An Ale of Two Cities
by Sarah Fox
I found some relief from the pandemic news in An Ale of Two Cities by Sarah Fox. It is a fun, serious, puzzling cozy mystery with some action and excitement included. Although setting and atmosphere usually take a backseat to plot and characters in this kind of mystery, all of the elements are important here. The bookish setting is the Inkwell, Sadie’s pub decked out with bookshelves, literary decor, and special cozy rooms such as the one dedicated to Agatha Christie. Special literary-themed drinks are offered and, with two chefs, food has been added to the menu. Sadie has organized genre book clubs that meet monthly as well. All of this takes place in Vermont where our Tennessean main character has to adapt to the snow and cold weather.
The deadly mischief begins at the Winter Carnival’s Ice Sculpting Competition. Mel, one of Sadie’s employees, is competing and discovers a minor crime in the theft of her tools; but the plot turns deadly when Freddy, an unpleasant former denizen of the tourist town, is found dead in the snow. The evidence initially points to Mel, but there are lots of people with motivations to cut Freddy’s life short. Sadie investigates hoping to find the murderer thus clearing Mel’s name. In addition to the trauma of discovering dead bodies, Sadie has to deal with her growing attraction to Grayson who owns a local brewery. Winter Carnival appeals to her competitive nature as she organizes a hockey team representing her pub in ugly, mustard-yellow sweaters and learns how to snowshoe in preparation for the big race.
I highly recommend An Ale of Two Cities for its humor, plot, and all-around good reading fun. If you love books, then you’ll probably give this mystery bonus points for its bookish nature.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
1. #2 in the Literary Pub Mystery Series, but could be read as a standalone.
2. Recipes are included for some cocktails as well as Paradise Lox.
Publication: November 26, 2019—Kensington Books
When my cat wanted his breakfast, he wasn’t about to let anything get in his way, especially not five more minutes of heavenly slumber for his human servant.
I had to take a long, hot shower and drink another cup of steaming coffee before I could declare myself completely thawed out. Once I no longer felt like a close cousin of one of the ice sculptures out on the village green, I headed downstairs to the Inkwell to get ready for the workday.
Spreading rumors was her superpower. It didn’t matter if they were true or not. As soon as Gretchen got hold of some tasty tidbit of fact or fiction, there was no stopping its spread through town.