Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Death at the Old Hotel by Con Lehane

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written our review of Death at the Old Hotel by Con Lehane. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Death at the Old Hotel by Con Lehane

Death at the Old Hotel by
A Brian McNulty Mystery

St. Martin's Minotaur (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-312-32300-X (031232300X)
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-32300-4 (9780312323004)
Publication Date: June 2007
List Price: $24.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Tensions are high and the dangers multiply as New York City bartender and man-about-the-mean-streets Brian McNulty---always a sucker for the plight of the little guy---joins forces with a motley crew of workers from the old Savoy Hotel.

McNulty has once more run afoul of the powers that be in the New York City hotel and restaurant industry and finds himself exiled to a down-at-the heels hotel in, for him, the far reaches of civilization---Manhattan, west of Eighth Avenue. Not long into his tenure, a vicious attack on one of his fellow bartenders raises the stakes and puts everyone on edge, and it doesn’t take much for the hotel manager to provoke the outraged workers into a strike. Once they hit the bricks, all hell breaks loose, and it isn’t long until the bodies start to fall.

The cops focus in on two of McNulty’s pals, a renegade Irishman and a pretty, young waitress from Brooklyn, both with closets full of secrets and buckets full of problems of their own. McNulty thinks the cops, as usual, are barking up the wrong tree, but that’s the least of his problems. The hits in this particular instance have angered the gods of gangsterland, and someone has determined that McNulty is a problem.

Review: Bartender Brian McNulty comes to the aid of Barney Saunders, a fellow barman, in Death at the Old Hotel, the third mystery in this series by Con Lehane.

It is Christmas-time in New York City. The hotels are all booked up and the restaurants have reservations for holiday parties. The bars are crowded – which is good news for Brian McNulty who tends bar at the Savoy Hotel. When goons attack his friend Barney, Brian decides it is time to make this outrage his business. Barney, Brian and others have been trying to get new blood in the union hierarchy because the present bosses are blatantly corrupt as are the hotel owners who trade favors and money with each other and members of the mob. Brian believes this is why Barney was beaten as he had been more vocal than others about the problem. Neither Brian nor Barney are anti-union; in fact they feel they need the union, just not a corrupt one.

When one of the Savoy’s nastier bosses creates an ugly scene with one of the waitresses on an exceptionally busy night, the kitchen staff, wait staff, bus boys and bartenders walk out and start a picket line the next day. Everyone except Barney, that is, who has gone into hiding. Brian tries again to talk to the union bosses, but is told to get out and follow the union’s orders. No more talking! But when the talking stops, the murders begin. Not only does Brian feel he has to investigate the disappearance of Brian, he commits himself to help solve the murders that follow.

Lehane seamlessly interleaves several storylines in Death at the Old Hotel, including illegal immigration, the problems of a divorced couple with a teenage son, an illicit love affair, and even an alley cat, into an intriguing murder mystery. There are any number of suspects, and McNulty – the bartender and confidant – must distinguish between what is true and what isn't in order to solve the crimes.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Death at the Old Hotel and to Breakthrough Promotions for providing a copy of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

For more visit Mysterious Reviews, a partner with the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books which is committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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