By Melinda Mullet
A Whiskey Business Mystery #2
Photojournalist by trade, distillery owner by blood, and amateur sleuth by necessity, Abigail Logan learns that murder can’t stay bottled up forever in this charming Whisky Business Mystery.
It’s been three months since Abi Logan last checked in on Abbey Glen, the celebrated whisky distillery she inherited. With her oversize wheaten terrier, Liam, by her side, Abi returns to the quaint Scottish village of Balfour. But her relaxing Highland homecoming takes a stressful turn when she unearths an unseemly bit of village history, welcomes a group of Japanese whisky enthusiasts, and becomes shepherdess to an unexpected flock of sheep—all within the first twenty-four hours. Still, nothing’s more stressful than murder …
Local celebrity Rory Hendricks is the hotheaded, hard-rocking former frontman of the Rebels—and Abi’s girlhood crush. After meeting him in person, Abi can’t say no to anything he asks, like photographing his upcoming show … or figuring out who’s trying to kill him. Turns out someone’s been bumping off his old bandmates, with the drummer dead under mysterious circumstances and the keyboardist in a coma following a hit-and-run. Now a series of threatening messages leads Rory to think he’s next on the chopping block. And the band has a devil’s share of broken hearts and bitter disputes in their past, leaving Abi a huge batch of suspects to sift through—all before the killer takes another shot.
What an engaging story! Atmospheric, intelligent, and just plain entertaining (to borrow from Abi’s three-word descriptions of people she met). I was pleasantly surprised to find such richness and depth in a cozy mystery.
I love stories set in the United Kingdom, and it was the Scottish setting that initially drew me to Death Distilled. The rural community of Balfour, a village filled with engaging, sometimes quirky, characters, felt so real that I imagined myself walking along its paths. I was hesitant to pick up a book with a “whiskey business” theme, but plot, characterization and setting were so strong that whiskey became secondary.
Abi Logan, owner of the whiskey distillery Abbey Glen, is an appealing protagonist who I liked from the very beginning. And when she rescued eight sheep that were headed for slaughter, even giving them literary names, she had my heart. “Think of this as a retirement home for aging wool-bearers,” Abi told the local vet. There’s one particular laugh-out-loud scene that I loved, and the bonding between her dog and a sheep with pneumonia is precious.
The mystery is well crafted, with a few hints that I could see upon reflecting back, but I only realized the murder’s identity through Abi’s reasoning toward the end. I loved the historical detail and folklore elements, as well as the potential romance between Abi and Grant, head distiller at Abbey Glen.
The only negative for me was the use of mild profanity throughout, which detracted from an otherwise excellent story. I appreciated that there were no graphic scenes. I enjoyed Death Distilled overall and want to read more of this series.
I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
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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