Title: An Old-Fashioned Murder by Carol Miller
Moonshine Mystery Series Book Three
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 303 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Secrets, lies, and a splash of moonshine: a classic country house whodunit with a distinctly Southern twist.
After losing her husband and her home, small-town girl Daisy McGovern moves in with her invalid mother at an old inn in sleepy southwestern Virginia. When the inn’s eccentric proprietor, Aunt Emily, decides to throw a weekend party for a small group of friends and neighbors, everybody is excited–until a winter storm approaches and one of the guests is crushed by an antique bookcase during the night.
At first, the death appears to be an accident. But as the storm worsens and the sheriff is unable to reach them, suspicion slowly grows. Was it murder? After the inn loses power and a second death occurs, it’s clear to Daisy that one among them is a killer. But who? The young, new, secretive maid? The antique-peddling pair of spinster sisters? Her not-so-welcome in-laws? The peculiar house-hunting couple? The supposedly stranded motorist?
With no way to leave and no way to get help, Daisy’s only contacts to the outside world are her best friend Beulah and the always charming (and equally troublesome) moonshiner, Rick Balsam. Trapped with a clever and seemingly undetectable murderer, she must unravel the truth before the party ends with her funeral.
An Old-Fashioned Murder is the third outing in Carol Miller’s Moonshine Mystery series starring baker turned amateur sleuth Daisy McGovern. In this latest release, a surprise blizzard strands Daisy and a motley assortment of guests at the Tosh Inn where tensions mount as she and bat conservationist/love interest Drew Alcott investigate the death of one of the visitors.
Daisy is happy to assist her honorary Aunt Emily host the grand reopening of the Tosh Inn following repairs on the beautiful Victorian mansion. The guest list is small but includes Edna and May Fowler, owners of the antique store that Emily frequents, close friend Henry Brent (an entertaining 94 year old), inn guests Sarah and Kenneth Lunt, Daisy’s beau Drew and two unwelcome party crashers, Parker and Lillian Barker. Also present is the inn’s newly hired employee Georgia Ross, a newcomer to town with a bit of a mysterious past. The party is off to a bit of tense beginning since Lillian is Daisy’s aunt by marriage and despite the fact that Daisy has not seen nor heard from her husband Matt since he vanished five years earlier, Lillian is not at all happy that her niece-in-law is dating Drew. Equally troubling is Kenneth’s unexpected offer to purchase the inn even though it is not currently for sale. In the early morning hours, the shocking discovery of a dead body casts a pall over the celebration and leaves everyone looking at one another with suspicion since a second death soon makes it apparent there is a killer in their midst.
Daisy, Drew and Emily are eager to uncover the killer’s identity but with few clues to go on, they find it impossible to narrow down their suspect list. With most of the guests behaving a little suspiciously, they try to focus on possible reasons for the murder, and while they come up with several plausible theories, they cannot find proof to back up their suppositions. Snippets of overheard conversations seem to offer a valid motive for the first death, but Daisy’s investigation quickly hits a dead end. Furtive behavior by one the residents rouses Daisy’s suspicions but new information soon ends that line of inquiry. A second death puts pressure on Daisy to solve the crimes but will she unmask the killer before another person is murdered?
With plenty of red herrings and a vast pool of credible suspects, An Old-Fashioned Murder is a brilliantly written whodunit that is virtually impossible to solve. Carol Miller keeps the Moonshine Mystery series fresh by the introduction of new characters and the clever use of a party, a blizzard and the Tosh Inn as a backdrop for the murders. Although Daisy’s nemesis Rick Balsam remains on the periphery for much of the story, he is once again an invaluable source of information for Daisy during the investigation. An absolutely stunning plot twist will leave readers impatiently awaiting the release of the next book in the series.