Murder again stalks the breweries of the Butternut Valley and with it, something potentially more explosive—hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a gas exploration technique that could destroy the air, water, and serenity of the region and pit neighbor against neighbor; and this time Hear must pursue the killer alone as well as find some way to bring an end to the fracking controversy before it tears apart her once peaceful community.
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Poisoned Pairings is the second installment of Lesley Diehl’s Hera Knightsbridge Mystery series and picks up where A Deadly Draught leaves off. Again, Diehl displays her talents as a mystery writer with a flair for the psychological, and combines this with her knowledge of micro brewing, and a cast of quirky characters to come up with another winner. In the quaint rural town of Butternut Valley, New York, a college intern has been found dead the night before the pairings event that was to take place on Hera’s property. With barely enough time to recuperate from the murder investigation, which began in her brew barn the previous summer, another dead body is found! As a result, Hera is being treated like an outcast by the local townspeople and the college has disassociated itself from her and the unpleasantness that surrounds her. While the lead investigator, who just happens to be Hera’s boyfriend, works the case, Hera once again places herself in harm’s way as she attempts to solve the murder. But when Hera’s truck is tampered with and Jake is called away, Hera leaves herself exposed and vulnerable to a cold blooded killer! Diehl serves up multiple sub-plots ranging from a dangerous cult and its controlling leader, to the hydraulic fracking controversy that has the farmers and micro brewers feuding, to the questionable claims over the rightful heirs to the Ramsford fortune; but would any of these situations trigger someone to commit murder? Diehl does a superb job keeping the reader guessing from beginning to end.