Friday, April 3, 2009
Review: Stiffs and Swine by J.B. Stanley
Set in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a group of somewhat overweight friends formed a supper club group, jokingly calling themselves the flab five. Over a period of time, not only did they become fast friends, but they had somehow managed to become involved in local murder investigations. With their diverse skills, life experiences and personalities they managed to help solve the crimes and gain a little local notoriety!
So when the judges of a barbecue contest in a neighboring town fall ill, the flab five are invited to fill in. Little did they know their other talents would be called for. After one of the contestants is found dead in an RV and one of the flab five is accused and arrested of the murder, the other four must really put their heads together to figure this one out. Along with local law enforcement, Lucy, who just started a career with the local sheriff's office, gets the chance to hone her new investigative skills. Between contest judging and murder investigation, there isn't time to do much else but the flab five still manage to work on their love lives, careers and endeavors for the future.
Back in Quincy's Gap, James, head librarian has another investigation going on. He's trying to figure out what clandestine activity the teens are getting up to in the magazine section every Friday night. While he is at the barbecue contest site, his trusty employees continue with the teen activity investigation and how it possibly ties in to the barbecue contest murder. With just a few hours before the contest is set to close, the supper club's flab five once again manage to stumble upon the answers. How they get there is all part of the fun! 4 ****
What I like about cozies in general is that they are just plain reading enjoyment. I think of them as literary palate cleansers between heavier readings. The characters are for the most part delightful, with a few totally unlikeable and sometimes quirky ones. Cozies are the feel good genre of the mystery category. There is never gratuitous violence or sex but there is a crime. It's just never a "messy" crime. Justice always prevails in the end. There is generally some romance going on between the characters. Even if you figure out "whodunnit", it's the scenarios, the setting and the characters that are entertaining.
This is the case in the supper club mysteries. J.B. Stanley has created a great group of five friends, diverse in personality and lifestye but with a common goal. The fact that they fall into these murder investigations and manage to solve them in their own way just adds to the glee. Each of the characters has their own issues to deal with and that just adds dimension to the plot. This series also has some wonderful peripheral characters. I really like the lead character James and all the daily doings at the library. After all, what book fan does not love a librarian? Throw in a few blooming romances, a Jeopardy wannabe contestant and a budding mystery writer, you have the recipe for lots of fun.
Throughout the book there are recipes related to the mystery. Since this book is set at a barbecue contest, all the recipes are barbecue related. They all sound scrumptious too! If you are a fan of the cozy, you will definitely enjoy this series.Stiffs and Swine is the fourth book of the Supper Club Series. J.B. Stanley is also the author of another cozy series about antiques and collectibles.Her website can be found here.
About the book:
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (October 1, 2008)