Friday, November 22, 2019

An Ale of Two Cities - A Review


The Second Literary Pub Mystery

Getting her literary themed pub into the holiday spirit, Sadie Coleman is arranging for a trivia night and sponsoring the pub's hockey team while enjoying Shady Creek's Winter Carnival. The mood is decidedly less merry when former resident, now a hot shot Boston chef, Freddy Mancini arrives to compete in the ice sculpting contest. The arrogant chef wastes no time putting down the town and its residents, including his former girlfriend, mentor, and brother. Before the contest even finishes, Freddy is dead. While there are plenty of suspects, Mel makes the top of the list. Believing her employee to be innocent, and giving in to her natural curiosity, Sadie decides to search for the killer herself. Will she be able to figure out which of the many suspects actually did it, or will the killer find her first?

As December creeps forward I enjoy reading a wintry story and AN ALE OF TWO CITIES fits the bill perfectly. Not overtly Christmassy, this second Literary Pub Mystery has a nice snowy flair, from the landscape to the Winter Carnival. I appreciate how Sadie is taking everything in for her first Christmas in Shady Creek, even though I got somewhat annoyed at her complaints about the cold and feeling sorry for herself having to spend Christmas alone. Apart from that I like Sadie and love how she's creating a home away from home for locals and tourists alike with her pub. I adore the names of the food and drinks and wish I could nosh and imbibe myself; an order of Lord of the Fries and an Evil Stepmother Cocktail, please!

I relish when the horrible person in the story gets his just desserts and winds up the murder victim and Freddy, or Federico as he now prefers to be called, plays the part perfectly. He's not alive for long, but what a horrible impression he makes. The bonus here is that his nastiness creates a lot of good plausible suspects. I love when a mystery keeps me guessing and this second Literary Pub Mystery did just that. There are plenty of red herrings and I thought for sure I knew who the murderer was, until I was proven wrong. 

AN ALE OF TWO CITIES is a well crafted winter tale. A picturesque setting, interesting characters, and evolving relationships infuse this mystery with warmth while proving that going outside your comfort zone and creating a new life and family for yourself can make your Christmas bright.

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