The Marinara Murders is the second mystery featuring Arthur Beautyman, the first, The Saints Go Dying, introduces the LA detective in the midst of a serial killer case.
In The Marinara Murders, Arthur Beautyman is a forty-something, retired detective with impressive hacker skills. Having left the LAPD with a cloud hanging over his head (I'm not clear about the circumstances not having read the first book) he has been holed up in his mother's basement in Minnesota, a virtual recluse, for months. Tired of her son's inertia, his mother deftly manipulates Arthur into agreeing to help Julia by discovering where her grandson, Jake, had been for the three years it was assumed he was dead. As Arthur investigates, he discovers a link between the Diamond family's restaurant, Carat and an Italian diner, owned by Luca Alcamo, Dromio's and when he is attacked he knows he has hit a nerve somewhere.
The plot of The Marinara Murders is cleverly layered, and makes good use of Beautyman's slightly rusty detective skills and his computer hacking ability. Over the course of the novel, Arthur finds himself caught up in complex web of family dysfunction, identity theft and corruption. It isn't Beautyman though that solves this case, surprisingly it is his mother who pieces together the majority of the clues and, in a slightly absurd scene, invites all the suspects, the investigating police detective and the Beautyman's new 'business consultant', for Thanksgiving dinner to reveal the secret of both Jake's whereabouts and identify his murderer.
There is a note from the author at the end of the book that explains Hanberg's inspiration for the plot of this novel which I found very interesting and overall, The Marinara Murders is a solidly enjoyable mystery novel with likeable protagonists.