Title/Author: Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullet
Publisher: Ballantine Group; Alibi
Date of publish: On Sale: March 21st, 2017
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 oversized 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 facedown 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.
In my time blogging about books, it has been a rare occurrence indeed that I get a cozy series from the beginning. It is quite an enjoyable experience. Abi Logan, photographer from London, is having a rough time of it lately. Her uncle Ben, the only family she has had since childhood, has recently died after a long illness and left her his farmhouse and distillery in Scotland. She has her booze journalist pal Patrick and her loyal dog Liam, to help her through her grief, but someone is not at all happy about her inheritance. Macabre and menacing gifts try to persuade her to stay away.
Her investigation in the small highland village doesn’t give her much insight into who is threatening her. On the surface it would seem that a woman owning the distillery, and brewing the iconic liquor, doesn’t sit well with the traditionalists. On the other hand Balfour is a small close knit community with long traditions and as an outsider Abi doesn’t get much sympathy from the locals, especially when a young employee ends up dead in one of her vats. Abi searches for the killer and searches her soul as she faces a tough choice.
I am not much of a drinker, but I still enjoyed learning about the process of making and selling whisky. It is far more involved than I had imagined and made a terrific backdrop for the unfolding story. I was able to figure out some of the more obvious components of the mystery, yet reading it play out in the end was still worth it. Abi, Patrick and few of the townsfolk were memorable well written characters, and the prospective buyers with their individual stories and quirks made for great reading. However, most of the rest of the residents in the village could have used a bit more fleshing out. That does leave a lot of room for growth during the series. There is obviously also a colorful town history that can be tapped into for inspiration. All in all this was a great afternoon’s read and this seems to be a series that will be enjoyable for a long time to come.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.
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