Beyond a Reasonable Stout
Sloan Krause Mysteries, Book #3
By Ellie Alexander
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
It’s the dead season in Leavenworth, Washington. The throngs of Oktoberfest crowds have headed home, and the charming Bavarian streets are quiet and calm—momentarily. Villagers use the reprieve to drink in the crisp fall mountain air and prepare for the upcoming winter light festival. Soon the German-inspired shops and restaurants will be aglow with thousands of twinkling lights. Visitors will return to the northern Cascades to drink warm mulled cider and peruse the holiday markets. Brewer, Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are using the slowdown to stock up on a new line of their signature craft beers at Nitro. They’re experimenting with a hoppy holiday pine and a chocolate hazelnut stout. The small brewery is alive with delicious scents and bubbling batches of brew.
Sloan is in her element. She loves the creativity and low-key atmosphere at Nitro. Only that is soon threatened by the incumbent city councilmember Kristopher Cooper. Kristopher is running for re-election on a platform of making Leavenworth dry. Everyone in beertopia is fuming. Leavenworth’s economy relies on keeping the kegs flowing. Kristopher wants to banish beer, a policy that might just bankrupt the entire village. However, Kristopher turns up dead days before election night. Sloan quickly realizes that his murder isn’t the work of a stranger. Friends, family, and every other business owner had a motive to kill him, including none other than April Ablin, Leavenworth’s self-described ambassador of all things German. Sloan finds herself defending April and trying to sleuth out a killer amongst a group of familiar faces. (Goodreads)
Beyond a Reasonable Stout is the third book in the Sloan Krause Mysteries series by Ellie Alexander. I must say right off the bat – I love this series. For some reason it just speaks to me. Actually – I will try to explain this a bit later in the review ☺ I have come to expect an entertaining cozy mystery with the writing of Ellie Alexander and this third installment of the Sloan Krause Mysteries does not disappoint.
Sloan Krause is slowly building the life she wants, as a separated (soon to be divorced) woman and as a brewer in a microbrewery (Nitro) with her business partner Garrett Strong. Oktoberfest has now ended and before the holiday season begins, Sloan and Garrett are creating some new and intriguing batches of beer (a hoppy holiday pine and a chocolate hazelnut stout). With an impending local election upon the town – rivalries are bound to occur – and being Leavenworth – a murder as well. When the incumbent council person Kristopher Cooper turns up dead, it seems there is no shortage of suspects. Mr. Cooper’s platform was to create a dry Leavenworth – not a good plan for this village! So one can see why Mr. Cooper just might end up dead. Given the suspects – Sloan dives in to help solve the murder (at the request of Chief Myers).
While I have a German name (Weis), my knowledge of the German language is limited (mein wissen ist begrenzt) but when I read the following passage – it elicited very fond memories of a family trip to Karlsruhe, Germany I took in my younger years:
“…The scent reminded me of the village during the winter light festival, where I would stroll through vendor booths in Front Street Park, sampling sugar doughnuts, fried potato pancakes, and steaming mugs of what Otto and Ursula called Glűhwein – which, literally translated, meant glow wine. It was made with citrus fruits, spices, and sugar and served at traditional Christmas markets.”
With moments like this in the book – how can I not love the series?
The continuation of the story line with respect to who Sloan’s birth parents are continues. Slow and steady progress, keeping this reader (as well as Sloan) asking questions and wondering who they might be! Cannot wait to see how this plays out in future books.
And what about the slow burn between Sloan and Garrett? Rightfully so, nothing is happening as of yet as Sloan is still married, but I sure get the feeling that maybe in the future there is more to their relationship than a business partnership. I shall wait patiently to see if anything transpires. But they do have chemistry ☺
Needless to say, Sloan does not disappoint in the sleuthing department. It was a process to week through all the possible suspects and various red herrings that are put in the way, but as the story winds down – the murderer is revealed along with their motive.
A purely delightful read which provided a few hours of pure entertainment. I love the characters, the setting, and the author’s writing style. I am already chomping at the bit to read the next book in the series, Without a Brew.