Series: Whiskey Business #3
Published by Alibi on September 4, 2018
Genres: British mystery, Cozy Mystery
Source: the publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Bookshop
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Also in this series: Single Malt Murder
Also by this author: Single Malt Murder
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.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Women, Whiskey, and Chocolate
A Guest Post by Melinda Mullet
Women are entering the whisky business now in ever increasing numbers and more and more woman are discovering whisky as a beverage. Women who make whisky embrace the spirit in all its forms, but many on the marketing side of the whisky game are trying to push a new wave of whisky that purports to cater to “women’s tastes.” The premise of this sales pitch is that women’s tastes are different than men’s. That women favor lighter, sweeter whiskies.
As is so often the case, generalizations like this persist because there is some element of truth in them. To be honest most new whisky drinkers start with the lighter, softer more approachable whiskies – male or female. If you have a taste for whisky you generally move on to explore more complex whiskies—male and female drinkers alike.
So why does Madison Avenue continue to try to ‘pink’ their whisky campaigns aimed at women? Famous whisky producer Johnnie Walker recently released a new version of it’s black label whisky called Jane Walker with a female version of the iconic striding man figure on the label. For what it is worth, it is exactly the same whisky inside the bottle as their regular black label whisky with the founder Johnnie Walker on it. In an epic PR gaff, the Jane was scheduled for release on Hillary Clinton’s inauguration day. In the end, it didn’t see the light of day until March 2018 when it was unveiled to honor Women’s History Month.
How was it received? Some women were insulted by the attempt to genderize the liquor, others by the statement that the whisky would be less “intimidating” — for women one presumes. With any luck these negative responses will help advertisers understand that woman don’t need to have whisky, or anything else for that matter, dumbed down for us. Whisky is acquired taste for many — male or female. The important thing is not to let anyone intimidate you into not trying it, or not liking it, or in fact liking it served any way that appeals to you — including with ice, lots of water, or the mixers of your choice.
In the Whisky Business Mystery series, Abi Logan inherits a single malt whisky distillery in rural Scotland. Not a whisky drinker herself when she arrives, she finds the local tipple to be a revelation.
I took a large swig of the amber liquid …[f]ully prepared to hide a grimace, [but] was surprised to find that, even at full strength, it tasted more like a vintage brandy than the whiskies I knew. Not just good, but really good. Redolent of figs and caramel and Christmas pudding. A gentle touch of comfort and warmth, [and] I continued to sip from the glass, allowing the glow to spread through me like a ghostly caress.
Abi is soon a convert and finds that whisky is a part of the lifeblood of the region. The local village tea shop is called the Chocolate Bar. It’s run by Floss Robinson and her husband Harold, and the locals love the shop’s lavender walls covered in shelves stacked with every imaginable kind of chocolate. Cadbury’s is the main staple, but there are plenty of Swiss and German and French confections as well. Glass jars filled with malted milk balls and chocolate-covered nuts sit alongside boxes and bars of chocolate of all shapes and sizes.
Even Floss and Harold have found a way to incorporate whisky into their offerings. Two menu staples are the Highland Fling, and the Five O’Clock Somewhere. Give them a try and see if they don’t convert you to a whisky drinker!
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
¼ cup chocolate chips
½ cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 oz. Whisky of choice
1 oz. Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
Heat ingredients minus alcohol over a medium high heat until combined, but do not boil!
Remove from heat. Add whisky and Frangelico and divide into warmed mugs. Top with whipped cream and enjoy!
“Five O’Clock Somewhere”
1.5 oz of Godiva Chocolate liqueur
.5 oz of whisky (Try some Jane Walker!)
Shake over ice and strain in to a martini glass. Serve with shortbread fingers on the side.
The Whiskey Business series continues to delight me. Of course, it’s set in Scotland, a country I’ve visited twice and have always felt drawn to. Ms. Mullet does a good job with description and scene setting, vividly depicting Abbey Glen, the nearby village, and other Scottish venues such as the country-house hotel in this novel.
But it’s her characters that come most alive for me. Abi is a wonderful personality, and her experience as a professional photojournalist makes her curiosity and propensity for involving herself in murder investigations both likely and believable. I love her unruly but loyal wheaten terrier, Liam; her best friend, Patrick; and her complex relationship with Abbey Glen’s master brewer, Grant. (There were hints before the start of this book that things might tend in a romantic direction between Abi and Grant, but don’t hold your breath.) And I enjoy the relationship between Abi and the police inspector, Michaelson, which is also complex. Michaelson is slightly antagonistic even when he has to make use of her as a witness or as a photographer, but at the same time, he and Abi are both are coming to recognize and respect the skills of the other.
The mystery in this third book truly kept me guessing right up to the denouement, and the accumulating evidence had me looking at all the wrong people… which put me in good company, since both Michaelson and Abi did the same. There are rather a lot of suspects and potential victims to keep track of; I would have appreciated a “cast of characters” list to help me out until I had everyone’s name and pertinent information memorized. But once I had everyone sorted, I was quickly swept up into the story.
One side effect of following this series is that I’ve learned quit a bit about whiskey, in particular Scots (or “Scotch”) whiskey. I only regret that I’ve not developed a palate for it — yet. However, my well-developed mystery palate was quite happy to imbibe a Deadly Dram.