Tuesday, December 3, 2019

An Ale of Two Cities: A Literary Pub Mystery by Sarah Fox

I had to start out my December reads by finishing this cozy mystery, the second in the Literary Pub Mystery series by Sarah Fox. I reviewed the first in the series back in March: Wine and Punishment, and enjoyed it enough that I had to snatch the second mystery up as soon as it came into the library. I can't wait to see what happens with the third in the series. 

This cozy mystery is set in the little town of Shady Creek, Vermont. It's winter, and time for the annual Winter Carnival, a week-long event that includes an ice sculpting contest, a hockey tournament, a parade, and lots of activities for tourists and townspeople. 

Sadie, our intrepid mystery sleuth, continues to run her literary pub The Inkwell, and is a bit melancholy about the upcoming Christmas season--it's her first in her new hometown, and she'll be spending it alone-all her family will be traveling around and no one will be home. But before she can think too much about it, one of the competitors in the ice sculpting contest turns up dead, with an ice pick in his chest. Freddy Mancini, renowned chef and local celebrity, has returned to compete in the ice sculpting contest. But Freddy is a real jerk-so full of himself he alienates those who helped him along the way. He's only in town for one day and he's already angered a lot of people. But who would want to kill him?

Sadie starts to ask questions, and sleuth on the side. Mostly because one of her employees is under suspicion, and Sadie just has to prove Mel's innocence before she's arrested for murder. Add in Sadie's developing crush on Grayson, the local brewery owner, and she's got her hands full. But can she solve the mystery before she finds herself in danger? 

There are a lot of suspects, and every one of them has a reason to see Freddy dead. A second murder creates even more urgency for Sadie, and muddies the waters a bit as she works to solve the murders. I guess it's hard to look at the folks in your small town and realize one or more are killers! But, as cozy mysteries go, you get to know the supporting cast of characters, the town, and some of Sadie's background. All in all, a satisfying second in the series. The story just happens to end on Christmas Day, so somehow I managed to read a Christmas cozy mystery without even trying! 

Rating: 4/6 for a winter cozy mystery that was a quick read. Any mystery that includes a literary pub has me sucked in, and I enjoyed reading this second in a series. You'll be wanting a hot chocolate or coffee with this one, as there is snow, snow, snow featured prominently throughout the story. 

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 

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