After a long cold winter, spring is beginning to bloom in the alpine village of Leavenworth, Washington, where craft brewer Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are putting the finishing touches on their bright and refreshing Lemon Kiss ale. They’ll be debuting their new line at the Maifest celebration, which will bring visitors from near and far to dance around the Maipole and shop at the outdoor flower markets.
Despite the festive spirit in the air, Sloan is brewing over her past. She’s spent months following leads that have turned into dead ends. But when she spots a woman who strongly resembles Marianne—a long lost contact who may be her only connection to piecing together her story—she hopes that things might be taking a turn in her favor. That hope is quickly smashed when Marianne is involved in the murder of a local housekeeper. To make matters worse, Marianne issues a dire warning that Sloan and her entire family are in danger. If Sloan can’t figure out who the killer is and what happened in her past, she won’t find any hoppy endings.
The fifth in the Sloan Krause Mystery series, I’ve been captivated by the characters, the little town of Leavenworth WA, the incredible story of craft beers and I’ve greatly enjoyed them all.
Sloan Krause is a partner in a start-up craft brewery with partner Garrett. They are excited to introduce their new spring time release, Lemon Kiss, just in time for the annual Maifest parade and the onslaught of the tourists who enjoy the quaint Bavarian-esque village in the heart of the Northern Cascades. Besides people, there will be tons of flowers, lights, German foods, music, and craft beers. Nitro’s biggest competition is Der Keller in which she also owns a small share—with the family of her soon to be ex.
Sloan is a foster child and has only had glimpses of her birth background, but in this entry to the series, an aunt makes herself known with the plea that Sloan and her extended family may be in grave danger and need to flee. A sub-plot occurs in which the body of a maid turns up that either may or may not be related to the unknown dangerous person.
The mystery curls around the development of the festival, the costumes, sights and sounds of such a picturesque village that the reader feels the need to visit in person. I’m not a beer person, but some of the recipes even sound good to me.
The series, however, fully revolves around the characters who have grown so real they are developing a need to stay in touch. Sloan has grown but is beginning to have feelings for her business partner. I’m still loving the Krause family, the mom and pop who envelope her as their own daughter, Hans (the brother-in-law), and even the soon to be ex—rooting for he and Sloan to get back together. The characters are amazing.
In the meantime, Sloan is working on who killed the hotel housekeeper, thinking there might be a link while trying to keep her son and the others safe. The aunt comes off as being a bit touched—or maybe Sloan really IS in all that danger? We are finally getting the low-down on Sloan’s background and I was having a tough time swallowing it for most of the narrative. (Still am.)
The conclusion wraps up the whodunits and once the can of worms is opened spills a lot of secrets and history. Okay. But…love the series, just not thrilled with the wrap up of this one.
I’ve read this series as well as a couple in the Bakeshop Mystery series, but keep coming back to this series, including Without a Brew, Beyond a Reasonable Stout, and The Pint of No Return. Sloan has come a long way and the prose is sweet. I suppose you could read as a standalone, but then you might wonder how she got to this point in her life and you’d be missing the build-up. Wanna take an armchair vacation? I recommend this series, currently on pre-order.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Rating: Four Stars
Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Cozy Culinary Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Print Length: 280 pages
Publication Date: October 5, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The Author: ELLIE ALEXANDER is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses and breweries nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails of Southern Oregon and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. She is the author of the Bakeshop Mystery Series and the Sloan Krause Mysteries. Follow her on social media to learn more about her books, see her recipe videos, and participate in fun giveaways!
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©2021 V Williams