THE MARINARA MURDERS – by Erik Hanberg

14418865  Arthur Beautyman, former L.A. detective, and now P.I. in Minneapolis … Minneapolis?  …. is on another case.

After circumstances eased Detective Beautyman out of his job in L.A., (in the first book of the series The Saints Go Dying) he moved to Minneapolis ostensibly to help out his widowed mother of 65.  He has been living … OK … mooching and mooning …… in his mother’s basement for six months, almost never leaving, and not even honing his secret computer hacking skills.   Just riding out the depression of having no job, no girl, no home other than his mother’s basement, when….

His mother demands he make an appearance upstairs to talk to her best friend, Julie, another lady of a certain age, who has a problem she would like solved.  Her grandson disappeared three years ago, leaving evidence of having drowned himself in a lake.   But suddenly, the police notify the family that his body was just found, in that lake, and recently deceased… like within 3 days of discovery.

So, where had he been for three years and why?  And what happened now?  A really truly suicide, or, as they say foul play?   Beautyman agrees to look into it, but he is not licensed as a P.I. in any state, let alone Minnesota, his mother is bugging him to help, and to get her off his back, he tells her she can be his partner.

Partner!  Whooeeee!   She is ecstatic, and sets in motion the necessary paperwork for him to get his P.I. license.  And so it begins.

The title comes from a restaurant that features prominently in the story.  It is owned by a guy named Diamond.  He names his restaurant Carot.  Get it?  Diamonds?  Carots?  Yeah, well it’s Minneapolis, not New York, what do you expect?

So with a little help from his friends, his hacker buddy, his mother .. his mother for pete’s sake…. he solves the case which obviously involves a whole lot more than some young man wandering off and committing suicide.

I admit, I liked  The Saints Go Dying  a bit more than this one, I think because I liked his character better in Saints…. the competent detective who wasn’t so great with the political moves, the one who scratches his head in perplexity.  Also, I like the plot line better, but that is simply a matter of storyline preference.   The  Marinara Murders is just as well written, with just as good a storyline, but it takes Arthur in a really new direction.  We lost the police procedural aspect and gained a P.I. aspect.  It’s all good.

There is now a third in the series, Con Before Christmas.  I am eager to see where Mr. Beautyman goes in that one.  Will he still be in (sigh) Minneapolis?

 

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