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Stiffs and Swine

A Supper Club Mystery with James Henry by J. B. Stanley

Stiffs and Swine by J. B. Stanley

Review: One of the "flab five" supper club members is arrested for murder in Stiffs and Swine, the fourth mystery in this delightful series by J. B. Stanley.

Much to the group's delight, they are asked to judge the "Queen Sow Contest" in Hudsonville, Virginia. It would mean an overnight trip causing James Henry, head librarian for the Shenandoah Valley County Library, pause. Recently a large number of teenagers had been visiting the library on Friday nights, not reading or doing homework, just milling around waiting for something to happen. Since they didn't appear to be causing any trouble, James decided to wait until he returned from the contest to look into the matter.

At a charming bed-and-breakfast, the site of the contest, the group meets up with Jimmy Kane, a loud-mouthed flirt who seems to be offending everyone in sight, especially the women. When Kane wins first place for his BBQ brisket, Gillian, one of the supper club members, confronts him, screaming that he is the man who deliberately ran down her husband years ago, killing him. Gillian said that not one day had gone by that she had not wished him dead. The next morning, Kane is found dead in his motor home, Gillian sitting on the steps. The sheriff arrests Gillian for his murder, but the other four supper club members go into amateur sleuth mode. There is clearly no shortage of suspects. And there even seems to be a suspicious link between Kane and the teenagers occupying the library Friday nights.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Stiffs and Swine (in light of the plot, a particularly clever title) is the harmony and camaraderie between the five members of the supper club. A spirit of "all for one and one for all" resonates between the chapters. This diverse group (an ex-professor librarian, sheriff's deputy, mail carrier, high school art teacher, and animal-loving hippie) might appear to be an eccentric and unlikely bunch but their fun-loving and amateur-sleuthing ways are a winsome combination. Add in an interesting and credible mystery plot (and scrumptious-sounding recipes) and the result is, to paraphrase the words of the Queen Sow Contest moderator, a winner.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Stiffs and Swine.

Acknowledgment: Midnight Ink provided a copy of Stiffs and Swine for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author

Mystery Book Review: Chili Con Corpses by J. B. StanleyChili Con Corpses
Midnight Ink (Trade Paperback), January 2008
ISBN-13: 9780738712598; ISBN-10: 0738712590

Location(s) referenced in Stiffs and Swine: Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

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Stiffs and Swine by J. B. Stanley

Stiffs and Swine by A Supper Club Mystery with James Henry

Publisher: Midnight Ink
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-1267-3
Publication Date:
List Price: $13.95

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