Saturday, March 25, 2017

Single Malt Murder

Author:  Melinda Mullet
Series:  A Whisky Business Mystery #1
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Alibi
Published:  March 21, 2017

Description:  Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect . . . even murder.

When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an over-sized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating face-down in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.

My Review

I picked up this book because I was intrigued by the fact that this was a woman who inherits a whisky business.  I also thought that I would enjoy the Scottish Highlands as a setting for the mystery.

For the first book in a new series I thought this was well done.  The characters are well rounded, dimensional and well developed.  Abi is a good protagonist.  She is smart and determined to find out who is causing trouble at the distillery left to her by her uncle.  She is a photojournalist so she has a good background for sleuthing.  What I liked about her character is that while she was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, she wasn't aggressive in her investigations, nor was she out to show up the local police department.  The secondary cast of characters rounds out the story nicely, especially her best friend Patrick, and provides plenty of suspects for the mystery.

I thought the mystery itself was complex and layered.  The story has a good pace and the mystery unfolds solidly throughout the entire story.  Because her uncle left her a distillery that is coveted, there are plenty of suspects to choose from for both the murders and the sabotage.  Ms. Mullet did a great job of peeling away the layers of each suspect only to find more reasons why that person could be causing the troubles.  I was really stumped and never felt like I could confidently pinpoint the person I thought was behind the trouble or the motive.  I love when the mystery keeps me guessing until the very end.   The mystery was wrapped up with a climatic conclusion and I really did not see this one coming.  When the culprits were revealed I was completely surprised.

This was an excellent debut cozy mystery for Ms. Mullet.  It is well written with fully developed characters that are realistic and dimensional and a complex, layered mystery that had a very satisfying ending.  I for one am looking forward to more to come from this author.

I read and reviewed an advanced reader copy that was provided to me by the publisher, Alibi, through Netgalley. This did not influence my opinion and the thoughts expressed are my own.

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