This post is going to take a look at Wine and Punishment written by Sarah Fox. I checked this book out from the academic library I work at. It was released November 2019 so those of you looking for a light mystery can enjoy it right now! This is the first book in a new series by Fox called A Literary Pub Mystery.
Sadie Coleman has relocated to Shady Creek, Vermont, after a break up with her long term boyfriend Eric in Boston. Shady Creek is a small town that lives for seasonal festivals–and the Autumn festival is very important to the town. It highlights local businesses to leaf-peeping tourists, pumpkin pie baking contests, and more. Sadie bought a local mill building, and has built her business as a literary themed pub, serving drinks like Huckleberry Gin–and yes the book includes recipes!!
But somebody in town doesn’t like Sadie. Her tires were slashed, her building egged, her shed lit on fire, oh and did I mention her ex was murdered!? Shady Creek isn’t used to so much scandal occurring and the town is a buzz between the Autumn Festival and all of the crimes taking place. Sadie can’t stand aside and let the police investigate on their own, so she takes it into her hands to do her own side investigation to identify Eric’s killer.
Could it be handsome Grayson Blake, the local brewery owner? Everybody in town loves him, but he’s always been hostile toward Sadie. Eric’s body was also found at the edge of his property. As the book goes on the suspect list grows to include other people in town with varying degrees of motive and opportunity to commit the various crimes.
Will Sadie figure out who is committing these crimes before she too ends up dead? Will she come around to liking Grayson Blake like everyone else in town? Will her pub, the Inkwell, survive as a business?
Wine and Punishment was an easy read, and an enjoyable cozy mystery. I enjoyed the different characters that Fox introduced throughout town, and Shady Creek definitely has the feel of a small New England town. I didn’t figure out the killer until very shortly before it was revealed. I am looking forward to picking up the second book in the series: An Ale of Two Cities.