Booklover Sadie Coleman knows that in life, as in fiction, the right setting can make a world of difference. The small town of Shady Creek, Vermont, seems like the perfect place to start over after losing her Boston job to a merger and her relationship to her ex’s gambling addiction. She’s bought and redecorated the old grist mill pub, transforming the Inkwell into a cozy spot where tourists and regulars alike can enjoy a pint or a literary-themed cocktail, or join one of several book clubs.
Little by little, Sadie is adjusting to the rhythms of her new home. Fall in Shady Creek is bookmarked by the much-anticipated Autumn Festival, complete with a pumpkin catapult competition and pie bake-off. Unfortunately, the season also brings an unwelcome visitor—Sadie’s ex, Eric, who’s angling for a second chance . . .
Before Sadie can tell Eric to leave, he’s found dead near the Inkwell. When the local antique shop catches fire on the same night, it’s clear the town is harboring at least one unsavory character. Now, with her Aunt Gilda, her friend Shontelle, and the pub’s patrons all in the mix, Sadie must uncover the truth . . . before a killer declares last call.
The Bottom Line: I have to say, I have really been fortunate to come across some excellent new cozy mystery series this year! As you might suspect, Wine and Punishment is one I am glad to have run across as it combines two of my favorite things, a brewery/pub setting and a book theme. As far as the story itself goes, I was pretty much hooked from the beginning. Sadie is trying hard to fit into to her new community and her new life and that is made all the more difficult when her ex is found dead, she suspects the local most eligible bachelor, and the bad just keeps piling up. What I like most about Sadie is her determination to save the new life she has begun to build for herself. She isn’t going down without a fight and if that means she must solve a mystery on her own then she is absolutely going to do so. What’s more, Sadie isn’t the type of woman to fall for the first fine man she meets (plus she thinks he’s guilty of murder!) which makes for a decent level of personal and interpersonal tension throughout the read. I found the mystery itself to be interesting but made all the more fun and enjoyable because of the cast of characters and the fantastic setting. For sure, I will be coming back for more of this awesome and can’t wait to see how the bar and the community grow as they embrace Sadie and her brand of community spirit(s)!!