Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery

Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery

by Melinda Mullet

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Overview

Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery by Melinda Mullet

Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect . . . even murder.

When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.

Melinda Mullet’s delightful Whisky Business mysteries can be read together or separately. Enjoy responsibly:
SINGLE MALT MURDER | DEATH DISTILLED | DEADLY DRAM

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399179051
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/21/2017
Series: Whisky Business , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 300
Sales rank: 7,824
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

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. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

“Are you going to tell me why you’re sitting there looking like something the cat dragged in on an off night, or should I order another bottle of wine and start guessing?”

Patrick Cooke might have been my oldest and closest friend, but that remark still earned him a kick in the shins under the table between us. He scowled, the gold flecks in his brown eyes flashing, but it didn’t stop him from continuing to assess me with a critical eye.

“Truth is a defense, Abi,” he said. “Have you even glanced in a mirror lately?”

“Not if I can help it,” I admitted, downing the dregs of my wine and extending the glass for a refill.

I probably did look like hell. I couldn’t remember when I’d last run a comb through my hair, and I seldom bothered with makeup even at the best of times. But it’d been a particularly tough week, and for a photojournalist who spends most of her professional life crawling through the filth of one war zone after another, that was saying something. I deserved to be cut a little slack and I certainly didn’t need to be judged by Patrick with his impeccably coordinated clothes and perfectly gelled hair.

Tonight he looked even more out of place than usual next to the scruffy journalists and media types that call this corner of London’s Fleet Street home, but the Scrivener’s Arms had been our regular post-work watering hole for more than ten years, and I refused to migrate to the trendier West End bars just because Patrick had recently been promoted to associate editor of Wine and Spirits Monthly.

“You should take better care of yourself, you know,” Patrick chided, moving his legs out of the line of fire. “You’re not as young as you used to be.”

“Thirty-four is hardly old. And besides, no one cares how I look. Especially when I’m on assignment.”

“You mean you don’t care. But you can’t fly under the radar anymore. People know who you are. At least in our business everyone knows the name Abigail Logan. You’ve won more awards than any journalist I know.” Patrick raised a hand before I could interrupt. “And you’ve earned every one of them. Your pictures are brilliant.”

I couldn’t help bristling. “I don’t want to be well known,” I insisted. I hated to be the focus of attention; that was Patrick’s thing. Back when we first met at university, I was happily buried in the psych department’s research lab studying the inner workings of the mind. An experiment on the effects of sleep deprivation brought Patrick into my life. He arrived as a guinea pig and never quite left. We were an unlikely duo—I was a loner and Patrick was never alone—but somehow we complemented one another and were better for each other’s company.

Patrick encouraged my love of photography, and over time I grew more and more fascinated by the way the inner psyche was reflected in the human face. Eventually I began to think of photos as a frozen glimpse of the mind within. I was obsessed with studying people’s faces, and as it turned out, I had a knack for portraits. The next thing I knew, Patrick was dragging me along to interview for a summer job at The London Gazette. Twelve years later, I was still there, immortalizing real people, in real moments of crisis, in every dark corner of the world.

I sighed heavily. “All I ever wanted was to make a difference.”

“You have made a difference,” Patrick argued. “I’m the one who critiques wine for a living. Why are you suddenly selling yourself short?”

“The news business is changing,” I lamented. “I met with my editor this afternoon to go over the pictures I took in Sierra Leone last week. Gut-wrenching stuff. If he ran them, no one would be able to ignore what’s happening there, but he won’t touch them. He’s afraid of losing advertising revenue.”

“You know it’s all about the money these days.”

“It shouldn’t be. So I told him what to do with his next assignment . . .”

Patrick’s eyes grew wide and he stared at me, momentarily speechless. “You quit?”

“I tried. He said I was succumbing to ‘female hysteria’ and gave me a few days of unpaid leave to ‘reconsider my position,’” I said, shredding my cocktail napkin into a blizzard of tiny pieces. “I have nine months left on this wretched contract. If I break it now it’ll cost me a bloody fortune. I wanted to tell him to get stuffed, but I can’t even afford my own principles.”

“Why don’t you go freelance when your contract’s up? You have the clout now. Who needs to go overseas? The streets of Britain are awash with repressed emotion and cross-cultural animosity congealing in the cold and damp. Take a job closer to home for once, get some sleep in your own bed, and spend some more time with Ben while you can.”

I buried my face in my hands. Too many raw emotions were coursing through me, and the tears that I’d been suppressing all evening came flooding out.

“Abi? What’s going on?” Patrick leaned across the table. “I know you. This is more than some philosophical difference with your boss.”

It took me a minute to trust my voice. I should have led with this, but every time I said it, it became more real, more painful.

I took a deep shuddering breath. “I was still in Africa when I got a message from Ben’s doctor in Scotland saying he was in a bad way. I caught a military flight out, but by the time I got as far as London, he’d died.”

Patrick’s perpetually sardonic expression softened to one of genuine concern. “Oh, Abi, I am so, so sorry.”

I tried to focus on my glass, watching the edges blur as the tears filled my eyes. “I would have called you sooner, but your assistant said you were boozing it up in Berlin on some junket, and I didn’t want to bother you.”

“Don’t be stupid, you should’ve called. What happened? I thought he was doing better before you left.”

“He was. Holding his own, anyway, but he caught pneumonia. After the last round of chemo he just wasn’t strong enough to fight it.”

Patrick reached across the table and gave my arm a squeeze. “I know this is a blow, but even if you’d made it back sooner, there’s nothing you could’ve done to stop it.”

“I could’ve been there. After everything we’ve been through, he died alone.” I lowered my voice as the adjacent table turned to stare at us. “I didn’t expect the end to come so quickly. I thought we had more time.”

“Abi, you can’t beat yourself up over this,” Patrick insisted. “You know he wouldn’t blame you.”

“But I blame me.” We lapsed into silence, each lost in our own thoughts.

Patrick was right. Ben would never blame me for not having been there, but I couldn’t forgive myself. Ben had been there for me in my darkest hour, and in the end I wasn’t there for him. More than twenty-five years had passed, but the memory of waking up in hospital alone and frightened was still as clear to me as if it were yesterday. An ordinary night out at the movies, a short drive home, a blinding flash of headlights, and then blackness. At the age of eight it hadn’t seemed possible that my parents could be gone forever, but that unfathomable reality sent my world spinning out of control. Uncle Ben had been the only solid ground under my feet. Our already tiny family was down to two, and we clung to each other like lost souls adrift at sea.

A prominent, successful broker in London, Ben hadn’t made time for a wife and family himself, but after the death of his brother and sister-in-law, he embraced being a father with gusto. He moved me into his townhouse in Chelsea along with four goldfish, two hamsters, a gecko, and an eclectic assortment of books, art supplies, and muddy football cleats. It was like Harrods Toy Kingdom meets Architectural Digest, but against all odds, Ben made it work.

Looking back on it now, I don’t know how he did it. He worked insane hours, but it never stopped him from being around. He always made time for me. According to the headmistress at school, I was a “difficult child,” but Ben never accepted that. He was my champion. When teachers found me stubborn and headstrong, Ben maintained I was creative and free-spirited. I had passionate views about everything. It made me opinionated and often abrasive, but as far as Ben had been concerned, I simply had a strong moral compass. He saw the best in me, even when others couldn’t. And now that he was gone, a small selfish part of me despaired that no one else ever would.

“What happens next?” Patrick prodded gently.

I blew my nose into the last of the cocktail napkins and sat up reaching for my bag. “I was in marathon meetings with Ben’s lawyers yesterday. Reams of legalese. I don’t understand half of it, but look at this.”

Patrick scanned the pages I handed him. “He left you nearly everything. No surprise there, you’re the only family he had . . .”

“Read on.”

“. . . all lands and properties . . .”

“That’s it. The lands and properties bit.”

“He owns property up in Scotland, then?”

“Sadly, yes. He’s been going up there for years because of a couple of big clients in Edinburgh. But fifteen years ago he bought himself a new toy—a run-down whisky distillery. It’s been a mad hobby of his ever since. When he decided to retire six years ago, he bought the adjacent farmhouse and started spending a lot of time up there.”

“And you’ve inherited the distillery?” Patrick said, trying to hide the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth.

“Not just inherited. I’ve been given complete control over the business, and it looks like somebody’s none too happy about it. This arrived under my door overnight.” I handed Patrick an envelope with no return address or postmark. He pulled out the plain card within and read:

No woman should possess the water of life,
Try and you’ll die at the point of a knife.

“Appalling verse,” Patrick noted.

“I’m not looking for a literary analysis. This is some kind of bizarre death threat. I searched ‘water of life’ and it’s a translation of the ancient word for whisky. This must have come from someone connected with the distillery.”

“Maybe it’s just some Celtic curmudgeon’s idea of a joke.”

I scowled across the table at Patrick. “Not funny. It gives me the creeps.”

“Were people friendly when you visited before?”

“I’ve never visited.”

Patrick looked dumbfounded. “You mean you’ve never seen the place?”

“Rural Scotland’s too rustic for my taste.”

“Says the girl who’s spent half her life dodging gunfire in Third World countries.”

“My travel schedule’s been brutal lately without having to trail up to the wilds of Scotland in my time off. Besides, once Ben was diagnosed with the cancer he was back down to London for treatments so regularly I saw almost as much of him as when he lived here. More to the point, I didn’t want to see it. In fact, I tried to get him to give up on the distillery. I was afraid it was sapping his strength, but he swore it gave him more vitality than it took.”

“And what’s Ben’s place called?”

“Abbey something,” I said, flipping through the pages. “Here it is . . . ‘Abbey Glen.’”

“You’re kidding.” Patrick frowned. “How did I not know that Ben owned Abbey Glen?”

“Because I never let the two of you talk shop when we got together, but never mind that. You’ve heard of it? What can you tell me?”

Patrick shook his head in amazement. “Abbey Glen’s only one of the hottest up-and-coming independent single malt producers in Scotland. Small and very pricey, a boutique distillery. The kind of place Ben would love. It’s a real class act.”

“Ben never did anything halfway in his life.” I sighed. “I should’ve known he’d make a decent whisky.”

“Decent? More than decent. It’s exquisite. Graceful, smooth, complex . . .”

“Stop.” I raised my hands in protest. “We’re talking about booze here, not art. You sound like Ben when he started to wax poetic about the stuff.”

“Connoisseurs are very serious about their malts,” Patrick replied stiffly.

“Don’t get stroppy, I need your help. Let’s face it, what I know about running a whisky distillery would fit into a shot glass with room to spare. But the Abbey Glen crowd doesn’t know that. So why am I getting death threats?”

Patrick considered the question with a pained look on his face. “For the Scots, whisky is more than a drink, Abi—it’s an obsession. Like the tourist board says, ‘a cherished part of the collective national culture and heritage,’”

Patrick intoned in his best announcer voice. “Distilling a handcrafted single malt like Abbey Glen is more an art than a science. An art a man can devote his whole life to perfecting.”

“A man?”

Patrick grimaced. “I’ve met a few women on the PR and distribution side in recent years, but none in actual distilling. It’s pretty much a closed shop. A real old boys’ network.”

“So Ben’s landed me smack in the middle of some sort of sexist turf war?”

“Afraid so. I wouldn’t count on the lads at Abbey Glen rolling out the red carpet for you.”

“Sounds familiar.”

“Maybe so, but you still shouldn’t have to put up with threats. Threats that might just be serious. Call the police.”

I shrugged, and did my best to brush off a sense of foreboding. “There’s no point. I’d get the usual, ‘Where’s your sense of humor? It’s only lads being lads’ routine, and then they’d ignore it.”

“Possibly,” Patrick said without conviction, “but it might just be serious. What are you going to do?”

“Ben’s funeral’s on Saturday in the church near his home, and no one’s going to keep me away from that. I have compassion leave through the weekend, and my boss has given me another fortnight to try to get my act together before I absolutely have to be back to work. Two weeks should be enough time to settle the estate and sort out whatever this is.”

Patrick rolled his eyes. “That doesn’t sound risky at all. I don’t like the idea of you being up there alone, pursued by some deranged whisky fanatic. I’m going to the funeral with you.”

I wouldn’t have asked Patrick to come, but I was relieved that he’d volunteered. The poetic death threat was ludicrous, but even so, it was unsettling. “Can you afford to get away?”

“For you, I’ll make the time.”

“For me, or for Abbey Glen?”

“I’ll have to cancel a few meetings, but it can be done,” Patrick said, ignoring me. “Is there someplace to stay up there?”

“The village of Balfour’s a speck on the map about an hour or so northeast of Glasgow. I doubt they’ll have a hotel of any kind, but I suppose we could stay at Ben’s place. I’ve never seen it, but he told me he’d made improvements to the old croft over the past six years. I’m sure it’s got running water by now.”

A frown wrinkled Patrick’s patrician brow and I could see him weighing the relative merits of an unlimited supply of a first-class whisky against the potential for physical discomfort in the accommodations department. Sybaritic as he was, I wasn’t surprised to see the whisky win out.

“I guess we can make do for a couple of days,” he conceded without enthusiasm.

“Thanks.” I watched Patrick down the rest of his drink. “If someone tries to stab me, I’ll feel better knowing you’re watching my back.”

Customer Reviews

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Single Malt Murder: A Whisky Business Mystery 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just bought book 2 , hope for more!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fun, end of summer, read. I will look for the next book in the series. Can't wait until it comes out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good characters storyline and mystery. Cant wait to read next one
Anonymous 9 months ago
Could not put the book down. Enjoyable read. Just about to begin the second book and hoping for more about Liam.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Enjoyed reading this mystery and learning about the whisky business.
Anonymous 8 months ago
This is actually a pretty good story. But, it slows down when the lead character thinks too much. Once past her thought process the story picks up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jarina More than 1 year ago
Single Malt Murder is the first book in Melinda Mullet's new Whisky Business Mystery series. Distraught by her uncle Ben's death, award winning photojournalist Abi Logan travels to his home in Scotland with her best friend and fellow journalist Patrick Cooke. After meeting with her uncle's solicitors she has learned that she has inherited most of her uncle's estate, including his retirement hobby, a premium distillery in Balfour. Scotland. Patrick is concerned for her safety after threats she has received in London, but also wants to be there for her emotionally. When they arrive at her uncle's home, the Haven, there is yet another threat hanging on the door. Not wanting to do anything to take away from her uncle's funeral, Abi refuses to report the threats that have been made. But not only has Abi been receiving threats, but also there has been sabotage occurring at the distillery and on the night of Ben's funeral a young man that Ben had mentored is found dead at the distillery. Was it an unfortunate accident, had he caught the saboteur in the act and been murdered as a result, or was he the saboteur and had gotten snared in his own trap? In a fast paced tale, Abi is thrown into a world she knows nothing of surrounded by people she does not know or trust. With all the distillers of the area vying to buy her out and continued sabotage, her inquisitive journalistic tendencies lead her to try to figure out if the threats to her, the sabotage, and the murder are connected. Inadvertently putting herself in harms way, Abi uncovers the plot but how will she escape for help? This is an astoundingly good first book for an author. Her characters come to life, as does the setting. And the mystery takes the reader on a twisty turny adventure not revealing its solution until the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wholeheartedly recommend it.
Jarina More than 1 year ago
Single Malt Murder is the first book in Melinda Mullet's new Whisky Business Mystery series. Distraught by her uncle Ben's death, award winning photojournalist Abi Logan travels to his home in Scotland with her best friend and fellow journalist Patrick Cooke. After meeting with her uncle's solicitors she has learned that she has inherited most of her uncle's estate, including his retirement hobby, a premium distillery in Balfour. Scotland. Patrick is concerned for her safety after threats she has received in London, but also wants to be there for her emotionally. When they arrive at her uncle's home, the Haven, there is yet another threat hanging on the door. Not wanting to do anything to take away from her uncle's funeral, Abi refuses to report the threats that have been made. But not only has Abi been receiving threats, but also there has been sabotage occurring at the distillery and on the night of Ben's funeral a young man that Ben had mentored is found dead at the distillery. Was it an unfortunate accident, had he caught the saboteur in the act and been murdered as a result, or was he the saboteur and had gotten snared in his own trap? In a fast paced tale, Abi is thrown into a world she knows nothing of surrounded by people she does not know or trust. With all the distillers of the area vying to buy her out and continued sabotage, her inquisitive journalistic tendencies lead her to try to figure out if the threats to her, the sabotage, and the murder are connected. Inadvertently putting herself in harms way, Abi uncovers the plot but how will she escape for help? This is an astoundingly good first book for an author. Her characters come to life, as does the setting. And the mystery takes the reader on a twisty turny adventure not revealing its solution until the very end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and wholeheartedly recommend it.
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Single Malt Murders - Whisky Business Mystery Book 1 Author: Melinda Mullet Publisher: Random House Publishing Published: 3-21-2017 Pages: 275 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub-Genre: Women Sleuths; Cozy Mystery; Amateur Sleuths ASIN: B01HL180QG ISBN: 9780339179051 Reviewed For: NetGalley and Random House Publishing Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.5 Stars British Abi Logan, unexpectedly inherits Abbey Glenn, a whiskey distillery in the Scottish Highlands from her uncle. When she arrives to check it out. She finds no welcome everyone from the surly head distiller to the lowest villager resent her. Acts of sabotage and threats that grow more and more menacing. She felt safer working as a photo journalist in the war-torn countries she had reported on. When one of the distillery workers is found dead in one of the vats she vows to find the killer. Filled with suspense, "Single Malt Murder" gives the reader thrills and chills. For a first in a series novel Melinda Mullet shows she has the ability to weave a story that draws the reader in. She has strong, defined characters and a mystery with multiple layers that the reader will be hard pressed to solve before the final reveal. My rating of "Single Malt Murder" is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
ethel55 More than 1 year ago
Photojournalist Abigail (Abi) Logan inherits a charming whisky distillery in Scotland after the death of her guardian/uncle Ben. Ben sure seemed like he was of a good sort, I kind of wish he'd been around for some of the story. As it was, it took awhile to get into the groove--I have learned a lot about whisky making and why single malt is the way to go. The Scottish Highland town of Balfour sounds like somewhere I'd love to visit and Mullet sprinkles a bit of Scottish history in with the whisky making information. With strange happenings at Abbey Glen, the distillery, and then a body found in a vat of whisky, Abi's two weeks may not be enough to figure out what's going on before she decides whether or not to sell to a conglomerate.
lady_longhorn More than 1 year ago
Good debut novel in the murder-mystery "theme" genre. Abigail Logan inherits a whisky distillery in Scotland, much to the locals' and competitors' displeasure. Navigating the hostile environment, she attempts to learn the trade with the assistance of a couple of employees. "Accidents" leading to a dead body on property propel her into an investigation to save her inheritance while learning more about her late uncle & his passion for whisky and the Scottish Highlands. An easy read - murder, female amateur sleuth, requisite good-looking love interest (with a shadowy past?), gay best friend flitting in & out of the action, loyal well-trained dog as a companion - it just screams to be made into a Hallmark TV movie...
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts This series is off to a spectacular start! Photojournalist Abi Logan lost her parents early in her life in an auto accident. She was then raised by her Uncle Ben. She has been traveling around the world to some pretty dangerous places while Uncle Ben retired to Scotland and opened a single malt distillery. Sadly Ben passes away and leaves his business to Abi. She and her friend Patrick, a wine and whiskey aficionado, travel to Scotland along with Liam, Ami’s Wheaten Terrier to look the place over and decide its future. No one seems happy to have Abi around. They expect her to sell the place and move on because the whiskey business is no place for a woman. Before bids for purchase start to flow in Abi starts to receive threats and there are several mishaps at the plant, clearly sabotage. The threats become more blatant and then one of the employees is found floating in a vat of whiskey. That isn’t the last malicious act either. Abi knows it is up to her to find the killer and stop the madness. She hopes her keen sense of observation will help her solve the case quickly but she has too many suspects and they have too many secrets. Tightening the lid of this keg may be more than she can handle. Whiskey is my alcoholic beverage of choice but I am not savvy in the way it is made and my sense for taste is far from refined. This story taught me quite a bit but the mystery is what kept me positively glued to these pages. Abi is a fantastic protagonist. Strong and feisty and when she finds people’s biggest problem with her is her gender it really gets her dander up. She has something to prove. Patrick is a great friend. He has her back and is great sounding board. He notices things she misses and gives valuable advice. They make a great team. The author has created a great supporting cast too. They are all very real and believable. Liam is a great canine companion and is smart as a whip. I would categorize the plot as very complex. More twists and turns that your average mystery. It seemed that each chapter introduced something new that sent things is a totally different direction. The author really keeps the reader on their toes. She immerses us right into the story giving us the feeling we are on the shoulders of these great characters. Stories like this are so much fun to read. The setting is unique. Scotland is beautiful and Uncle Ben has built a distillery doing things the old fashion way. There are several buildingS and a unique operation. The “cabin” has also been beautifully updated. It is a place I would love to visit. I absolutely loved this story, beginning, middle and end. The suspense ratcheted up in all the right places but never crossed the line from cozy to thriller. The characters continued to evolve and romance just started to bloom. I was unable to put the book down. I read the whole thing in one day. Melinda Mullett has set the bar extremely high for herself. This is going to be a story that is tough to top. Another Best Read for 2017. I cannot wait to our next trip to the Scottish Highlands and Abbey Glen.
IReadWhatYouWrite More than 1 year ago
In my time blogging about books, it has been a rare occurrence indeed that I see a cozy series from the beginning, first. It is quite an enjoyable experience. Abi Logan, photographer from London, is having a rough time of it lately. Her uncle Ben, the only family she has had since childhood, has recently died after a long illness and left her his farmhouse and distillery in Scotland. She has her booze journalist pal Patrick and her loyal dog Liam, to help her through her grief, but someone is not at all happy about her inheritance. Macabre and menacing gifts try to persuade her to stay away. Her investigation in the small highland village doesn’t give her much insight into who is threatening her. On the surface it would seem that a woman owning the distillery, and brewing the iconic liquor, doesn’t sit well with the traditionalists. On the other hand Balfour is a small close knit community with long traditions and as an outsider Abi doesn’t get much sympathy from the locals, especially when a young employee ends up dead in one of her vats. Abi searches for the killer and searches her soul as she faces a tough choice. I am not much of a drinker, but I still enjoyed learning about the process of making and selling whisky. It is far more involved than I had imagined and made a terrific backdrop for the unfolding story. I was able to figure out some of the more obvious components of the mystery, yet reading it play out in the end was still worth it. Abi, Patrick and few of the townsfolk were memorable well written characters, and the prospective buyers with their individual stories and quirks made for great reading. However, most of the rest of the residents in the village could have used a bit more fleshing out. That does leave a lot of room for growth during the series. There is obviously also a colorful town history that can be tapped into for inspiration. All in all this was a great afternoon’s read and this seems to be a series that will be enjoyable for a long time to come.
CozyUpWithKathy More than 1 year ago
a unique and fascinating setting and topic SINGLE MALT MURDER by Melinda Mullet The First Whisky Business Mystery Raised by her Uncle Ben after her parents died in a tragic accident, Abigail Logan is a world-renowned photojournalist. After getting word that her uncle has taken a turn for the worse, Abi leaves her assignment in Sierra Leone, but returns home too late. Her uncle has died of cancer. Along with her best friend, Patrick, Abi heads to Scotland for the funeral and to see Abbey Glen, the distillery she's inherited. But before she can even cross the border, she begins to receive threatening misogynistic messages. Someone does not want a woman running a distillery. Upon her arrival at the well respected Scottish boutique distillery Abi is met with ill concealed disdain. The threatening messages continue and Abi also learns that Abbey Glen has been dealing with sabotage. The night after Ben's funeral Abi and Patrick discover the body of a young employee. Was he the victim of sabotage, or was it murder? SINGLE MALT MURDER is a traditional mystery with more adult themes and a darker ambiance. It's a novel about trust. Are the employees of Abbey Glen faithful to the distillery, or are they working against Abi? Could a potential buyer be behind the sabotage and threats? What about the villagers? Can Abi trust herself? Compelling, complex characters inhabit this world throwing suspicion in all directions. Melinda Mullet chose a unique and fascinating setting and topic for her mystery series. While I'm not a fan of Scotch, I do like whisky and enjoyed learning more about distilleries, their history, and the hobby of collecting the spirit. This first Whisky Business mystery is an absorbing read that gives a satisfying conclusion yet leaves plenty of avenues to explore in future Whisky Business books. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Single Malt Murder by Melinda Mullet is the first book in A Whiskey Business Mystery series. Abigail “Abi” Logan has returned to England upon hearing about the death of her uncle, Bennett Logan. Abi is a photojournalist and was in Africa on assignment when she received the call that he was dying. Ben suffered from lung cancer and the end came quicker than expected. Abi heads to Scotland with her friend, Patrick (associate editor for Wine and Spirits Monthly) for Ben’s funeral and the reading of his will. Before leaving London, Abi receives a threatening note. Someone is not happy that Abi is inheriting Abbey Glen, Ben’s single malt whiskey distillery. About fifteen years prior, Ben retired and sold Haven, his home. He relocated to Balfour, Scotland where he renovated an old distillery and house for himself. This is Abi’s first visit to Ben’s home (she held a grudge with Ben for selling Haven). They arrive at Ben’s home to find another warning (a very nasty one which I am not describing). Abi discovers that someone has also been sabotaging the distillery. Abi and Patrick decide to check on the distillery before retiring on the day of the funeral (worried that someone would take advantage of the place being empty). They are in the Yeast Room and find a body in a washback. It seems that the saboteur has escalated to murder. Abi is planning on selling Abbey Glen, but she cannot move forward with her plans until she finds the person responsible. She does not believe the local police are up to the task. But the locals do not appreciate Abi’s presence and prefer to keep their secrets hidden. It will take all of Abi’s investigative skills to uncover the offender and remain alive to see the wrongdoer brought to justice. Single Malt Murder contained an interesting and complex mystery. A good sleuth will be able to identify the wrongdoer if they pay close attention (one sentence provided me with the identity). The novel is easy to read (for the most part), but I did find the pace a little slow at times. I had trouble liking Abi. She is an acquired taste (just like whiskey). I did like her approach to investigating the crime, though, I quickly tired of her three words for each person. I give Single Malt Murder 4 out of 5 stars. The setting sounded beautiful. I would love to visit the area. The whiskey making process is described in the book. It is complicated and involves many steps (this is one area where the flow is slow). I do not drink so I was unaware of the different types of whiskey. I believe the book could have done with just a little more editing. I found it to be a little too long. I wish the author had not made the romance element so prevalent. I did tire of Abi admiring Grant’s appearance and personality as well as debating the merits of getting involved with him. Single Malt Murder is a good first book and it will be interesting to see where the author takes the series in the future.
SimplySusan More than 1 year ago
Abi has just lost the uncle who raised her and is struggling to come to grips with the misogynistic feelings prevalent in the whiskey industry. She has just inherited the Abbey Glen whisky distillery and instead of teaching her how to run the place, everyone assumes she is going to sell it and return to her life as a photographic journalist. As the first book in a series, it does a great job of introducing a lot of characters and giving the reader a solid background on the setting of the series. However, other than being surprised by the identity of the killer, the story line was fairly predictable, but still enjoyable. I look forward to reading what Ms. Mullett has in store for Abi as she learns how to run a successful distillery. A copy of this book was provided by NetGalley and Random House - Alibi in exchange for an honest review.
Tangen More than 1 year ago
murder, mystery, Scotland, distillery, amateur-sleuth, investigation, reporter No doubt about it, I loved it and found it absorbing. The mystery is complex and convoluted, as are the characters. And the learning opportunities are nearly endless for those of us who knew little about the distillation and monetary values of Scotch whisky. The publisher's blurb gives hints, but can't begin to prepare you for all of the twists and turns taken as the plot unfolds. The subplot which gives opening for subsequent books is the mutual attraction between two major characters. No spoilers in this review, and no need to recap the book either, just go ahead and get a copy for your own enjoyment! Thanks to the publisher for offering it free as an ARC through NetGalley.
bkworm_ran More than 1 year ago
Abigail Logan is a profession photojournalist. She lives out of a backpack and used to sleeping on the ground if the assignment called for it. Upon the death of her deeply loved uncle she discovers she has inherited his whisky distilling business. She knows nothing about whisky but she’s a fast learner and what she learns may get her killed. This is a well plotted mystery that will introduce all novices to the world of whiskey production. For novices like myself, it is an eye opener to the competition of distilling. Mullet appears to have done her homework into this brotherhood and her placement of a woman into this dominant man’s profession makes for a satisfying read. There is no silliness in her characterizations or story. It is a serious business and dangerous people are hidden behind friendly smiles. I look forward to more from this series. I thank the publisher for providing an Advanced Reader Copy for my honest review.