A Houston reporter-turned-mixologist mixes it up with murder in this series debut from Michelle Hillen Klump, superbly catering to fans of Diane Mott Davidson and Lee Hollis.
Bad news for Samantha Warren: The plucky Houston, Texas, reporter lost her job and her fiancé in rapid succession. But Sam has a way of making lemonade out of the bitterest of lemons. At a meeting of the local historical-homes council, she serves up the homemade bitters that she made as gifts for her wedding party. She intends to use that as her “in” to become an in-demand party mixologist. But the party’s over for one of the council members, who keels over dead soon after he sips the bereft bride’s bitter brew.
It turns out that the victim, Mark, was poisoned—his drink spiked with oleander. Since Sam mixed the drink that Mark imbibed right before his demise, she finds herself at the front of the suspect line. Now, she’ll have to use all of her reporter’s wisdom and wiles to clear her name.
Who could have wanted Mark dead? His wife, Gabby? His girlfriend, Darcy? Someone who wanted his seat on the council? Or another citizen of this sweet Texas town that holds some seedy secrets?
Job hunting, building her mixology business, and fending off late-night phone calls from her nearly betrothed don’t leave much time for sleuthing. But if Sam can’t “pour” over the clues to find the killer, it may soon be last call for her. (Amazon)
The characters are well rounded and well developed. Samantha has lost her fiance and her job as a reporter. She is making bitters and hopes that she can make a go of her hobby. She is catering a historical party hoping that the people at it will love her bitters and bring her business. Instead she finds herself a suspect in a murder when someone is killed at the party. She will have to use all of her investigative skills to find the real killer before she is put away for life.
The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and these descriptions helped pull me into the story from the very beginning. The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The mystery was well plotted and it took some sleuthing to figure it out.
I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and NetGalley, which I greatly appreciate.