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Murder and Moonshine (Moonshine Mystery #1)

3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  246 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
A debut mystery set in the heart of moonshine country and brimming with Southern charm

All small towns have secrets—and plenty of them—as every small town waitress knows. Daisy is no different. A young, recently-separated waitress at H&P's Diner in sleepy southwestern Virginia, she hears more than her fair share of neighborhood gossip while serving plates of hash and pe
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 17th 2013 by Minotaur Books
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The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldMoonglow by Kristen CallihanThe Daddy List by DeWanna PaceThe Bride Next Door by Winnie GriggsThe Undoing Of Daisy Edwards by Marguerite Kaye
42nd out of 73 books — 2 voters

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Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Murder and Moonshine is a debut mystery for Carol Miller. Set in rural Virginia, it begins when a reclusive old farmer stumbles in to the H&P Diner and dies, foaming at the mouth. Waitress, Daisy McGovern, is horrified, and even more so when ATF Agent Ethan Kinney shows up to investigate his death. Daisy bears a grudge against the FBI who, in the wake of her father's tragic death five years before, seized her family's farm and she is determined to ensure Agent Kinney doesn't stay long. Then
Feb 11, 2015 Mark rated it it was ok
Still smarting from the recent abandonment of her husband, local waitress Daisy McGovern focuses her time on work at the H & P Diner and caring for her ailing mother in the slow pace of southwestern Virginia, all while fending off unwelcome advances of local moonshine-brewing ne'er-do-well Rick Balsam. Complications ensue when elderly recluse Fred Dickerson staggers into the diner, mumbles the word "burger" twice and drops dead a few minutes later. (Yeah, I know, he probably wasn't referring ...more
Nov 11, 2013 Anne rated it liked it
My interest really perked up when I started reading Murder and Moonshine when I realized it was set in rural Virginia. A different setting, loaded with possibility. There is no start up, just BAM! straight into a guy croaking in H&P diner. The setting, characters and story line were all interesting, but the book lacked personal detail about the characters and some set up to make the story richer. We never learn what's actually wrong with Daisy's mom nor what happened to Daisy's husband. He j ...more
Jan 21, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-virginia
Daisy has a lot of responsibilities for a young waitress--her ailing mother, the sad past that lost them the family mansion. When a man walks into the diner where she works and keels over, Daisy doesn't realize that her whole life is about to change. First, an agent from the group she most hates--the ATF--walks into the diner asking for directions, then it seems like she's out of a job when there's another death. The local bad boy--a friend of the husband who deserted her--wants something, but D ...more
Oswego Public Library District
Small Southern towns carry deep secrets. When an elderly reclusive man falls dead under suspicious circumstances in a roadside diner, a young talented baker/waitress with an ailing mother is left to sort out the clues. The author shines when depicting the beautiful Virginia hills and in creating characters that authentically jump off the page. Daisy, Rick, and the other residents of the community are vividly drawn characters. Daisy, in particular, is fascinating, a strong woman who listens to th ...more
Feb 18, 2014 Sallee rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This debut mystery shows much promise for the author's future. A Southern setting, moonshining, an old café in which the main character Daisy works, a quirky aunt who has turned the family Victorian into a inn where Daisy and her ill mother live and who shoots a 20guage shotgun at suspected human and animal interlopers out back frequently, two backwoods brothers and an ATF agent are all part of the scene. Ethan, a handsome ATF agent shows up to look into the death of a recluse living at Fox Holl ...more
Jan 03, 2014 Lesa rated it really liked it
It's always refreshing to come across a mystery with a sleuth and a setting that isn't cut from the same pattern as so many others. Carol Miller's debut mystery Murder and Moonshine is definitely a departure. I'm afraid it will get overlooked since it came out in December amidst the holiday rush. That's a shame because Daisy McGovern stands out as a strong, determined woman.

Daisy doesn't have it easy. Her father and her father-in-law died in the explosion of a propane tank. She and her mother lo
P.e. lolo
Jan 29, 2014 P.e. lolo rated it really liked it
This book has a little bit of everything in it. It has murder, people running moonshine, a little bit of a love story and somehow it all comes together. It starts off with a man walking into the dinner and then dying. You are then given a back story on the main characters and a piece of land that people wanted. From there it goes on a wild ride with an ATF agent, who comes into town and then another strange death, which puts everyone on edge. There are many things happening and it has to deal wi ...more
Jul 10, 2015 Tahleen rated it really liked it
This was much better than I anticipated. I like a good cozy every now and then, but often they're not the best-written literature. This one surpassed my expectations, and the mystery itself was great. I also really liked Daisy's relationships with all of the other characters, especially for some reason the one between her and Rick. She takes no crap from him, and he genuinely seemed to care about her welfare, yet it was done without really any sexual tension. Kudos to Carol Miller. I hope she co ...more
Aug 01, 2016 Alice rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Very quick read.
Danville, Va Discovery channel's Moonshine.
Standard cozy features: unique setting, stereotypical eccentric aunt, bad boy semi love interest, another character who is stranger to setting love interest,heroine who can adjust her schedule as she likes, Issues are explored as corollaries of plot.
In this book --- seizing property by Federal government, uranium mining
Quick conclusion. No resolution of love interest
(Bobby -- gets shot in upper chest as part of the conclusion.)

Feb 20, 2014 Eric rated it it was amazing
I'll admit I bought this book because I liked the title and I'm very glad I did. The last few months I've gotten into reading mysteries and I've found out that after a few pages I can tell if I'm going to like the book or not. With Murder and Moonshine it took only the first page and I was hooked. The writing caused the characters to jump off the page and land into my mind like I'm watching a play or movie and yeah its that good. I was very sorry to see it end but ducky will be back later this y ...more
Dec 17, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it
Carol Miller serves up a big dose of Southern hospitality in her debut novel, Murder and Moonshine. This murder mystery is quite puzzling but it is the delightfully appealing cast of quirky characters that kept me glued to the pages of this compelling story.

Daisy McGovern has her hands full with her ill mother and gun-toting honorary Aunt Emily when local recluse Fred Dickerson unexpectedly passes away in the diner where she is a waitress. This spunky independent young woman is struggling finan
Dec 28, 2013 ExLibris_Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I am not a big mystery reader, but there was something about the jacket copy of this book that caught my eye. It starts with a death in a small town diner and the reasons slowly open up to turn into something much more sinister than I expected. Intertwined with the murder is Daisey’s tragic past and when the ATF agent comes to town, the reader learns just how deep the resentment of this federal agency runs in this small community. That tension created a very subtle, but satisfying, romantic subp ...more
Nov 05, 2013 Tammy-&-Michelle rated it liked it
3.5 stars for this one!

The setting for this story is Pittsylvania County, VA, a small town in the southwest portion of the state. Pittsylvania is full of lively characters, moonshine, and the best peach cobbler in the state. WARNING – If you are a peach cobbler fan, be sure to have a helping (make it a big bowl) before you start reading this book, I promise, you will not regret it.

Daisy (Ducky) McGovern is a recently separated young woman. Her husband, Matt, just left for work one morning and n
Jul 08, 2014 Ann rated it liked it
Daisy Hale is a waitress at H&P's diner in Virginia. She is shocked when an old recluse stumbles into the diner and dies at her feet. She is doubly shocked to find out that Rick Balsam has purchased her childhood home which was confiscated by the ATF. When an agent of said bureau comes to town to investigate the death, Daisy isn't sure if she should help him or keep family secrets to herself. This was a pretty good book. I enjoyed the characters and would read more of these.
Sharon Chance
Dec 30, 2013 Sharon Chance rated it really liked it
With her debut novel, Murder and Moonshine, author Carol Miller does a very credible job of creating a fast-moving mystery filled with suspense, eccentric characters and a fascinating background of the hills of Virginia.

Miller's main character, Daisy, is a plucky gal who has a lot on her plate, with taking care of her momma, trying to make a living as a waitress at the local diner, and attempting to regain her family's homestead. When she is pulled into the middle of a murder investigation, Dai
Eleanor Kuhns
Jun 18, 2015 Eleanor Kuhns rated it liked it
I actually read the second in the series before this one and that was good. I liked the second one better. In this one, Daisy is so beyond impulsive I couldn't believe it. At one point, she is so furious she snatches up a small pistol and goes after a man with an assault rifle. Shortly thereafter, she rushes forward into a situation where she not only puts herself in danger but others as well.
The setting and most of the characters are interesting, though.
Aug 20, 2016 Leslie rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery, 100books2016
There were just too many mistakes for a native Virginian to tolerate. I never got a sense of place in the descriptions of the setting and the incorrect identification of Southside Virginia as Southwestern and as Appalachia were too distracting. And I'm pretty sure if law enforcement acted like these characters, none of them would have a job for long. We won't talk about redneck stereotypes.
Jan 24, 2014 Gloria rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is a debut novel that is first in a projected series. Small Southern towns carry deep secrets. When an elderly reclusive man falls dead under suspicious circumstances in a roadside diner, a young talented baker/waitress with an ailing mother is left to sort out the clues. The author shines when depicting the beautiful Virginia hills and in creating characters that authentically jump off the page. Daisy, Rick, and the other residents of the community are vividly drawn, realistic characters. ...more
May 25, 2014 Garrett rated it did not like it
I plucked this off the shelf @ the library and took it home and read it, despite the fact that I am almost always mildly insulted when people try to write Southerners. This time was no exception, and I find myself wondering how this book is not YA or something due to its incredibly simple writing style, cardboard characters, bad boy/good boy dynamic, exhaustive expository and three-page climax. Silly and unimpressive, I will not be reading any more of this Chicagoan's "Southern" books.
Dec 11, 2013 Tess rated it really liked it
If Carol Miller continues this series, I think she will have a hit on her hands. Virginia is the setting for this story of murder and moonshine. Daisy, a young waitress, finds herself in the middle of the towns latest death. On a quiet day, in the gossip center of town,the diner, an old hermit Dickerson, enters the diner, mumbles the word "burger" and drops dead. Soon Daisy and her friends find themselves involved with guns, F.B.I. agents, the local police and oh yes, moonshine. Secrets that mos ...more
Sep 09, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
The book was cute. You have Ducky who is a waitress at her family friends diner in the boondocks. The story opens with a death of an oldtimer during the breakfast shift. What the people in the diner think is a normal death turns out to be murder. Throw in a couple of moonshiners, a federal agent, and old aunt that likes to take pot shots at with an rifle early in the morning you have a book that will take you for a hilarious ride which it didn't disappoint. One of the few books that the ending t ...more
Jul 05, 2015 EJ rated it it was ok
It's hard to be critical of this book, simply because it is what it is: a cute, not terribly complex, murder mystery with some stereotypical Southern characters. As long as you don't want more than that, then I think you're good! Easy, enjoyable read, perfect for summer.
Clara Roberts
Mar 12, 2014 Clara Roberts rated it it was ok
This was a fairly interesting mystery but could have been better. It seemed as if all of the character lacked principals. Much of the behavior was bizarre, such as an old woman shooting her shotgun out her back door. I really did not care much for the book.
Tay Hook
Feb 11, 2016 Tay Hook rated it really liked it
#11 An excellent, first novel by Carol Miller. Small-town feuds, greed and old secrets coming home to roost and intelligent, complex characters make this a good read. Looking forward to more from this author.
Jul 10, 2016 Robin rated it liked it
You can tell this is a first novel. There were too many cheesy uses of Southern dialect, making me feel the author is unfamiliar with it but trying to us it. Either way, a cute summer read...
Aug 31, 2016 Cindy rated it it was amazing
Story caught my attention as soon as I started reading and I didn't want to put it down. Enjoyed all of the characters and look forward to reading more about them.
Mar 14, 2014 Shirl rated it really liked it
Nothing like a good story about southeastern Virginia and the good ole boys and their white lightening. Funny and fast moving new mystery
Jun 09, 2016 Yvonna rated it really liked it
Couldn't put it down! I cannot wait to read the next book! Great characters and a great look at the people in 'shine country!
Jan 28, 2015 Teresa rated it it was ok
Not every meal is five-star and many don't even have the appeal of a good burger. This story was just "meh"--mostly because the dialogue was not merely stilted, but a stereotype of back-woods Virginia instead of dialect. (One more time, just one more time seeing a reference to "big city folks" and I would have thrown the book across the room.) If the situation had been better represented, it might be a good read, but as it is, it ain't worth it.
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Carol Miller is the author of the Moonshine Mystery Series featuring Daisy and Rick, a small-town diner waitress and the local bad boy moonshiner, in sleepy southwestern Virginia. MURDER AND MOONSHINE was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Library Journal Starred Debut of the Month. To learn more, visit
More about Carol Miller...

Other Books in the Series

Moonshine Mystery (3 books)
  • A Nip of Murder (Moonshine Mystery Series, #2)
  • An Old Fashioned Murder (Moonshine Mystery, #3)

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