I got this book as a free read from the Kobo book club. It was one of two to choose from, and this one sounded fun. Since the margarita is the official drink of Mexico, it seemed appropriate to discuss it in time for Cinco de Mayo.

MARGARITA NIGHTS is about Sherry Travis, blue-collar bartender for an upscale bar in Jacaranda, Florida. When the story opens, we learn the boat belonging to Sherry's estranged husband has blown up with him presumably on it. It isn't long before the cops come looking for Sherry. She may have wanted him out of her life, but she didn't kill him. Not that the cops believe her. It's up to Sherry to figure who was really on the boat, who blew it up and why. If she doesn't, there's an electric chair with her name on it.

This is Phyllis Smallman's first novel, and at times it shows. I found the first few chapters the most difficult to read, and in fact, I almost gave up. But I persevered and the entire last half of the novel is much better.

The mystery is great, and I understand MARGARITA NIGHTS is classified as a "cozy" mystery, but the suspense is well done. Fans of Janet Evanovich will love this, while waiting for the next installment in the Stephanie/Joe/Ranger series.

I'm looking forward to reading more by Phyllis Smallman.

Now. Confession time: I love bar food. Burgers, fries, wings, nachos, chicken fingers. I wish I could say there was a lot of bar food in this novel, but there wasn't. More drinks than food.


The margarita is a simple cocktail consisting of tequila mixed with orange-flavoured liqueur and lime or lemon juice, often served with salt on the glass rim.

(And a plate of nachos on the side.)

There are many variations on the margarita. Choosing one might be difficult. Here's a link that will help:

Margaritas by horoscope sign.