Photojournalist Abi Logan is finally ready to put her hectic career on hold and set down roots in the heart of the Scottish countryside. Studying the business and art of distilling whisky at Abbey Glen and volunteering at the Shepherd’s Rest women’s shelter in her spare time seem a surefire way to find the peace and stability she craves. It’s also the logical way to take her mind off her personal life. Abi’s business partner, Grant MacEwan, is facing a career-threatening disability, and as much as Abi longs to be there for him, he seems to prefer the company of a rival.
But as Abi becomes more involved with Shepherd’s Rest, she discovers that their refuge is elusive. When the shelter is rocked by a murder/suicide, Abi is outraged by the police’s lack of attention to these already marginalized women. Increasingly confident in her own skills as an investigator, Abi steps in to find out what the police will not: who left one young woman dead and another missing. But when more deadly deeds come to light, Abi must race to unravel the connections between the shelter’s benefactors and the women they have pledged to protect—and expose the killer before he strikes again.
Melinda Mullet’s delightful Whisky Business mysteries can be read together or separately. Enjoy responsibly:
SINGLE MALT MURDER | DEATH DISTILLED | DEADLY DRAM | DIED IN THE WOOL
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Read an Excerpt
It was a picture-perfect day for walking, and Liam trotted along happily at my heels as we made our way up the long drive toward the Larches, the MacEwen family estate and home to my business partner, Grant MacEwen. The sun was shining brightly, a rare and welcome sight for the first week of March in Scotland, and the shaggy conifers that gave the house its name were casting sharp shadows along the path in front of us. Once used to make the barrels that aged the family’s whisky, the trees now simply provided a stately gateway to the aging baronial house.
As we drew nearer, Liam put on a burst of speed and ran ahead to greet our friend Louisa, the Larches’ housekeeper and resident chef. The old food hound had a very clear idea of where his next meal was coming from and he knew it was well worth running for. Louisa stood on the front steps, her long, wavy brown hair caught in a loose bun on the top of her head, a bright yellow apron tied over her jeans and t-shirt. She was talking to a tall, thin Indian gentleman who stood beside her, a large leather bag slung over his shoulder.
As I approached, Louisa smiled and gestured to her companion.
“Abi, I don’t think you’ve met our new doc yet. He’s only bin here a week, poor soul, and already we’ve got him runnin’. Dr. Arya, this is Abigail Logan, our local celebrity journalist.”
Dr. Arya turned and greeted me. His handshake was firm and he regarded me with a frank, penetrating gaze. “It’s a pleasure,” I said. We’d been without a full-time doctor since our last one went to jail nearly a year ago and the village was thrilled to finally have a permanent replacement.
“How’s the patient?” I asked, nodding toward the house. Through the entryway the sound of raised voices drifted down from the upper floor, punctuated by the slamming of a heavy door.
“Healing is a process,” Dr. Arya said charitably. “Mr. MacEwen is still journeying along the path.”
“You mean he’s bein’ a right bugger,” Louisa translated.
Dr. Arya smiled softly. “Feel free to text me if you have any concerns,” he said as he turned to leave. “Otherwise, I’ll check back in another day or two.”
We watched as he climbed into his car and drove off down the drive, leaving a small cloud of dust in his wake.
“Haste ye inside,” Louisa said firmly. “I’m gaspin’ for a coffee.”
I eagerly followed Louisa downstairs into the massive stone-floored kitchen and settled myself at the scrubbed and polished oak table. Louisa flipped the switch on the coffee machine and came to join me with a plate of shortbread rounds topped with raspberry jelly and a large rawhide chew. Liam sat expectantly at attention until he was rewarded, then retired to the hearthrug to gnaw away at his prize.
“So what’s going on with the lord and master?” I asked as soon as we were all settled. I was curious. A Sunday morning house call was unusual, even in a village this small.
Louisa extended the plate of cookies, sighing deeply before answering. “It’s not good, actually. I’m really worried. More complications from the concussion. I knew somethin’ was wrong, but you know himself. He keeps it all inside, as if he thinks it might magically go away. Anyroad, he finally told Dr. Arya that he hasn’t been able to smell or really taste anythin’ since the accident.”
I stopped eating midbite. “What did the doctor say?”
“He told us that it wasn’t unheard of for this to be a side effect of a concussion, and he said it ‘should’ go away over time, but he wasn’t able to say when and he wasn’t able to say for sure that it would fix itself.”
Louisa rose to pour the coffee and I sat transfixed. Losing one’s sense of smell and taste were bad enough for a normal person, but Grant is what is known in our business as a ‘nose.’ At Abbey Glen, the distillery we owned and operated as a team, he was the master blender. The man whose delicate senses crafted and perfected the infinitely nuanced flavor profile that made our craft whisky one of the most sought after in the industry. Losing or even slightly impeding those senses would be professionally devastating. A career-ending disaster.
“How soon before they can tell?” I asked, still trying to wrap my head around the news.
“Doc said he’ll have to be patient.”
Louisa and I rolled our eyes in unison. “Hence the door slamming,” I said. “Is Brenna with him?”
“Aye, the big B’s taking the brunt of it at the moment. And she’s welcome to it.”
I hastily took a sip of coffee, burning the tip of my tongue as I did. My relationship with Grant had been a complex one from the start. Thrust together by the untimely death of my uncle Bennett and my subsequent inheritance of his single malt whisky distillery known locally as the Glen, I’d fought against a fierce visceral attraction to the sandy-haired Scot and his lethal green eyes. I knew that getting involved with my business partner would be a serious mistake. Not only would it threaten my newly found peace and security in this idyllic corner of the world, it would also undermine my credibility in an already misogynist and unwelcoming industry. I’d become nothing more than Grant’s “wee gurl” in the eyes of the other distillers.
Keeping my distance was the logical answer and I was sure I had this nailed, especially when Grant’s old flame Brenna Quinn showed up at the international whisky awards six weeks ago intent on rekindling their former relationship. With Brenna around Grant was off the market, and I’d not be tempted. Problem solved, or at least so I thought, until Grant was attacked, receiving a severe head injury that landed him in the hospital in critical condition.
Faced with the prospect of losing him, I came to the abrupt realization that I cared for him far more than I’d been willing to admit. Pity I hadn’t managed to figure that out before Brenna came along and staked her claim, but timing was never my strong suit.
When Grant was allowed to come home we were all under the impression that his recovery from the concussion would be gradual, but complete. His doctors recommended at least two months of total rest and, much to everyone’s annoyance, Brenna insisted on taking time off from her own family distillery in Wales to see that Grant did as he was told. Six weeks on, here we were, one surly patient, one hovering girlfriend, and me doing my best to rebalance my life on the sidelines.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Died in the Wool is the 4th book in the Shiskey Buisness Mystery and still going strong. A wonderful mystery well thought out and strong likable charaters. Abi is trying to solve a murder/suicide that happens to a woman from the refuge she works at. The police don't seem to be overly bothered so she sets out to find the why and the who amd protect the other women at the shelter. Lots of twists and turns, fast paced and very well written. I had to finish in one sitting to see who it was. Fun book works good in the series.
Although this is the fourth installment of this series and the first I've read, I didn't feel confused. The characters are well-developed and I didn't come across any references to earlier books that I couldn't make sense of. I have added the previous novels in the series to my "want to read" shelf because I liked this one so much. It's a light, cozy mystery that quickly drew me in. Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for the advanced copy!
Dollycas’s Thoughts Abi Logan is getting much more comfortable in her role as a distillery owner. She is taking classes to enrich her knowledge especially with her partner recovering from an injury that could end his career. She also is dealing with her ever-growing herd of rescued sheep who badly need to be sheered. When the local vet tells her not clipping their wool could be called animal abuse she promises to handle it right away but hates the thought of just throwing all the wool away. A reverend that was traveling with the vet tells her he knows someone who will take the wool, Amanda, the owner of a knitting shop who donates part of her profits to a shelter for abused woman. Abi sets up a meeting, she and Amanda hit it off right away. Abi is thrilled when she meets some of the women at the shelter and sees how the operation is run. She thinks the shelter is a perfect match to work with her foundation. Shortly after their meeting one of the women is found dead. The police feel the woman took her own life, but Amanda and Ali think otherwise. When another of the woman goes missing leaving her daughter behind, Abi finds herself embroiled in the middle of her own investigation. Time is of the essence because the killer could strike again and Abi could be the victim. _____ I love the way Melinda Mullet tells a story. She continues to top herself. Ms. Mullet quickly transports readers to Balfour and Edinburgh, Scotland and all their glory. Her words paint beautiful pictures in my mind of each place as we follow with Abi on her quest to catch a killer. The human characters are well developed with lives that ebb and flow realistically. The sheep, who all have names, and Abi’s dog, Liam and their antics add a great touch to the story too. Abi finally starts to realize her true feelings for Grant but it may be too late. Grant’s recovery is monitored by another woman who is doing all she can to become a permanent part of his life. A woman who may not only steal him from Abi but from Abbey Glen Abi has grown so much over the course of this series. She is truly becoming a vital part of her business. I like all the positive steps she has taken to make herself at home. The author has taken on an international issue – domestic abuse. Through this, we are introduced to several new characters, they are all connected to the Shepherd’s Rest Shelter. The women living there, one with her amazing daughter, members of the board, and Amanda the director. These characters are complex, some are really shady and downright corrupt. I have to say many parts hit me emotionally. The storyline was gripping and held my interest tightly. I enjoyed the twists, they kept me guessing right up to the very end. I read the entire thing in almost one sitting. I took a short break for food and discussed the book at the table, then skipped dessert to get back to reading. The characters draw you in, the story is very well-written, the location is ideal. Learning more about distilling whisky is always a fun bonus. Every book in this series is top-notch. I highly recommend every one. The author is generous and gives enough history of previous books that they can each be read on their own but for maximum enjoyment, you will want to read them all in order. This book on my Best Reads of 2019 list!
This was an interesting and entertaining read of the 4th book in the "Whiskey Business Mystery" series and my first book by Melinda Mullett. She develops her characters well and has an intriguing plot. I always appreciate an author even more, when the supporting characters are of great interest to the story and their interactions with the main characters. Abi is the central character and she is a fiercely, independent spirit, and is trying to better the community, as much as she can. She has a great friendly relationship with Patrick and a blossoming romance with Grant. Abi establishes other relationships along the way, since she has settled in the community. Abi has inherited a part ownership in the family whiskey distillery and a home with a large amount of money, as well. Abi finds out about a local women's abuse shelter and she takes part in donating wool to the shelter. For some reason, people keep giving her their sheep. Soon an eviction notice is given to the shelter and than there's a suspicious death, which turns out to be murder. One of the key aspects of this story is how the author approaches a very delicate subject matter, abused women and treats it with respect and dignity. Melinda Mullett is able to weave a wonderfully written story around by still encapsulating all the fine qualities of a great murder mystery read. I highly recommend this novel and I am looking forward to reading more of her novels.
Died in the Wool by Melinda Mullet in the fourth installment in her Whiskey Business Mystery series. It takes place in a smaller village (although encompasses Surrounding larger cities in Scotland) and focusses on the main character of Abigail (Abi) Logan. It follows off from the last installment where Grant is still recovering from a previous injury and Abi now has the dilemma on her feelings on Grant as a friend vs more, which adds a nice romantic aspect to the multi-layer mystery. Abi is trying to juggle her duties with her trust, Abbey Glen and her elderly sheep sanctuary and distillery, and her new position as a board member for Sheppard’s Rest, a shelter for abused women and children. I love all of the characters. I enjoyed Abi and the fact that I could relate to her (being close to my age of early 30s) in that she is imperfect and recognizes her faults, but is a good person despite it all. The supporting characters were like able and believable and the murder mystery was intriguing and was interlaced so that I was not able to figure out the culprit(s) until the end. It was enjoyable and I look forward to a continuation of this series . 5/5 stars
Abi Logan has a lot on her plate, running the Abbey Glen distillery with her partner Grant, running her charity in her Uncle’s name, and most recently supporting a women’s shelter. When she agrees to help the shelter by donating the wool from her sheep, she didn’t see herself become part of the board that oversees the shelter, but she agrees when asked and serves with her whole heart. When one of the residents of the shelter is found dead and the cook disappears leaving her daughter behind, Abi steps up to help find out what is going on. While a few of the other board members don’t seem to genuinely care about the women, other flags go up and Abi wonders if they might have had a hand in the death and disappearance. Back in Balfour Abi is coming up with ideas to help the distillery run the business while Grant’s sense of taste and smell come back to him as he recovers from his injuries. But Brenna, her partners ex girlfriend is also in town and trying to weasel her way back into Grant’s life, making it hard for Abi to declare her feelings for Grant and stake her own claim to his heart. Before long, Abi, Grant and Abi’s BFF Patrick are all involved in trying to mystery and trying to get the abducted woman back before it’s too late. With Abi’s timing and luck, she may be too late after all. Too late for saving the woman, too late for declaring her feelings for Grant, and too late to save herself and her friends. This is a fantastic series set in Scotland and I savor each book like a fine glass of Abbey Glen’s best. The characters are multi dimensional and come to life as you read. A great whodunit that will leave you wanting more!
I admit up front that I'm a fan of this series, which is technically a cozy but somehow is a bit more in depth than the usual. If you haven't read the previous books, don't worry because Mullet does a nice job of synopsis and you'll totally get who's who etc. This time out, Abi is coping not only with Grant's loss of smell as a result of injuries he suffered in the last installment- making it difficult at the whiskey business- but also the fact that his ex has come to town and is, to put it mildly, hovering. She's got a new purpose, though in the abused women's shelter which she's supporting. And then, regrettably, there's a murder at the shelter and Abi's off to the races, along with Patrick. Abi, who s sort of a fish out of water in her small Scottish town, always works with, not against, law enforcement, which I see as a plus. It's a good, just twisty enough read. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. Love the characters and am looking forward to the next one!