Beer is king in a Washington town tarted up to look like Oktoberfest on steroids.
Leavenworth has succeeded in making itself into a beer lover’s vacation destination full of breweries of all sizes and shops selling German-flavored products from wurst to pretzels. But it offers no comfort to Sloane Krause, who’s caught her husband, Mac, with a newly hired barmaid. After growing up in foster homes, Sloan finally found a loving family with Otto and Ursula Krause, who cherish both her and her unrivaled nose for beer. Sloane still lives in the family home and helps her adoptive parents with their brewery, but now she’s taken a job with Garrett Strong, who’s transformed the restaurant/hotel he inherited from an aunt into Nitro, the town’s only nanobrewery. Garrett, a born brewer, needs Sloane’s advice about Nitro’s food and design. Despite the ardent wish of April Ablin, the town gossip and guardian of kitsch, to transform Nitro into a Bavarian beer hall, Garrett and Sloan manage to keep it modern. All goes well until Sloan discovers the body of Eddie Deluga, the brewmaster at Bruin’s Brewing, floating in a tank of Nitro’s best beer the morning after their successful opening. The murder doesn’t seem to hurt business, but Garrett and Sloan have their hands full purchasing the hops they need for a new batch from a hops grower with his own priorities. A glowering Mac’s failed at every attempt to win Sloan back, but when he’s arrested for the murder, Sloan finds herself looking for other suspects. Mac may be a bad husband with more charm than substance, but she’s sure he’s not a killer.
Alexander (A Crime of Passion Fruit, 2017, etc.) kicks off a new series that takes the passion for wine-related cozies in a new direction with oodles of beer lore, plenty of pleasant characters, and a stronger mystery than usual.