It is now summer, months since their last crime case, and James and the Supper Club has its most important case yet in Stiffs and Swine by Ellery Adams. The Flab Five gets invited to serve as celebrity judges at Hog Fest, a festival celebrating BBQ everything and other activities. They first judge the pig beauty contest and are then asked to judge the BBQ brisket contest, with teams of people doing the barbecuing. Being a vegetarian, Jillian refuses, but the other four do the judging. When the winner is announced, Jimmy, the leader of the Pit Masters team, showboats his winning streak. At this point, Jillian walks toward Jimmy in a furious haze, saying he killed her husband, a fact that shocks her friends, none of whom knew that Jillian was once married.
After Jillian runs off, the four other friends look hard to locate their fifth member, but no one can find her. Finally, in exhaustion, James falls into bed only to be awakened at 7am with the news that someone has murdered Jimmy by stopping up the ventilation in Jimmy’s trailer, causing the propane in his heater to kill him. Worse, Jillian has been arrested. The four friends race to find the sheriff and find proof that Jillian did not commit this crime.
Stiffs and Swine, the 4th book in the Supper Club series, is the best book in the series so far. It has a great plot and good subplots to go with the plot. We see issues related to drugs. There is also drama between James and his girlfriend, the local newspaper woman Murphy, with the added tension that James’s ex-girlfriend, Lucy, still has feelings for him. In addition, the library gets faced with the fact that its old bookmobile has finally died. Finally, the library has been dealing with rowdy teenagers who fill up the building every Friday night without checking out books or doing other library business.
This book is also driven nicely with realistic characters. James and the other members of the Flab Five each come alive and behave as true people, with their own loves and jealousies. I especially love Francis and Scott, the identical twins who help James run the library. They may have minor roles, but they really delight in their enthusiasm and technical skills. Many of the characters from the Hog Fest also show realism in having both good and bad sides, leaving us to wonder which side they will choose.
The audiobook of Stiffs and Swine is performed aptly by Karen White, who has narrated the previous books in the series as well. She uses great expression without over-emoting as well as good timing. I really like the way she makes the book come alive.
Stiffs and Swine is a really good book that I enjoyed listening to. I appreciated all the aspects of this book, whether the major plot point, the more minor plot points, or the characters. I strongly recommend this book to other readers and give it five stars.
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