Review: Deadly Dram (Book #3: Whisky Business Mystery Series) by Melinda Mullet

Deadly Dram

Distillery owner Abigail Logan discovers that high spirits are no match for a cold-blooded killer as the Whisky Business Mystery series puts a fatal twist on stiff competition.

It’s been a year since globe-trotting photojournalist Abi Logan inherited Abbey Glen, a whisky distillery in the heart of the Scottish countryside. To her surprise, the village of Balfour already feels like home, and her new business partner, Grant MacEwan, continues to be too charming to resist. But Abi has a history of relationship disasters, so she struggles to avoid an ill-fated romance with Grant. Steering clear is hard enough on a day-to-day basis, but when the two head off to a whisky industry competition together, Abi panics. Five-star resort, four glorious days of nonstop whisky tasting, and a fatally attractive Scotsman—what could possibly go wrong?

The night before the award presentations, with foreign and domestic whisky makers at one anothers’ throats, two judges are found dead under mysterious circumstances. What started with three dream-come-true nominations for Abby Glen’s whisky soon turns into a nightmare for Abi. With a killer on the loose, she must call on her investigative skills to stop another murder—before she gets taken out of the running herself.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 4½/5 stars

For much of her adult life, Abi Logan made her way in the world as a photojournalist.  She travelled to some of the world’s most dangerous (and compelling) places, risking her life to capture photos that change the way humanity views, well, humanity.  As it happens, the most dangerous place she’s been is the whisky distillery she inherited just shy of a year ago.

With nearly a year in the Scottish countryside, two deaths, and a small herd of adopted sheep behind her, Abi is hoping for a little peace and quiet, for a run of good luck rather than bad.  As fate would have it, that good luck comes in the form of several nominations for Abbey Glen’s beautifully crafted whisky and a four day stay in luxury accommodations while the competition is held, and the winners voted on.   The cherry on top?  Abi gets to spend the four days with her deliciously sexy partner, Grant, and her above average naughty dog 😊 With nothing but good feelings and high hopes, Abi and her furry beast set off for the competition.

Of course, as the last yearish has proven, Abi can’t seem to get away from drama and death!  Within 24 hours of her appearance at the lodge, Abi’s delightful dog, Liam gets her kicked out of the all too serious hunting session (why kill it when you can chase and retrieve it?), she becomes involved (as a listener only) in a heated debate about the inclusion or exclusion of foreign brands of whisky into a purely Scottish competition, and a guy is murdered.  Oh, and the next night, another guy is murdered.  Can’t a girl go a full year without someone being murdered in and around her presence??? 

As the bodies continue to fall and the threat level rises, Abi finds herself, once again caught up in the investigation.  Though she isn’t an official part of the investigation, even the intrepid and exhausted Detective Inspector Michaelson must admit, Abi has a keen sense of people and knows how to solve a puzzle.  Michaelson isn’t stupid and knows an asset when he sees one!  With some poking, prodding, and flat out conspiring, Abi begins to put the pieces together and what she finds is a troubling past, broken hearts, egos that have been trod upon, and wrong doing that has never met with proper justice.  The puzzle is large, the pieces are varied and wonky, and if Abi can’t work it all out, someone close to her is going to lose their life. In fact, three someone’s close to Abi are in danger and time is of the essence. 

The Bottom Line:  From start to finish I was invested in this book and the outcome.  Abi has had a year to become familiar with the whisky business, but this crazy competition has alerted her to how much she still has to learn, and the darker side of distilling prejudice.  Yeah, that’s a thing!  True to form, Abi dives right into the investigation and doesn’t let up until she puts all the pieces of the puzzle together.  Along the way, Abi and her feisty little dog Liam (seriously, he has some great moments!) encounter anger, resentment, friendship, curiosity, loyalty, and pure confusion.  There’s a killer in her midst and as Abi evolves as an investigator, she also evolves as a person/character.  As always, I loved having the cast and crew from the previous books appear in this book and evolve right along with Abi and Liam.  Finally, as with the first two books, the reader will receive a crash course in whisky, distilling, and the industry as a whole.  While this information may sound dry and dull, it isn’t at all and it fits nicely into the story and is accessible to even the most whisky ignorant of readers, such as myself 😊 I’m ready for the next round, bartender!

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