Ellie Alexander always blows my mind, she writes such great series and they always seem to come out around the same time! Last week I just finished A Cup of Holiday Fear which is part of her Bakeshop Mystery Series which released 9/24/19 and like the next week this book was out!
So to say that Alexander is a prolific writer is an understatement. I mean she has like four different mystery series which is pretty impressive! I stumbled on this current series a couple of years ago and have found it so charming.
Returning to the fun characters and setting of Leavenworth, WA is always a treat and I am happy to crack open a new case and maybe crack open a beer of two in the process!
It’s the dead season in Leavenworth, Washington. The throngs of Oktoberfest crowds have headed home, and the charming Bavarian streets are quiet and calm–momentarily. Villagers use the reprieve to drink in the crisp fall mountain air and prepare for the upcoming winter light festival. Soon the German-inspired shops and restaurants will be aglow with thousands of twinkling lights. Visitors will return to the northern Cascades to drink warm mulled cider and peruse the holiday markets. Brewer, Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are using the slowdown to stock up on a new line of their signature craft beers at Nitro. They’re experimenting with a hoppy holiday pine and a chocolate hazelnut stout. The small brewery is alive with delicious scents and bubbling batches of brew.
Sloan is in her element. She loves the creativity and lowkey atmosphere at Nitro. Only that is soon threatened by the incumbent city councilmember Kristopher Cooper. Kristopher is running for re-election on a platform of making Leavenworth dry. Everyone in beertopia is fuming. Leavenworth’s economy relies on keeping the kegs flowing. Kristopher wants to banish beer, a policy that might just bankrupt the entire village. However, Kristopher turns up dead days before election night. Sloan quickly realizes that his murder isn’t the work of a stranger. Friends, family, and every other business owner had a motive to kill him, including none other than April Ablin, Leavenworth’s self-described ambassador of all things German. Sloan finds herself defending April and trying to sleuth out a killer amongst a group of familiar faces. (summary from Goodreads)
I think the was my favorite in the series so far. While I have enjoyed each book on their own, I find that now that I am more familiar with the characters and setting, I am able to really settle in and savor the story a little more. I know in the first book of the series, there is a lot of detail on the brewing industry and sometimes it felt a little excessive but that has tapered off to a more manageable amount. I appreciate that Alexander gives readers enough background and info not just on the characters and plots, but on the brewing industry so that new readers can easily pick up this series and enjoy it without having to go back and read every book to gain a more complete understanding of it all.
I also say this about every single one of Alexander’s books, but I can’t stress enough how fun it is to see her love for the Pacific Northwest. I live in Salem, Oregon which is a bit of a drive from Leavenworth, Washington but I know the town and Oktoberfest is a huge event here in Mt Angel, Oregon which is much closer to where I live. So reading about these fun festivals in a region where I live is always extra special and I can tell that Alexander truly loves the PacNW which shows on each page of her books!
As with many of her mysteries, I love finding out the why. While there are plenty of suspects each with motive, there is always something about finding out the why of the murder. Her novels are mostly character driven and I have enjoyed watching Sloan come into her own in each book, but in this one I felt like there was a little more growth for her and I enjoyed more of the ‘why’ of the mystery.
This is a mystery author who has been tried and true in each of her series. Her mysteries are solid and entertaining. I love them and am always looking forward to what the next books contain. If I’m looking for a reliable author, there is none better than Elie Alexander!