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Claret and Present Danger–bookish pub

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Claret and Present Danger

by Sarah Fox

Sadie stars in Claret and Present Danger which is a solid cozy mystery. The series combines specialty cocktails created by Sadie with the same bookish theme present throughout Inkwell, her pub, in decor and special events. This novel cleverly brings a Renaissance Faire to the little town of Shady Creek, Vermont, during their summer tourist season. The plot has a combination of the special event, some shocking murders, small town gossip and friendships, and budding romance with brewery owner Grayson. A highlight for me is the Shakespeare Trivia Night at the pub where informal teams compete to answer questions with gift certificates as the prizes.

Sadie feels compelled to investigate the first murder when her bartender Damien is jailed for the crime. Others have just as strong motivations, but Damien has no alibi and was seen in conflict with the victim shortly before the murder. Sadie develops a suspect list which is thrown into chaos when her top suspect is also found murdered. Sadie finds an anonymous note threatening her if she doesn’t abandon her sleuthing, but she determinedly continues her main technique which is interviewing. Her efforts are hampered when the police close down the Renaissance Faire, but she gets help from Grayson who used to be a private detective. He supports her informal detective work as he knows she will continue with or without his help, and he wants to keep her safe.

The threads are complex and the resolution is a surprise. There is a little too much time spent on the details of who eats what, when, and where, but some of that was to put Sadie in locations where she could discuss or overhear conversations that provide essential clues. Overall, I enjoyed this cozy mystery with its strong Renaissance Faire vibe and look forward to reading the next in the series. There are hints that trouble may be on the horizon as Sadie’s mother might come to visit and wants to meet Sadie’s new boyfriend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 4/5

Category: Mystery

Notes: 1. #4 in the Literary Pub Mystery Series, but could be read as a standalone as the author provides lots of background information succinctly at the beginning of the book.
2. Drink recipes included are: The Secret Life of Daiquiris (with a mocktail version) and A Midsummer Night’s Cream Mocktail which could easily be called a dessert. There is also a recipe for Apple Fritters (complicated, but probably delicious).

Publication: November 30, 2021—Kensington

Memorable Lines:

After getting hurt by my last boyfriend, I wanted to tread carefully when it came to giving away a piece of my heart. The problem was that my heart wasn’t always on the same page as my head.

“Sadie, I don’t want you getting into any kind of trouble for my sake.” “I don’t plan to get into trouble.” I knew full well that most of the trouble I did get into was’t planned, but I wasn’t going to bring that up.

“I wouldn’t be worried about decorum either if I had such a fine man kissing me.”


10 Comments

  1. Carla says:

    Someday I will start this series. Nice review, Linda. I am not a big fan of descriptions of food, drink and who is having them. I hope it doesn’t derail the stories for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. WendyW says:

    Sounds like a wonderful book and series, Linda. That cat on the cover is so pretty

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nancy says:

    Nice review. It sounds like a good one.
    I thank you for always sharing your reads with us. I’m so appreciative!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This sounds like a fun one, and being some what of a foodie, I would enjoy the food descriptions and recipes. Thanks Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gretchen says:

    This is a series I haven’t heard of, but I like the interesting setting in a pub and the Renaissance theme. I’ll have to look for it.

    Liked by 1 person

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