In Eat, Drink, and Be Wary by Maggie Pill, the Smart Detective Agency gets recruited by the FBI to help catch a large-scale drug dealer. The dealer’s daughter, Dina Engel, is going to hold her first fashion show at a convention of the Love-Able Ladies, a group of women dedicated to encouraging women to be feminine instead of feminist. Needless to say, Barb, the oldest of the three sisters, a highly independent retired assistant district attorney, can’t stand the thought of going near such a group, but Retta, the youngest sister, insists on going, dragging along middle sister, Faye, with her. Arriving at the posh resort, the sisters attend the first session and then go outside to meet their FBI contact, only to find him murdered. Before they can call the police, they get stopped by a pair of criminals, who kidnap them, taking the ladies to their room. The man in charge, using the alias Ted, decides to send Faye to the convention and keep Retta in the hotel room as a hostage of “Bill,” who, yes, selected their fake names from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Bill clearly has some mental issues, and Retta soon gets to work gaining his sympathy.
Faye works to figure out what nefarious action led to the murder of the FBI agent and what crime is in the works to make Ted keep them alive at the moment, since he doesn’t want to make waves before Sunday’s fashion show. So Faye gets herself involved in helping with the show. It doesn’t take long before Barb gets concerned over the fact that she hasn’t heard from either sister, including Retta, who is tied to her phone. So she travels to the convention in search of the truth.
This book has some really creative points to it. I still enjoy the creative angle of having each sister narrate the different chapters. I love the way we see the same scenarios through the eyes of different sisters, giving creative angles to each one’s recounting. I especially appreciated the way each of the three sisters recounts the only time she ever saw her mother cry, with each sister telling a different situation that gives new insight into their mother. The convention provides a terrific opportunity to highlight the differences and similarities of the three sisters, against the background of women who would never have approved of the Smart Detective Agency.
The book continues the message of all Sleuth Sisters books in speaking out for women’s empowerment and the value of working together. Further, the backdrop of the Love-Able Ladies convention allows a discussion of how women should be allowed to do whatever they want, even if what they want is to be feminine stay-at-home mothers.
I really enjoyed this book, but I have to admit to missing some of the other characters, such as police chief Rory, FBI agent Lars, and assistant Gabe with his new wife Mindy. These characters really help to bring out the best in the sisters, something I would have liked to see more of in this book.
As before, the book contains three narrators, with Laura Bednarski performing the part of Faye, Judy Blue performing the part of Retta, and Anne Jacques performing the part of Barb. These three women do an excellent job of portraying the trio of sisters, even to the extent of imitating each other’s voice when her character quotes one of her sisters. I love audiobooks, but this is one book in particular that should be listened to instead of read, given the uniqueness and fun of the audio edition.
I have loved the whole Sleuth Sisters series, including this one, but I do have to admit that it is my least favorite book in the series. It contains less depth than the previous books and misses out by not showing loved other characters in the series. Yet even the worst Sleuth Sisters book is a great listen. I give it four stars.
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