by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Bel, Book and Scandal, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Belfast McGrath fled to New York City just after high school in an attempt to escape her interfering family and the ever-present cloud of suspicion. The town of Foster’s Landing always believed that Bel knew something about the disappearance of her best friend Amy Mitchell, and it continues to haunt Bel to this day. After losing both her prestigious job as a chef and her fiancé in one swoop, Bel returned to her family’s wedding planning business in Foster’s Landing, slowly begun rebuilding her life but never fully escaping the uncertainty of Amy’s fate. Her tentative peace is shattered when prospective stepmother-of-the-bride Allison Bergeron brings not just her enthusiasm, but a newspaper picture showing Amy very much alive.
Bel’s last words to Amy were angry ones, and this guilt and desperate need for answers launches Bel on an investigation to finally resolve her best friend’s fate. It turns out that Allison is no novice herself with murder, and she energetically inserts herself into Bel’s hunt for a mysterious “love commune” featured in the article. Nearly as difficult as tracking down a woman no one is willing to admit knowing is avoiding the eagle-eyes of her four brothers and parents, who fear that Bel is once again about to get her heart ripped to shreds. Bel’s romantic track record has been a rocky one, with the latest shock leading to an act of brotherly revenge that is as hilarious as it is creative.
This third in the series explores Bel’s complex struggle to move past the trauma that cemented her identity in Foster’s Landing, not to mention forging the person she would become. Her memories of what occurred may only be shades of the truth, and the realization that her life may have been based on mistruths is heartbreaking. As a counter to this darkness is her success at marshalling in the McGrath brothers to decorate for Christmas, even as she must dodge their nosy protectiveness.
Readers unfamiliar with the outstanding Murder 101 series written by McConnon under the name Maggie Barbieri may not at first understand Allison Bergeron’s exuberant involvement in Bel’s troubles, but this is a delightful cameo for fans. The New York college Professor is no newcomer to murder, and being out of realm of investigations has Allison eager to wade into its midst yet again. The humor that allowed her to survive not just multiple deaths but teaching self-absorbed college students provides much-needed balance for the undercurrent of sorrow still weighing down Bel. Her search for resolution, one that she believes will allow her to move on in her life, propels this wonderful novel that includes moments of relatable holiday family antics with the challenge of being willing to love and trust again.
To enter to win a copy of Bel, Book and Scandal, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “scandal,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 19, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address. DELIVERY OF THE BOOK TO THE WINNER MAY BE DELAYED DUE TO THE CLOSING OF THE PUBLISHER’S OFFICES FOR THE HOLIDAYS.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
You can also use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. 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.