The Malt in Our Stars (A Literary Pub Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – Vermont
Publisher: Kensington (November 24, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
Kindle ASIN: B085LTJ164
There’s some shady business in Shady Creek, Vermont, this spring—in the third mystery by USA Today bestselling author Sarah Fox featuring pub owner and amateur sleuth Sadie Coleman . . .
Sadie is delighted to have booked famous romantic suspense novelist Linnea Bliss for an event at The Inkwell, her literary-themed pub, housed in a renovated grist mill. The author and her personal assistant Marcie are staying at Shady Creek Manor, a grand historical hotel that was once a private mansion and is rumored to still hold hidden treasure somewhere within its walls.
But the hotel’s storied past is nothing compared to its tragic present when Marcie plummets to her death from an open window on the third floor. After Sadie discovers signs of a struggle in the room, it’s clear that someone assisted the assistant out the window. But Marcie is new in town—who would have a motive to kill her?
In between pulling pints and naming literary-themed cocktails, Sadie takes it on herself to solve the case, wondering if the crime is connected to the vandalized vehicles of a film crew in town to do a feature on local brewer Grayson Blake, with whom Sadie shares a strong flirtation. Or could the poor woman’s defenestration have anything to do with the legendary treasure? As Shady Creek Manor prepares for a May Day masquerade ball, Sadie is determined to unmask the killer—but when she uncorks a whole lot of trouble, will she meet a bitter end?
Welcome to the Inkwell, a literary-themed pub owned by Sadie Coleman. Sadie is excited to host her first truly literary event, a book signing by famous romantic suspense novelist Linnea Bliss. The author and her assistant are staying nearby at Shady Creek Manor. The former private mansion has quite a history and some people believe there is a treasure hidden somewhere on the premises.
The book signing went great but the next day the author’s assistant falls to her death from a third-floor window at Shady Creek Manor. Sadie had been having lunch with Linnea Bliss and was leaving when she heard the young woman’s screams. Arriving at the scene just after she hits the pavement. Sadie puts on her sleuthing hat and decides to check out the room on the third floor before the police arrive. She knows immediately that fall was no accident. Linnea’s assistant was murdered. They were just visiting Shady Creek, why would anyone want to murder an author’s personal assistant? Sadie is determined to find out. Maybe it has something to do with the film crew from Craft Nation, a reality TV show, in town filming at Grayson Blake’s brewery. Maybe a fan of the author took things to the extreme. Or could it have been someone looking for the hidden treasure?
I love the setting of this series. A pub full of books, a menu full of literary-themed foods and drink, all reached by going over a little footbridge over Shady Creek. It would definitely be my happy place. Growing up my parents owned a tavern so I know the ins and outs. None of us kids wanted to take it over so it was sold but had I thought I could turn it into a place like the Inkwell, I may have changed my mind. Sadie has really taken her theme and ran with it. The food and drink all have names derived from popular books, like the Malt in My Stars.
Sadie is making herself right at home in Shady Creek and her pub appears to be a hit. She has found herself wrapped up in a few murder investigations. Her curious nature is well suited to her amateur sleuthing. The author has surrounded her protagonist with a strong supporting cast. Her Aunt Gilda owns a beauty shop and she keeps her ears open for any gossip that could help Sadie in her endeavors. Sadie leans heavily on her two employees, Damien and Melanie. They know the business and their presence lets Sadie run off to chase down any clues that pop up. Grayson Blake, owner of the Spirit Hill Brewery has really started to grow on Sadie. She gets all flustered around him because she can feel their relationship moving in what could be a romantic direction.
Ms. Fox has entwined two mysteries in this book. They may or may not be related but Sadie finds herself trying to solve both. They both had some nice twists and I enjoyed how they played out. I especially liked that the murder reveal happened at the annual Masquerade Party at the manor. It was the perfect place to unmask a killer. There were plenty of clues sparsed out throughout the book but I must have missed something because I was totally surprised when the killer was identified. Or more likely, Sarah Fox wrote a heck of a story that I escaped right into and let Sadie do the hard work. The story was very well-written and plotted and so interesting.
The Malt in Our Stars is a wonderful whodunit. Complex characters, an intriguing mystery, and a fun setting had me totally entertained from beginning to end. I am really looking forward to the next book in this series.
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About the Author
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”