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An Ale of Two Cities–bookish at its best

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An Ale of Two Cities

by Sarah Fox

An Ale of Two CitiesI found some relief from the pandemic news in An Ale of Two Cities by Sarah Fox. It is a fun, serious, puzzling cozy mystery with some action and excitement included. Although setting and atmosphere usually take a backseat to plot and characters in this kind of mystery, all of the elements are important here. The bookish setting is the Inkwell, Sadie’s pub decked out with bookshelves, literary decor, and special cozy rooms such as the one dedicated to Agatha Christie. Special literary-themed drinks are offered and, with two chefs, food has been added to the menu. Sadie has organized genre book clubs that meet monthly as well. All of this takes place in Vermont where our Tennessean main character has to adapt to the snow and cold weather.

The deadly mischief begins at the Winter Carnival’s Ice Sculpting Competition. Mel, one of Sadie’s employees, is competing and discovers a minor crime in the theft of her tools; but the plot turns deadly when Freddy, an unpleasant former denizen of the tourist town, is found dead in the snow. The evidence initially points to Mel, but there are lots of people with motivations to cut Freddy’s life short. Sadie investigates hoping to find the murderer thus clearing Mel’s name. In addition to the trauma of discovering dead bodies, Sadie has to deal with her growing attraction to Grayson who owns a local brewery. Winter Carnival appeals to her competitive nature as she organizes a hockey team representing her pub in ugly, mustard-yellow sweaters and learns how to snowshoe in preparation for the big race.

I highly recommend An Ale of Two Cities for its humor, plot, and all-around good reading fun. If you love books, then you’ll probably give this mystery  bonus points for its bookish nature.

I would like to extend my thanks to and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Mystery


 1. #2 in the Literary Pub Mystery Series, but could be read as a standalone.

  2. Recipes are included for some cocktails as well as Paradise Lox.

Publication:   November 26, 2019—Kensington Books

Memorable Lines:

When my cat wanted his breakfast, he wasn’t about to let anything get in his way, especially not five more minutes of heavenly slumber for his human servant.

I had to take a long, hot shower and drink another cup of steaming coffee before I could declare myself completely thawed out. Once I no longer felt like a close cousin of one of the ice sculptures out on the village green, I headed downstairs to the Inkwell to get ready for the workday.

Spreading rumors was her superpower. It didn’t matter if they were true or not. As soon as Gretchen got hold of some tasty tidbit of fact or fiction, there was no stopping its spread through town.


  1. I haven’t read this book yet, but I have Aways enjoyed Sarah Fox’s writing. I read the first one of this series and like very well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally understand what you mean about relief from pandemic news. I initially felt guilty about not being constantly tapped into what’s going on, but settling down with a solid mystery or a bit of romance every night has really made things better. This one sounds like a lot of fun! Love the line about the cat—a feeling I know all too well. Fantastic review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lghiggins says:

    Thank you, Christopher. We all react to this pandemic differently and need to find what works best for us. Are you able to work from home or do you go to your workplace? I ask because I follow a blog written by a lady in NYC who lives with husband and college age daughter in a small apartment. He is working from home in their living room and international calls come in at all hours so he really ends up with no separation of his work time and his home time. As a former teacher, I always brought work home with me, but I could make a choice about whether to attack it or not. It sounds like you can carve out your evening for yourself. I hope so! Working or even being on call (which I know is norm for some emergency workers) 24/7 is not healthy.


  4. Cozynookbks says:

    I think I’d love this cozy since I’m bookish. 😊 Thanks for reviewing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. carhicks says:

    Funny thing is, I added the first two books in this series to my May TBR just last week. I am more anxious to get to them now Linda. I love the sound of the setting and this one set in winter sounds fun. I have found reading to be a great escape from the pandemic news and try to watch the nightly news only. I do not want to be inundated with all the sad news and the sensationalism. I am glad this book did that for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      Reading is a great relief. Watching the news is like they say watching a train wreck is: you don’t want to see it, but you can’t turn away. Then there is also the conundrum of whether the report is fiction or nonfiction. Online church services also provide a relief!

      Liked by 1 person

      • carhicks says:

        Yes, I have been listening to a lot of music as well, I have found some new Contemporary Christian artists to listen to from blogs and they are so peaceful and hopeful.

        Liked by 1 person

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