A Dash of Death
A Dash of Death (A Cocktails and Catering Mystery) by Michelle Hillen Klump
About A Dash of Death
A Dash of Death (A Cocktails and Catering Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting - Texas
Crooked Lane Books (February 8, 2022)
A Houston reporter-turned-mixologist mixes it up with murder in this series debut from Michelle Hillen Klump, superbly catering to fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Lee Hollis.
Bad news for Samantha Warren: The plucky Houston, Texas, reporter lost her job and her fiancé in rapid succession. But Sam has a way of making lemonade out of the bitterest of lemons. At a meeting of the local historical-homes council, she serves up the homemade bitters that she made as gifts for her wedding party. She intends to use that as her “in” to become an in-demand party mixologist. But the party’s over for one of the council members, who keels over dead soon after he sips the bereft bride’s bitter brew.
It turns out that the victim, Mark, was poisoned—his drink spiked with oleander. Since Sam mixed the drink that Mark imbibed right before his demise, she finds herself at the front of the suspect line. Now, she’ll have to use all of her reporter’s wisdom and wiles to clear her name.
Who could have wanted Mark dead? His wife, Gabby? His girlfriend, Darcy? Someone who wanted his seat on the council? Or another citizen of this sweet Texas town that holds some seedy secrets?
Job hunting, building her mixology business, and fending off late-night phone calls from her nearly betrothed don’t leave much time for sleuthing. But if Sam can’t “pour” over the clues to find the killer, it may soon be last call for her.
About Michelle Hillen Klump
Michelle Hillen Klump is a former newspaper reporter who covered government, courts and crime throughout Arkansas and Central Texas. Still a working journalist, she is also a member of Sisters in Crime. Her short fiction has appeared in Crimson Streets and Tales of Texas, volume 2, a Houston short story anthology.
A Dash of Death by Michelle Hillen Klump is the debut of A Cocktails and Catering Mysteries. I thought the cozy mystery contained good writing and it has an interesting concept. An investigative reporter who switches gears after being dumped by her fiancé. Samantha created homemade bitters as wedding favors. In order to get rid of her stash, her friends come up with a great solution. Samantha creates cocktails using her bitters for one of the homes on the Highlands Historic Home Tour plus she is selling her cherry-vanilla bitters. The evening goes swimmingly until one of the guests dies after drinking one of Samantha’s cocktails. The man’s glass is found with an oleander blossom in it. Oleanders may be beautiful, but they are deadly. To make matters worse, the victim’s wife is suing Samantha for $8 million dollars. Samantha needs to use her reporting skills to investigate the murder and clear her name. I like the concept of a reporter turning mixologist who also makes her own bitters. We get to meet Samantha’s besties, Beth and Marisa. Of course, Samantha’s ex-fiancé, Greg keeps popping up. We also get to meet David Dwyer, an attorney, who helps Samantha with her legal problems. There seem to be some sparks between lawyer and client. The whodunit had a unique form of murder. When I first arrived in Florida when I was twelve, my aunt informed me of two things: avoid the red fire ants (their bite is painful) and the second was not to pick the oleander flowers. There were a couple of suspects in the victim’s death. Misdirection tries to keep readers from identifying the guilty party. There is a dramatic reveal that takes care of any lingering questions. There are recipes at the end for Beth’s gingersnaps, her from the garden lasagna, a cherry simple syrup, and Samantha’s Cherry Gin Fizz. At the closing of the story, we get to see Samantha decide what she wants to do with her future. It will provide a way for her to get involved in cases all over Houston. I liked seeing Samantha moving forward. A Dash of Death shakes things up for Samantha with an overabundance of bitters, a fatal flower, a toxic cocktail, a bothersome ex-beau, a fatal flower, a troublesome lawsuit, and a resolute reporter.
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Thank you so much for hosting me today, and for the lovely review! I loved the photos you selected!ReplyDelete
Thank you! I am glad you liked it.ReplyDelete
Sounds like a good read. I like the cover.ReplyDelete