Beth's Reviews > A Deadly Draught

A Deadly Draught by Lesley A. Diehl
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Reading Progress

January 29, 2014 – Started Reading
January 29, 2014 – Shelved
February 2, 2014 – Finished Reading

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Beth First of all, I should state that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I picked up "A Deadly Draught" because the story combined two subjects I like to read about: mysteries and beer. Though I like to read mysteries all over the spectrum--from cozies like this one where most violence and sex are "off screen" to more explicit thrillers--I really enjoy the cozies where the main female character has an unusual job that provides a unique frame of reference for the mystery taking place.

In "A Deadly Draught," main character Hera is a craft brewer who is struggling to operate the family brewery in an area in Upstate New York that seems to be a haven of breweries, wineries and good local-made food products. I did get hungry (and thirsty) a few times while reading.

Hera is a well-drawn character whose choices throughout the book--while not always the smartest choices--at least make sense in her retelling. The parts of the book I liked best were the ones in which Hera took care of her brewery or interacted with the other brewers in the valley.

The mystery element of the book is sparked when Hera discovers her cantankerous neighbor--and a competing brewer--dead. As first on the scene she is a suspect, which causes trouble for her not only legally but also because she learns that the investigating officer is her former boyfriend from law school.

Add in Hera's financial woes, a water shortage in the valley, and strange thefts and sabotages, and there's quite a lot of threads for the detective (and the reader) to pick through to figure out whodunnit.

The relationship (or non-relationship) between Hera and the detective/ex adds a lot of the tension in the book, but that tension is diluted somewhat by Hera's infatuation with the son of the dead brewer. While usually a love triangle enhances the tension of a story, in this book the neighbor's son has very few redeeming qualities (and several other lovers) so it never really feels like he's a real option for Hera. Though I liked the book overall, I felt that the romantic element of this book was the weakest part of the story. It's never clear why so many women would find the neighbor's son to be a romantic interest, nor is it clear how the detective came to Hera's hometown (supposedly quite small) and yet she never bumped in to him at the supermarket or in a cafe until he's called out to the murder scene she reported.

However, "A Deadly Draught" is the first in a series of brewing mysteries by this author, so I'm hoping that the relationships outlined in this book will receive further attention in the next books, which I'm planning to read.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about food, beer and wine along with mysteries, but would not recommend to anyone who prefers a strong romantic thread above all else.

As for the mystery itself, the book ends with quite a few loose ends, but I was generally happy with how the author played out the dramatic final conclusion.

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