P.M. LaRose worked for many years in the publishing industry and, unlike his protagonist, knows how to handle a computer. A native of Louisiana, he moved upriver to Minnesota before the turn of the Millennium, where the concepts for the Beers mystery series were developed. Beers Ahead is the third installment, following First Case of Beers and Bet on Beers. LaRose lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, Jeanne Anne, and a cat named Lucy.
2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Senate Committee Room F
Building a Mystery: Creating a Series in Genre Fiction
3:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
Beers Abroad: Peril in London
When Johnny Scalabrino, owner of the La Scala department store chain, decides he needs a London branch, he sends his trusted assistant, Jim "Beers" Biersovich, to scout locations. The idea is to find a suitable site among the established giants of London merchandising: Harrods, Selfridges and the like. With his unofficial assistant, Lena, along for research duties, Beers soon encounters issues with both of the potential spots. The first one is ruled out almost immediately as impractical.
The second building also has problems. Not only is there an issue with the owners, but also with the security of the site, as murder soon comes into play. Repeatedly. As the bodies pile up, Beers is dispatched to investigate the owners' reluctance to sell. The disappearance of one of the key figures complicates the negotiations. In the midst of the dilemma, Beers' reporter buddy Freddie arrives on a working junket, throwing more chaos into the mix.
While managing to make new friends and find some music for his collection, Beers struggles to get a handle on the assignment, and keep both himself and Lena out of harm's way. Beers once again is called on to muster his cunning and intuition, along with a bit of help from his friends, to solve the case.
Beers Ahead: A Halloween Mystery
It's Halloween season, year 2000. The discovery of a severed head in a Schiaparelli hatbox is no Halloween prank, however. For Jim "Beers" Biersovich, security chief for the La Scala department store in downtown Minneapolis, it signals the start of a complex case that requires every bit of brainpower he and his assistants can provide.As abruptly as the head appears, it disappears, and Beers is charged with retrieving it and learning why it showed up in the store. The victim is a former co-worker at the Minnesota Herald, a crusty sportswriter who made lots of enemies. Beers is pressed to find people who didn't want Harry Devin dead. Suspects pile up as Beers consults with his buddy Freddie, another sportswriter who knows a good bit about Harry's background. There's a bookie named Joey Pep, three ex-wives, a politician, a copy editor, a racehorse owner and the son of a former editor, any one of which could have done him in. Beers' task is complicated further when he's assigned the duty of overseeing construction of a haunted house in the store. When the head reappears inside the haunted house, the pattern of clues begins to form a picture that eventually leads to the solution.Helping with the legwork are Beers' unofficial assistants, New Orleans native Lena, a jewelry saleswoman, who tutors him on the fine points of haute couture; and Tina, a cosmetician, who goes undercover to track down one of Harry's inner circle. There's inane conversation, red herrings, bizarre dreams and musical interludes, along with a bit of romance, that keep Beers distracted throughout. But his rock music knowledge, as always, provides the final pieces of the puzzle in this whodunit.
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