Claret and Present Danger (A Literary Pub Mystery)
4th in Series
Setting – Vermont
Kensington (November 30, 2021)
Hardcover : 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496734025
ISBN-13 : 978-1496734020
Kindle ASIN : B08Y65YDJM
In this thrilling mystery by USA Today bestselling author Sarah Fox, deadly happenings stick around like red wine stains on white tunics when the Renaissance faire visits Shady Creek, Vermont.
The Trueheart Renaissance Faire and Circus has rolled into town, attracting locals who can’t wait to spend a few summer days lost in a whimsical world of all-knowing fortune-tellers and daring acrobats. Well-read pub owner Sadie Coleman is swept up in the magic herself when she serves drinks to the faire’s resident wizard, the shamelessly brazen illusionist Ozzie Stone, and scores two tickets to his dazzling performance.
Sadie has no complaints about indulging in a free show with her new beau, craft brewery owner Grayson Blake. But while Ozzie is an instant crowd-pleaser, the real surprise comes when he collapses in the middle of his set. It’s not part of the act—Ozzie is dead, seemingly poisoned by someone who wasn’t clowning around about writing the roguish showman’s final chapter.
The terrifying situation intensifies when the police eye one of Sadie’s employees, last seen caught in a suspicious fistfight at the fairgrounds. With so much at stake, Sadie must strain through a suspect list longer than her cocktail menu to find the real knave of a killer. But when another performer is murdered, it becomes clear that bringing the mixed-up murderer to justice will be about as dangerous as walking the high wire after happy hour . . .
Readers arrive in Shady Creek, Vermont just in time to visit the Trueheart Renaissance Faire and Circus. Not your typical Faire or Circus but a nice mix-up of the two. Under the big top, you will find aerial acrobats and an illusionist. Around the grounds, you will find a fortune teller and mermaids in a pool as well as several little shops selling food and faire attire. Literary Pub owner, Sadie Coleman, is happy about all the business the event has brought in. She is excited when illusionist Ozzie Stone gives her two tickets to his sold-out performance.
Sadie has visited the park to check out the faire with a friend but it is her beau, Craft brewery owner, Grayson Blake who she takes to see Ozzie Stone. The show starts out with some interesting illusions but after a fantastic trick, Mr. Stone collapses on the stage. Soon thereafter we learn that Ozzie Stone is dead. Some black magic must have taken place because the man was definitely murdered and the method of death is poison.
The park is full of suspects but when one of Sadie’s employees is arrested she knows she has to get involved. When another performer is killed she presses even harder to find the killer. The killer soon has Sadie in their sights too.
I said in a previous review that the Inkwell Pub run by Sadie Coleman would be my “happy place” and with each installment of this series that becomes more cemented in my mind. In fact the whole town of Shady Creek sounds like a wonderful place to live, sans the murders, of course. Ms. Fox has painted vivid pictures in my mind of every place Sadie goes since this series began. They are images that stick with me the whole year through so when I open the new book it feels so comfortable.
Sadie and Grayson finally get to spend more time together so there is a little more romance in this book and I loved it. They do seem to be the perfect couple and I really enjoyed how they worked together when Sadie had an idea she just had to follow.
With Damien in jail and Sadie needing to investigate a new employee is added and she fits right in. Again, Aunt Gilda keeps her ears open at the beauty shop and is around to give Sadie advice especially when she learns of someone coming for a visit.
All the core characters are nicely developed. The supporting cast of friends, employees and customers bring so much to the story and they really fill the pub up for special events.
Ms. Fox also introduces a bunch of new characters with the faire and circus in town but meet some new residents of Shady Creek too. I really enjoyed the mural painting subplot and the mystery it presented.
The author really put forth a complicated mystery. There are a ton of clues to work through and suspects to eliminate because the victim turned out to be quite a rogue. I must say I was totally shocked by the reveal of the killer and the motive because l was totally focused on the wrong things. I do love when I am surprised because that means the author plotted out a great mystery and I fell for every twist she wanted me to and some of them pushed me right to the edge of my seat.
Claret and Present Danger took me back to a place I love with characters I would want to be friends with. It has not one but two mysteries, a blooming romance, and the perfect amount of humor. Every book in this series has been a Perfect Escape and this one is no exception. I was delightfully entertained from page one. One of the subplots started in this book has built up my anticipation for the next book even more the normal so I truly can’t wait for book #5.
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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.”