Tag Archives: Maggie McConnon

A day in the life with Bel McGrath by Maggie McConnon

bel-of-the-brawlWe were supposed to go back to normal here at Shamrock Manor after a wedding guest found himself upside down over a balcony but as my mother likes to say “You plan, God laughs.” Why, oh why, did I have to find that dead groom in the ladies room after our latest wedding? That, coupled with the disappearance of one of our long-time servers, Pauline, and a ten-thousand dollar tip, drags me back into a new mystery.

The good news? I’m back on track with the adorable Brendan Joyce, the only eligible bachelor in Foster’s Landing but a guy for whom the greatest mystery he’ll ever ponder is “Who shot J.R.?” The bad news? My sleuthing has put a damper on our relationship in that I’m not what you would call “available” a lot of time both physically or emotionally.

I do get to spend some time with my brother, Cargan, though, and that’s a positive. Turns out he has a nose for this mystery stuff as well as an unrequited crush on the gorgeous Pauline; that makes him a perfect partner for my almost-daily and nightly excursions to uncover the truth.

I didn’t bank on running around town chasing after gangsters or driving a speeding car but when life hands you lemons, well, put the pedal to the metal and hope for the best, as the old saying definitely does not go.

I’m still missing my best friend, Amy, gone from Foster’s Landing after our high-school graduation, never to be seen again. In my bones, I feel as if I’m getting closer to finding out the truth about her but I wonder: What does that mean? If she’s alive and I can find her, who will she be all these years later and all this life lived? I know I’m different. Will she be?

I don’t know where I’m going but I hope along the way, I find the truth.


You can read more about Bel in Bel of the Brawl, the second book in the “Belfast McGrath” mystery series.

Bel McGrath loves her work as a wedding chef. But with her latest event set to take place at Shamrock Manor, she just can’t seem to catch a break. The Casey wedding has left her with ten thousand greenbacks in the hole, a missing staff member, and a dead groom. Now, in between Guinness beers and pub brawls, Bel must find a way to crack the case―even though what she should be cracking are eggs into the batter of the wedding cake. A good Irish girl’s work is never done. . .

What begins as local town fodder for an episode of “Wedding Gone Wild” is turning into “Gangsters with Guns.” With the Casey family spiraling out of control, and billable McGrath hours being lost by the minute, Bel is definitely in too deep. With all these shenanigans, she barely has time to obsess over her new boyfriend and her own unsolved mystery from years ago! Time is running out on getting the next couple down the aisle before the so-called luck of the Irish takes a deadly turn. . . Bel of the Brawl will keep Maggie McConnon’s fans, new and old, guessing.

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About the author
Maggie McConnon grew up in New York immersed in Irish culture and tradition. A former Irish step dancer, she was surrounded by a family of Irish musicians who still play at family gatherings. She credits her Irish grandparents with providing the stories of their homeland and their extended families as the basis for the stories she tells in her Belfast McGrath novels. Maggie also writes two series under the name Maggie Barbieri – The Murder 101 series and the Maeve Conlon series.

All comments are welcomed.

Bel of the Brawl is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

Three people (US entries only, please) selected at random will receive an advance-reader-copy of Bel of the Brawl. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends March 11, 2017. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Wedding Bel Blues by Maggie McConnon

Wedding Bel Blues by Maggie McConnon is the first book in the NEW “Belfast McGrath” mystery series. Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, May 2016

Wedding Bel BluesAre they tying the knot?
Belfast McGrath has spent the last fifteen years avoiding her big, bustling, brash Irish family. But when her five-star culinary career goes up in flames, she retreats to Foster’s Landing—where she’s immediately tapped as her cousin Caleigh’s maid-of-honor. It’s a perfect recipe for disaster. . .especially when Bel learns that the wedding preparations included Caleigh having one last one-night stand.

Or the noose?
When Caleigh’s lover plunges from the second-floor balcony during the reception, Bel can’t help but think his death was no accident. Soon Detective Kevin Hanson, who just happens to be Bel’s long-ago love, arrives on the scene—looking hotter than ever. Heartbreak and homicide hardly help Bel to feel more at home, but if she is going to make a new beginning for herself, including putting the past behind her, she must first steer clear of a cold-hearted killer.

This well-written drama features the dysfunctional McGrath family, who as Bel states is “her insane family.” A witness to murder on her cousin’s wedding bears some unexpected events that take this story on a tour de force of suspense and intrigue with an urgency on Bel’s part to understand what is everyone hiding. And boy when that can of worms is opened, it’s the journey in this story that unfolds with some surprising twists and turns that had me devouring everything. I love how the author set-up this story with enough panache to keep you powering on as one by one we are introduced to the characters that will play pivotal roles throughout this narrative. Everyone is a suspect and the clues dished kept me following the leads until there were only person who could have done the deed. I did like the many subplots that enhanced the telling of this tale, beckoning between the past and the present and that final scene at the end, I so want to read the next book. Boasting an eclectically eccentric cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a feel-good atmosphere, this was a very enjoyable and terrific read and I look forward to explore more with the McGrath family.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) book from the author

Back Home with Belfast McGrath by Maggie McConnon

Wedding Bel BluesI once heard someone say “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.” In my case, the saying is more like “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother, and your father, and that brother, and that brother and that brother and still that brother.” My name is Belfast McGrath – yes, like the city in Ireland – and if you haven’t gotten the message yet, let me just say that I come from a big, Irish family and what they lack in decorum, they make up for in musical talent and fierce familial protectiveness. My brothers and I form what is the core staff at Shamrock Manor, my parents’ wedding catering hall, with the “boys” – as they will be forever known – being our house band and me being our chef. It wasn’t always that way; I once had a great career as a chef in a trendy New York City restaurant. But now, I’m home and surrounded by a bunch of people with secrets to keep and stories to tell.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, right?

I never planned on coming back to Foster’s Landing, nestled next to the river in the Hudson Valley. But fate had other plans for me and they included a stop back home. That and the wedding of my cousin, Caleigh McHugh, put me smack in the middle of my family’s usual drama and one other thing I hadn’t counted on: murder. The poor dead guy was a wedding crasher, sure, and had gotten cheeky with the bride, most definitely, but did he deserve to die? How would I know?

No one’s talking.

But when they do utter a few words, every one is a lie.

As luck would have it, the love of my life, one Detective Kevin Hanson, is on the case. He is now one of Foster’s Landing’s finest even if I never saw that as his true calling. He’s doing great here in the Landing with his fancy job and devoted girlfriend but he doesn’t look all that happy to see me and I’m not sure why.

Lots to unpack, both emotionally and physically, and not a lot of time. Why?

I’ve got a wedding to cook for.

You won’t meet me officially until 5/31/16 but three lucky commenters – chosen at random – will receive an Advanced Reader’s Copy of Wedding Bel Blues, the debut in a new series featuring Chef Belfast McGrath.


Wedding Bel Blues is the first book in the NEW Bel McGrath mystery series, published by St. Martin’s Press, May 2016.

Are they tying the knot?
Belfast McGrath has spent the last fifteen years avoiding her big, bustling, brash Irish family. But when her five-star culinary career goes up in flames, she retreats to Foster’s Landing―where she’s immediately tapped as her cousin Caleigh’s maid-of-honor. It’s a perfect recipe for disaster. . .especially when Bel learns that the wedding preparations included Caleigh having one last one-night stand.

Or the noose?
When Caleigh’s lover plunges from the second-floor balcony during the reception, Bel can’t help but think his death was no accident. Soon Detective Kevin Hanson, who just happens to be Bel’s long-ago love, arrives on the scene―looking hotter than ever. Heartbreak and homicide hardly help Bel to feel more at home, but if she is going to make a new beginning for herself, including putting the past behind her, she must first steer clear of a cold-hearted killer.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Maggie McConnon grew up in New York immersed in Irish culture and tradition. A former Irish stepdancer, she was surrounded by a family of Irish musicians who still play at family gatherings. She credits her Irish grandparents with providing the stories of their homeland and their extended families as the basis for the stories she tells in her Belfast McGrath novels.

Flash Giveaway: US entries only, please. The giveaway will end May 25, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.