Hello! Delighting in Your Company by Blair McDowell comes out on February 4. Corned Beef and Casualties by Lynn Cahoon will be released on February 5 along with Mending Fences by Suzanne Woods Fisher.
Wine and Punishment by Sarah Fox is the debut novel in A Literary Pub Mystery. Sadie Coleman has purchased an old grist mill in Shady Creek, Vermont. She has turned the lower floor into Inkwell, a literary themed pub. The annual Autumn Festival is scheduled to begin in four days with the pumpkin catapult contest, a pie contest (which Sadie has got roped into judging) and vendor tents. Sadie is getting ready to depart for her Aunt Gilda’s birthday party when one of her employee’s tells her that her ex-boyfriend, Eric is in the pub. Not wanting a confrontation, Sadie sneaks out the back and enjoys an evening with her aunt and friends. On her way home, Sadie is shocked to see the Treasure Chest, a local antique shop and the building next door on fire. The next morning Sadie goes to her car and finds that someone has slashed all four of the tires. Sadie believes Grayson Blake of Spirit Hill Brewery is responsible and heads off to confront him. Instead, Sadie finds a deceased Eric sprawled by the edge of the creek. Sadie finds herself at the top of Detective Marquez’s suspect list which puts her wonderful new life in jeopardy. Feeling that she has no other choice, Sadie starts nosing around. She needs to discover why Eric was in town and retrace his footsteps. Can Sadie find the killer before she must trade in her pub apron for a prison jumpsuit?
I thought Wine and Punishment was nicely written with a good flow which made it an easy to read cozy mystery. I loved the description of the old grist mill that has been turned into a literary pub called Inkwell (wood, stone and plenty of books). There are cozy chairs, books and drinks named for books and authors. Sadie Coleman has left Boston to start over in Shady Creek, Vermont where her Aunt Gilda resides. Sadie leaves her ex-boyfriend, Eric behind who has trouble recognizing the truth and a terrible gambling addiction. I liked the picturesque town of Shady Creek with its charming shops and friendly residents (minus the killer). The town is gearing up for the annual Autumn Festival which has the unique pumpkin catapult contest. Each team constructs its own catapult for which Sadie is thankful she has employee, Damien Keys. The scarecrow for outside Inkwell is dressed like Sherlock Holmes (how cute). Sarah Fox took the time to set the stage for the series by describing the town and giving readers details on the main characters. I hope we get to learn more about the secondary characters in future books (Damien and Melanie for example). There is even a cute cat named Wimsy. I liked the interactions between Sadie and Wimsy, but I was surprised that she let her cat run around outside. There are various books and authors mentioned throughout Wine and Punishment including Ellery Adams. The mystery was interesting, and some readers may be surprised by the killer’s identity. I did feel that the pacing was inconsistent. I would have liked a brisker pace. I am giving Wine and Punishment 3.5 stars. Wine and Punishment is a good beginning to A Literary Pub Mystery series and I am curious to see what the author dishes up next time.
Sarah Fox also writes A Pancake House Mystery series. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read my review. I will showcase Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano tomorrow (I believe there is a giveaway too). It is the first book in the American Heiresses series. May you have a charming day. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader