Release Date: Sep 4, 2018
Series: Whiskey Business
Publisher: Random House
Photojournalist Abi Logan is growing to love her new home in Balfour, Scotland, and is determined to keep learning about the whisky business now that she has inherited a Scottish whisky distillery. Abi wants to continue the success of the Abbey Glen brand and is working hard to be taken seriously in this male-dominated world. This and past relationship issues cause Abi to keep her attractive business partner, Grant MacEwen, at arm’s length. This could prove difficult when the two go together to an industry competition. Abi has full schedule of events and promoting Abbey Glen, which provide a good excuse to avoid Grant as much as possible. When one of the judges is found murdered, Abi has to add solving a murder on her already busy agenda.
Deadly Dram is the third in this series. Abbey Glen makes a great setting for a series and the information about the distillery and the whisky business are the best parts of this book. It’s unique for a cozy and I learned a lot about the industry, while being entertained with an entertaining plot. The whisky competition, held at a luxury hotel makes it even more interesting. Abi’s best friend and PR professional, Patrick, make a good investigative team, as they use their skills to research potential suspects and convince DI Ian Michaelson of Patrick’s innocence. Although Michaelson has Patrick in his sights, he welcomes Abi’s help since he is short-handed. It was refreshing for Abi, as an amateur sleuth, be taken seriously by the professional detective on the case. This is in part due to Abi’s background in journalism, but also her ability to talk to a person and quickly get a sense of who they are and if they are being truthful.
Less successful for me is the introduction of Brenna as a professional and personal rival to Abi. Brenna was supposed to be a pioneer in the whisky, interning with Abi’s Uncle Ben and living with Grant, and yet the first Abi has ever heard of her is when Brenna makes a grand entrance at the whisky competition. I found this very hard to believe, especially in a small town and close-knit group of whisky distillers. Grant says he’s over Brenna, often snubbing her, but then an event at the end of the book is obviously setting up a triangle with Brenna, Grant, and Abi. The romance factor, with Abi and Grant being at cross purposes over their relationship, is a weakness of this book and the series as a whole. However, the interesting setting and insider information about the whisky business make Deadly Dram a worthwhile read, especially for those who have been following the series.