Wine and Punishment
by Sarah Fox
I stayed up obscenely late to finish Wine and Punishment, the first book in Sarah Fox’s new series, and I don’t regret it at all. Engaged in the plot all the way through, I could not have predicted the ending. It has an action packed conclusion, and the murderer reveal is quite astonishing.
Sadie buys a picturesque old mill located in Shady Creek, Vermont, that had been turned into a pub by its previous owner. Anxious to be successful in her first business venture, she participates in the town’s annual Autumn Festival. All but two of the town residents are welcoming until Sadie’s ex-boyfriend from Boston turns up in town—dead. Then rumors start to fly. Various threads, including a gambling problem and industrial espionage, lead to potential suspects. Sadie does some investigating on her own with a backdrop of personal attacks against her.
There are lots of interesting characters including Sadie’s two employees, a handsome, but mysteriously disgruntled craft brewery owner, her supportive Aunt Gilda, her new friend Shontelle, and lots of local regulars at the pub. Cat lovers will enjoy the frequent appearance of Sadie’s cat Wimsey.
What makes this cozy mystery extra fun is the literary theme of the pub which Sadie renames the Inkwell. In addition to all the bookshelves in the main room, there are more in the two overflow rooms. Sadie names one of them the Christie room for Agatha Christie, one of her favorite mystery authors, and she decorates it with appropriate memorabilia. These two rooms will also be reserved as needed for the book clubs she is forming. Going beyond the physical facility, Sadie creates literary themed cocktails and in the future, when she can find a chef, the pub will have cuisine with a literary motif. Book lovers will find all these details icing on the cozy mystery cake.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #1 in the Literary Pub Mystery Series, but this author has two more successful series.
2. Recipes are added at the end of the book for cocktails and carrot muffins.
Publication: December 18, 2018—Kensington Books
…my business—and only—dealings with him hadn’t been pleasant experiences. I found him brusque and as prickly as a porcupine. If not for the fact that his beers were so popular with both the tourists and locals, I wouldn’t have bothered to sell them at the Inkwell.
I’d never managed to leave the store without at least one or two purchases. Not that I minded. I didn’t think there was such a thing as owning too many books.
I pushed open the coffee shop’s door, ill at ease and eager to get away, but even as I left the woman behind, I could still feel the icy touch of her glare on my back.