Title: Murder and Moonshine
Author: Carol Miller
Published: Minotaur Books December 2013
Status: Read from December 16 to 18, 2013 — I own a copy
Murder and Moonshine is a debut mystery for Carol Miller. Set in rural Virginia, it begins when a reclusive old farmer stumbles in to the H&P Diner and dies, foaming at the mouth. Waitress, Daisy McGovern, is horrified, and even more so when ATF Agent Ethan Kinney shows up to investigate his death. Daisy bears a grudge against the FBI who, in the wake of her father’s tragic death five years before, seized her family’s farm and she is determined to ensure Agent Kinney doesn’t stay long. Then Hank (the H is H&P Diner) is murdered and suddenly Daisy finds herself in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy, and Ethan may be the only person she can trust.
There is a touch of humour, romance and moments of high tension in Murder and Moonshine. The story has more authenticity than I usually expect from a cozy mystery and the plot is well thought out, twisting in unexpected directions. While I found the pace a bit slow initially, the story does gather momentum as it unfolds and I was surprised by the denouement. At its heart lies family secrets, murder and a conspiracy of greed.
Daisy proves to be feisty and resourceful with a history of tragedy – from the death of her father and the loss of her family home, to being abandoned by her husband, and to now coping with her mother’s prolonged illness. Her motivation to become involved in the mystery makes sense, the murders are linked to her old homestead and both she and her mother are in danger.
Of course, no southern murder mystery would be complete without a cast of quirky characters from the gun toting Aunt Emily to the moonshine brothers, Rick and Bobby.
I enjoyed Murder and Moonshine, and I look forward to seeing how the series develops.
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