Through the Liquor Glass
Literary Pub Mystery #5
By Sarah Fox
Author’s website: authorsarahfox.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Autumn brings a wonderland of color and atmosphere to Vermont. As the last leaves fall from the trees, the town is gearing up for a new festival: A Taste of Shady Creek. Pub proprietor Sadie Coleman is looking forward to visitors coming to sample her literary-themed cocktails. She’s a little more wary about her mother’s impending first visit. What if her mom doesn’t like Sadie’s adopted town—or her new boyfriend, Grayson Blake?
Those concerns are overshadowed when a food critic is found dead at Grayson’s craft brewery, pinned under a barrel. Curiouser and curiouser—the victim is linked to Grayson’s past as a private investigator, and all the evidence points to him as the killer. While Grayson lays low, Sadie starts some investigating of her own, diving down a rabbit hole of suspects. Was it a bad review that made the killer mad as a hatter? Or are there other motives at play?
In between serving Kiss of the Cider Woman cocktails and book-minded bites to festival goers, Sadie is striving to clear Grayson’s name. But it’ll take more than a dash of ingenuity to prevent the festival from fizzing out completely—and stop a killer from downing another innocent life . . . (from Goodreads)
Sadie’s pub, the Inkwell, is a fabulous setting for this autumn-themed cozy mystery. I enjoyed this fifth in the series! The mysteries were complex and kept me following clues and guessing throughout. Characters are defined so well that I could picture them, as well as the gorgeous Vermont scenery.
The Inkwell combines Sadie’s love of literature and mysteries with a cozy eatery that welcomes tourists, locals, and book clubs. The menu includes a new take on traditional foods and beverages named after authors, novels, and literary characters.
The local current event is A Taste of Shady Creek, where food and beverage providers serve samples of their popular fare to tourists, food and travel writers, and locals. Sadie’s mother is coming for her first visit, and it will be the first time she will meet Grayson, Sadie’s boyfriend and the owner of Spirit Hill Brewery. Sadie’s mother doesn’t know that Sadie has helped solve several murders in Shady Creek, and hopefully nobody will fill her in.
The night before A Taste of Shady Creek opens, two competing food writers and a travel writer are served at the Inkwell. Sadie had seen Dominique earlier that morning, being yelled at by a very angry former restauranteur. At the Inkwell, she is friendly and curious of how Sadie came up with a literary pub. Phoebe was in the tasting room of Grayson’s brewery earlier that day and is dismissive of Sadie. The food writers got into a spat in the ladies’ room that Sadie broke up; only Dominique apologized. When Nick arrived at the pub, Dominique paled and quickly left.
The next night, Sadie went to see Grayson after her long day at A Taste of Shady Creek. Grayson learned that Dominique had been at the brewery to see him about “Samantha” and made an appointment to see him the next morning. He had known Dominique in the past and was angry that she looked him up. Sadie joined him on his usual walk thru of the brewery before leaving. They found Dominique dead under a keg of brew; it appeared she also had a deep head wound. When Grayson was a private investigator, his mentor passed away. His mentor’s daughter Samantha was killed when the houseboat she lived on was blown up. He always suspected Dominique but couldn’t prove it. He had been arrested for harassing her and the charges were later dropped.
The following morning, one of the brewery wrenches was found under his kitchen sink with blood on it. Someone was setting him up, and he had to find who really killed Samantha. When the police showed up, he went into hiding, and did not tell anyone where he would go. Sadie was going to find out who killed Dominique. She already saw several people with possible motives, so it couldn’t be that difficult. She just wanted Grayson to come back home.
Reading this is like catching up with old friends, the characters are so realistic. Sadie is my favorite, and her aunt Gilda is second favorite. Gilda has been a sounding board and source of encouragement and friendship long before Sadie came here to visit and decided to stay. I also enjoy her best friend Shontelle and Grayson. Her staff at the pub is like its own close-knit family. Her perseverance is part of what makes her a great business owner, friend, and sleuth.
Plot twists keep the story moving forward at a steady pace. She tries hard to not let her mom hear the full truth of why Grayson has not come to meet her yet. Sadie has clever ideas and goes to any length to follow up on them, even if it means climbing trees and escaping from hotel windows. The solution is one that I had only briefly considered but set aside for other prospects. I was very surprised and impressed with Sadie’s discovery of the motive, then the killer! The end is completely satisfactory, and I highly recommend this cozy mystery and series.