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.
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A Belfast McGrath Mystery novel!
Bel of the Brawl by Maggie McConnon is the second book in A Belfast McGrath Mystery series. Bel McGrath lives in Foster’s Landing and is the chef for Shamrock Manor. Shamrock Manor is run by her parents and is the go to venue for wedding receptions in their area. Every member of the family helps out in some way (her brothers are in the band). Their current client is Pegeen Casey and her fiancé, Gerry Mason. Bel is intrigued with she finds out that Gerry is a private investigator. She wants to discuss hiring him to investigate the long-ago disappearance of her friend, Amy Mitchell when he returns from his honeymoon. Unfortunately, Gerry is not going to be available to help her. Bel finds Gerry dead in a lady’s room stall (her stall was out of toilet paper). After everyone has left, the McGrath’s discover that one employee is missing as well as the $10,000 tip they received from Pegeen Casey’s father. When Pauline fails to show up the next day or arrive at home, Bel becomes concerned. Bel starts looking into Pauline’s disappearance and why her friends are so reluctant to report her missing. It seems that there is quite a bit that the family did not know about Pauline. It appears that Pauline has been a very busy girl when she is not working. There is another issue taking up Bel’s thoughts. The police have found Amy’s belonging (after all these years) in the local river along with a set of remains. Have they finally found Amy after all this time? In between cooking for weddings, looking for Pauline, and worrying what happened to Amy, Bel has little free time (though she does sneak in a little time with her boyfriend, Brendan Joyce). Sometimes Bel is not sure she made the right decision returning home to her unruly family. Will Bel discover Pauline’s whereabouts and the location of the missing money? To see if Bel makes it through another week at Shamrock Manor, read Bel of the Brawl.
Bel of the Brawl is easy to read and is full of action. While Bel of the Brawl is the second book in the series, it can be read alone. The author updates the readers on what occurred in Wedding Bel Blues. I found that this book was more cozy than mystery. The death of Gerry Mason was easily solved. I wish it had been a little more perplexing. The case of the missing best friend (Amy Mitchell) continued from Wedding Bel Blues into this book. It still remained a mystery at the end of the novel. I am curious how long the belongings would have stayed in the bottom of that river. Most items would deteriorate and float away after a number of years (maybe they are made of rubber). It seems to have become common place for authors to provide a secondary mystery in their books that play out in the background over the course of several books (unfortunately). I give Bel of the Brawl 3 out of 5 stars. I had a few issues with this story. It is a little unrealistic. I am puzzled how Bel can provide a multi-course wedding dinner for a hundred plus guests with only a sous chef. It seems impossible. I am curious as to why anyone with money would want to hold their wedding at Shamrock Manor. It sounds like a rinky dink outfit more suited to budget brides. Considering the number of discounts that Mr. McGrath hands out, I am surprised that Shamrock Manor is still in business. Personally, I am not a fan of Bel. The same goes true for the rest of the McGrath family (just too over-the-top ridiculous). Bel of the Brawl is more suited to readers who like humorous (wacky) cozy mysteries full of madcap antics. While Bel of the Brawl is not for me, I believe other readers will enjoy the zaniness of the McGrath family.