Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bel of the Brawl - Cozy Mystery Review

Bel of the Brawl (Belfast McGrath Mystery #2) by Maggie McConnon

Rating:  Good
Source:  Publisher

Description:  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.

Genre: Mystery - Cozy

Why I Picked This Book:  I love old mysteries and I can't resist a place called Shamrock Manor.  Plus the new mystery sounds all kinds of crazy!

My Impression:  This is my first visit with the whirlwind that is the McGrath family but it definitely won't be my last!  I love a wedding in a mystery because there's so many things that can go wrong and pretty much all of them happened in Bel of the Brawl!  Really I'm not sure much can be worse than a dead groom but there were plenty of other mishaps that developed as the book went along.  Throw in Bel's more than a little whacky family and hilarity ensues though I definitely had some sympathy for Bel with a plethora of siblings, a mother with rather set in stone opinions, and a father who just loves to discount things she has a LOT on her plate.  And all that's without even thinking about the drama the finding of evidence from a decade old missing persons case has unearthed.  I enjoyed how multi-layered the mystery was with the current murder, figuring out just what is going on with the families involved, all the details involving the missing staff member, and the old mystery and all the emotional ramifications Bel has from that.

While this is the second book in the series this is my first visit with the McGrath family.  For the most part this wasn't a problem as what had happened in the past was easily explained and most of what I needed to know happened on the page.  I did get a little confused early on with all the names regarding the missing persons case -both in the flashbacks and with the present day discussion.  As well it took me a little while to get the names of a few of Bel's siblings straight - especially with a cousin thrown in the mix.

Despite the minor flaws (and there's a distinct possibility that my confusion early on was caused more by copious amounts of cold medicine coupled with a pretty massive head cold than by the book itself) I really enjoyed this mystery.  It was fun, quirky and really cute and I'm curious about what will happen next with the McGrath family.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Yes definitely!  I'll be on the lookout for more from this author and am looking forward to going back and reading the first in this seriesl.

Would I Recommend this Book?:  If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a really fun series.


  1. I love books around weddings. I agree it would be hard to pass up a book taking place in Shamrock Manor!! Gla ou enjoyed this. Great review!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Accidentally deleted my comment (I meant to add another one)...need more coffee! Thank you, Katherine! So glad you enjoyed it. I appreciate this lovely review more than you know. Maggie McConnon

  4. I think mysteries in a wedding setting are fun too. I love the Murder She Wrote episode when Grady is getting married and the cook is found stabbed with a meat thermometer.

  5. Ha sounds like a good Irish family. Oh dear a dead groom not so good! Now I see the author just above appreciating your review. Isn't that nice, it's so good to make some ones day.

  6. This sounds like a nice read. It sounds like a whole lot is going on in this one and I will be honest that I am still wondering about that dead groom. Great review!

  7. Oh man on the head cold. I'm glad to see you enjoyed it even with the foggy early bits.

  8. Boo on being sick. This does sound fun and perfect setting for March!