The Malt in Our Stars
by Sarah Fox
When Sadie Coleman steps out of her car at the historic Shady Creek Manor in Vermont, several dreams are about to come true. She will get to view first hand the beautiful and expensive renovations to the elegant, three-story home converted into a hotel and its extensive grounds. She will also get to meet one of her favorite authors, Linnea Bliss, who is scheduled for a talk and book signing at Sadie’s literary-themed pub, the Inkwell. Their initial meeting goes well, but life suddenly get complicated as a murder occurs on the hotel’s grounds. There are many characters with possible motives. Sadie, a self-proclaimed nosy parker, has an insatiable need to investigate.
Side issues to the plot include the May Masquerade Ball, a hot-tempered local historian, a production crew filming an episode about a local brewery, and a blossoming romance with the brewery’s owner. Also, Sadie’s Aunt Gilda has received a marriage proposal which, if accepted, would cause her aunt to move.
Although the plot of The Malt in our Stars is quite busy with lots of threads, including the possibility of hidden treasure, I was a little disappointed in some aspects. Sadie’s investigations are rather drawn out as she goes over and over her mental list of suspects nitpicking to get more information on each one, often coming up empty handed. She frequently puts herself in danger and steps over the bounds into what is certainly trespassing. I like food as much as the next person, but too much time is spent on what Sadie eats and her trips to get yet another fancy coffee when coffee is readily available at her bar.
My favorite part of the book is the gentle romance developing between the hesitant Sadie and the handsome, understanding Grayson who enjoys teasing her—always with a flirty twinkle in his eye. The best part of the plot is the exciting discovery and capture of the murderer.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #3 in The Literary Pub Mystery Series, but works as a standalone.
2. Cocktail recipes included at the end of the book.
Publication: November 24, 2020—Kensington Books
Eleanor whipped around and her beady eyes landed on me. The glower she sent my way was almost intense enough to make me wilt right there on the sidewalk. She stormed up her front steps and into her house, slamming the door behind her.
Some people might have considered it too early in the day to eat chocolate cake, but I didn’t let that bother me. It was, as the saying went, five o’clock somewhere.
I really couldn’t tell if he was feeding her a load of donkey dust. He sounded so sincere. That ignited a flicker of worry inside of me. If he was lying to Eleanor so convincingly, how would I ever know if he was lying to me?