These two books follow, Maggie Needs an Alibi with two interesting new murders. I will give each of them this: the murder happens sooner in each book than it did in the first. With Alibi some reviewers on Amazon complained that the murder didn’t take place until like halfway through the book. True, but the mystery started much sooner, you bloodthirsty pirates!
If they kept reading, though, I’m sure they were delighted to find that in Maggie by the Book started with malicious pranking, moved up to bodily harm, and then dished out a murder. In this, the second book, Maggie is attending the WAR (We are Romance) conference and among the luncheons, keynote speakers, workshops, book giveaways, and cover model contests someone is doing their level best to finish WAR off with pranks scaring off the guests. Alex and Sterling are along for the ride with a couple of ‘friends’ from the first book. Alex plans to solve his money troubles by winning the cover model contest, and when the pranks begin he, naturally, wants to solve the mystery. When the murders happen, even Maggie is dragged into the investigation and they start putting all the pieces together. Eventually Maggie calls her almost-boyfriend detective Steve Wendell for help, and he and Alex conspire to keep Maggie safe while they investigate.
As for Maggie Without a Clue…well, it begins with a murder and the most likely suspect is Maggie’s best friend Bernice Toland-James who, in the first book was also a suspect and is now the owner of Toland Books, which publishes Maggie’s work. Since Bernice is so close a murder victim (I won’t say who) for the second time it looks bad even if she was exonerated in the case of the first. To top things off, Alex and Sterling recently moved across the hall and it seems that the sweet old lady from whom they are subleasing the apartment has neglected to mention that she has been threatened by the mob – and they want something from that apartment. That mysterious thing will cause Alex and Sterling a world of trouble, and Maggie is stuck trying to help both Alex and Bernice.
All in all, two good additions to the series, but nothing I felt like jumping up and down over. I think they’re good light reading and the mystery is not one you’re likely to guess right off the bat since Michaels doesn’t really drop little hints and clues everywhere for you. Still, I enjoyed spinning out theories while I read. I’m looking into the other books, now: High Heels and Holidays, and Bowled Over (I think that’s right.) I’ve already read High Heels and Homicide so I’m covered on that front. Even those these may not be real prize-winning mysteries, they were really fun reads. It’s a shame they’re out of print. I will be shopping on Amazon next time I have the chance.