characters, the location, or the backstories. The author did a great job with descriptions that were very vivid. The vividness allowed me to put together my own version of Shamrock Manor and the lives of those who dwell within. I look forward to going wherever the author takes us next with Bel - and I certainly hope she continues with this series.

I voluntarily reviewed an ARC.

My Rating:

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