Title: Bel, Book, and Scandal by Maggie McConnon
Belfast McGrath Series Book Three
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 315 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Maggie McConnon rings in Christmas in Bel, Boiok, 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.
Bel, Book, and Scandal by Maggie McConnon is an entertaining cozy mystery with a fantastic cast of delightful characters and a perplexing missing person’s case to solve. This third installment in the Belfast McGrath Mystery series can be read as a standalone.
A photo in a newspaper gives Bel McGrath a starting place in her search to find her long missing best friend, Amy Mitchell. Amy went missing right after their graduation and the case has cast a long shadow over Bel since many of the townspeople believe she was involved in her friend’s disappearance. Without thinking, Bel impetuously rushes to the small town where she hopes to learn more about the now defunct commune that might have been a haven for Amy. Coffee shop owner Tweed Blazer quickly shuts down when Bel begins asking questions but she remains undeterred as she follows every lead she uncovers. Will Bel finally uncover the truth about Amy’s disappearance?
Bel is still trying to make peace with the unexpected detour her life has taken in the past few years. Never expecting to return home, she is making the best of her position as the chef at her parents’ special events and wedding business. She is also still smarting over the painful breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Brendan Joyce, and her former high school boyfriend Kevin’s recent marriage to the police chief’s (in Bel’s eyes) perfect daughter Mary Ann.
Undeterred when her investigation into Amy’s disappearance hits a snag, Bel, along with her new friend, Alison Bergeron, doggedly continue following the scant clues they manage to unearth. She stumbles onto more proof that Amy might still be alive, but she is frustrated when she quickly hits a dead end. Bel is certain Tweed knows more than he is telling but before he can tell her everything he knows, someone tries to make sure his long buried information remains hidden.
Bel, Book, and Scandal is an intriguing cozy mystery that is quite humorous due to Bel’s snarky sense of humor and hilarious one-liners. Bel’s attempts to uncover new evidence about Amy’s whereabouts end in disappointment but she remains hopeful she will find her long missing friend. Maggie McConnon brings this third installment in the Belfast McGrath Mystery series to a twist-filled and action packed conclusion.