Death Distilled: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet
Photojournalist by trade, distillery owner by blood, and amateur sleuth by necessity, Abigail Logan learns that murder can’t stay bottled up forever in this charming Whisky Business Mystery.
It’s been three months since Abi Logan last checked in on Abbey Glen, the celebrated whisky distillery she inherited. With her oversize wheaten terrier, Liam, by her side, Abi returns to the quaint Scottish village of Balfour. But her relaxing Highland homecoming takes a stressful turn when she unearths an unseemly bit of village history, welcomes a group of Japanese whisky enthusiasts, and becomes shepherdess to an unexpected flock of sheep—all within the first twenty-four hours. Still, nothing’s more stressful than murder. . . .
Local celebrity Rory Hendricks is the hotheaded, hard-rocking former frontman of the Rebels—and Abi’s girlhood crush. After meeting him in person, Abi can’t say no to anything he asks, like photographing his upcoming show . . . or figuring out who’s trying to kill him. Turns out someone’s been bumping off his old bandmates, with the drummer dead under mysterious circumstances and the keyboardist in a coma following a hit-and-run. Now a series of threatening messages leads Rory to think he’s next on the chopping block. And the band has a devil’s share of broken hearts and bitter disputes in their past, leaving Abi a huge batch of suspects to sift through—all before the killer takes another shot.
Melinda Mullet’s delightful Whisky Business mysteries can be read together or separately. Enjoy responsibly
Guest Post from Melinda Mullet
“Show me the way to the next whisky bar…”
The Doors, Alabama Song
“What have you got at the end of the day?…
A bottle of whisky and a new set of lies.”
Dire Straits, Private Investigations
Whisky and rock and roll share a fundamental affinity that was very much in my mind as I wrote Death Distilled, the latest installment in the Whisky Business mystery series. Being a passionate fan of both rock music and whisky I love the harmony of spirit between the two. Each is a mystical blending of art and alchemy that gives an exuberant pulse to the rhythm of life. Not only that, they both share roots in rebellion and defiance, and they’re both created by artists with great passion and intensity.
In Death Distilled, the protagonist is confronted with two murders; one modern day demise and one historic. The present day mystery revolves around a whisky swilling rock and roller who was once the lead singer of the wildly successful group called the Rebels. The moody and sometimes volatile rocker enlists Abi Logan’s help to find a killer and she must root around in the band’s past to try and discover the murderer hidden in the slew of broken hearts and broken promises the band left in their wake.
The historical underpinnings of this mystery were inspired by my affection for the defiant history of the Scottish people and the inextricable connection of whisky to their struggles for freedom. Death Distilled provides an intimate portrait of the local whisky rebels woven between the threads of the contemporary mystery. Like defiant youngsters in the 60’s rebelling against the ‘Man’ with their loud rock and roll, the Scottish people have a long history of rebelling against foreign usurpers, particularly their neighbors to the south.
In the wake of the somewhat misnamed Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707, the British imposed numerous restrictions on the Scottish people not the least of which was a hefty tax on their beloved whisky. The Scottish opposed British rule in the up-risings of 1715 and 1719 before being overwhelmingly defeated in 1746 at the infamous Battle of Culloden, a sore spot in the collective national consciousness to this day. In the wake of the bloody defeat, the British made an attempt to anglicize the Highlanders through a program of legislated cultural oppression. Wearing clan tartans was prohibited, bagpipes were outlawed, weapons were confiscated and taxes were once again raised on whisky to help fund British wars with France and America.
Now, the Scotsman’s reputation for being frugal is not unjustified and tax dodging soon became an obsession. Illicit stills popped up in record numbers in every nook and cranny of the countryside and smugglers began a booming black market trade. Tax-free whisky moved about the country in coffins and farm carts and under the skirts of farmer’s wives. This collective defiance was a point of national pride. For the Scots each gallon of illicit whisky they could hide from the British revenuers was a victory in principle, each barrel a loving tribute to tradition, and each drop of revenue a recompense for the pains of old.
To this day a Scotsman wouldn’t thank you for denying him his daily dram, and the national passion for crafting single malt whisky from the grain of the lands and the pure water that runs through the hills has only increased. New boutique distilleries are cropping up all over Scotland paying homage to their rebellious forbears and their small stills. Unlike their large corporate neighbors, micro-distilleries grow their own ingredients, ferment, distil, bottle, label and age on site. Usually with a small staff and an obsessive attention to quality and taste.
The end product is a highly nuanced whisky that reflects the land and the environment from which it comes. One distillery is offering whisky lovers the opportunity to purchase their own cask of new run whisky and have it aged in the company’s vaults till it’s ready to drink. For a mere $3,000, plus tax of course, you too can have your very own private label whisky. Too rich for my blood, but I suspect there’s a rock star or two that will be happy to pay the price.
Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children.
Melinda lives just outside of Washington, DC with her whisky-collecting husband, two extraordinary young women she is proud to call her daughters, and an obedience school drop out named Macallen.
Book Review by Bree Herron
This book is transporting, and one that I was thrilled to get into my Kindle. This series has a sense of magic, though there isn’t an ounce of magic to the series. It is a most relaxing read, and gives me high hopes for the next book.
Abi is back and she is finding her ground in the distillery world. Having her handsome (come on you know this dog is beautiful) dog Liam with her she is ready to solve this next mystery. Rory the rock star was certainly different to me. I found that I enjoyed the unique style to this character and the interactions Abi had with him. Patrick is a hoot again, and is always keeping Abi on the rim of glass, I mean edge of her seat. It was nice to visit with familiar characters and meet new ones as well.
How do you not want to just jump into that chair and curl up with a good book? This was a cover that calls to me in more ways than one. I am drawn beyond words to this series, and this cover tops the icing with sprinkles feeling. I find that the Scottish influence is done in such a manner as to not be over done and yet it feels like Scotland.
Patrick showing up and telling Abi about the visitors coming to her distillery. And Abi with sheep, well let me just say she shouldn’t quit her day job or sleuthing anytime soon. The overall book was a delight, as was the first and I find myself wandering through the village in my thoughts after finishing this book.
Seriously, it’s Scotland. Need I say more… Okay, this author builds the setting into a living and breathing fictional town. It is a host to my thoughts for a vacation. The Scottish Highlands are calling to me.
This series and this book hold something for readers that is indescribable. I am left thinking about the book days after finishing. It held my attention, it made me guess different situations and it is unique to the cozy world. This book was amazing and I couldn’t wait to get to the end only because I wanted the answers to the mystery, now I can’t wait for another book to come.
Two different giveaways are being hosted here exclusively on Bibliophile Reviews. I am excited to share that one lucky person who makes a comment on this review, will receive an audio copy of Single Malt Murder. I know that it is a must listen! Now you can also enter into the giveaway to win: (2) E-Copy Death Distilled: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet, here is that link!
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