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by Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross
Kensington, January 2023
311 pages
ISBN: 1496740297

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Several times during the year, Leslie Meier, Lee Hollis, and Barbara Ross write short stories around a central theme. In the past, they have celebrated holidays like Halloween and Christmas. This year, they have added St Patrick's Day along with Irish coffee and murder to their collection. They also use the characters and settings of their individual series in each story.

Irish Coffee Murder by Leslie Meier

(Lucy Stone Mysteries)

Lucy Stone, a reporter for The Courier in Tinker's Cove, finds herself chasing clues to uncover a murderer. Eileen Clancy, the Clancy Academy of Gaelic Dance owner, persuades Lucy to attend a regional competition where four of her students will compete. While two of Eileen's students win, Lucy discovers the girl's four mothers share an uneasy competitive spirit. Things heat up when one of the mothers is murdered in her bathtub, and her ex-husband becomes the leading suspect. Leslie Meier writes a nicely complex mystery with engaging characters, appropriate red herrings, and a delightful pace.

Death of an Irish Coffee Drinker by Lee Hollis

(Hayley Powell "Death of" series)

When Liddy manages to sign Jefferson O'Keefe to appear at the Criterion Theater, she quickly convinces Hayley, of Hayley's Kitchen, to cater a party after the show. Hayley recruits extra help for the event. First, a competitive comedian tries to crash the party to hassle Jefferson and tries the back door when he is stopped at the front door. Then, just as Jefferson is toasting his successful performance, he falls dead after sipping his Irish Coffee.Hayley begins investigating immediately, looking for folks with motive and opportunity, like the gate-crashing comedian. Lee Hollis spins an intriguing yarn with an unexpected twist and includes appropriate recipes for St. Patrick's Day.

Perked Up by Barbara Ross

(A Maine Clambake Mystery)

Julia and Zoe plan an Irish coffee evening in front of the fireplace to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. However, the plans quickly change when Julia's mom and a friend, Captain George, join them for "ghost stories" when Capt. George starts telling the tale of Hugh O'Hara's murder on St. Patrick's night in 1867. The snowstorm raging outside takes power down, and the lit candles attract neighbors Fee and Vee Snugg, first; then Gus and Mrs. Gus join them, followed by Julia's sister, Livvie, her children, and husband Sonny; and finally, friend and police officer Jamie. And Capt. George, the Snugg sisters, Mr. & Mrs. Gus, Sonny, and Jamie all have different stories about who murdered Hugh O'Hara. The local police chief is obsessed with this case, the oldest unsolved murder in Busman's Harbor.

IRISH COFFEE MURDER is an excellent vehicle for short reads. The book also serves as a self-contained introduction to each author's writing style and main series. Fans will also enjoy each trilogy's variety and appreciate finding a new author next to a favorite. And recipes are included.

Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton's, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, December 2022

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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