The Readaholics and the Poirot Puzzle: a bookclub mystery by Laura DiSilverio
Sequel to The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco (here), this book finds Amy-Faye working on the grand opening of her brother Derek’s brewpub when things immediately start going wrong. Amy-Faye’s reusing her college bartending skills because Gordon, her brother’s silent partner (a venture capitalist) managed to cause the regular bartender to quit with just days to go before the grand opening (they’re opening on a limited basis to shake down the staff and finalize the menu); one of the waitstaff is Gordon’s son, Kolby, a whiney jerk and the other, Bernie, is a divorcee with kids and an unreliable babysitter who is working and putting herself through school; though she’s more sympathetic than Kolby she still has reliability issues.
Everything that can go wrong on the grand opening night does. The women’s washroom floods, a group of women organised to expose serial cheaters show up to confront Gordon, a fire alarm drives everyone out into the rain (most people don’t come back after that) and Gordon takes a header off the roof and lands in the dumpster, dead. It’s decidedly no accident; he was hit over the head first. There’s no shortage of suspects; Gordon was a man who seemed to make enemies easily, but leading the crew is Derek, who had an actual fist-fight with Gordon when the venture capitalist tried to back out of the partnership before opening night, leaving Derek potentially on the hook for everything.
Unable to risk her beloved brother going to jail for a crime she is sure he didn’t commit, Amy-Faye gathers her crew and gets to work (around, of course, her actual work, which we do spend some time watching her do), though her relationship with cute cop Lindell Hart takes a few hits. The clue that allows Amy-Faye to finally solve the mystery and clear her brother’s name is brilliant and flows logically out of the rest of the story.
Good writing, great characters, and a decent mystery. Recommended.