Mr. Ramford ordered Hera Knightsbridge to meet him at midnight in his brew barn knowing he was trying to take her brewing business away from her. She decided she should meet him no matter how late so she wouldnít anger him more and make things worse. What she found instead was Ramfordís dead body.
Hera was shocked when assistant deputy sheriff Jake Ryan responded to the call. The two had a history since they were young, and had gone to law school together, but Hera dropped out when her father died. She took over the brewery after her fatherís death.
Several people in the area were brew masters, a close knit group who also competed to see who could make the best brew. Rafe was a close friend as was Michael Ramford, the son of the victim.
Shortly after Mr. Ramford was killed, someone tried to kill Henry, Rafeís brew master. Then Henry was locked in a fermentation room and almost died from the fumes. Hera found yeast in her batch of brew that shouldnít have been there. Obviously someone was sabotaging their work.
Meanwhile, Jack told Hera he believed her father was murdered. She also found out her dad had an affair with Mr. Ramfordís wife, Claudia, many years ago. The reveal caused friction between Michael and Hera who had been long-time friends and neighbors.
While all of this, and more, was going on, Hera realized she was clearly a target and that probably someone she personally knew was trying to kill her. She got to the point where she didnít trust anyone, not even Jake or Michael.
A Deadly Draught was written by Lesley A. Diehl, a retired professor of psychology. That experience added greatly to the psychological flavor of the novel. She is also the author of Poisoned Pairings (Hera Knightsbridge Microbrewing Mystery Series Book 2) and Murder is Academic (Laura Murphy Mystery Series).
The author did her homework with both the psychological and brewing aspects. The intricate, fast-paced story and unique, well-developed characters bring life to a strong cozy mystery filled with suspenseful scenes.
The plot was well thought out with interesting twists and turns flowing as rapidly as the river that ran through the upstate New York backdrop of this story. Diehlís ability to stage a scene should give readers the feeling they are intimately involved in each conversation or action that takes place.
This was a difficult book to set down for any length of time as the intriguing mystery continued to draw me back in.
A special thank you goes to Lesley Diehl for providing a copy of A Deadly Draught for our review. If you are interested reading further stories by this author, Ms. Diehlís books are available at Amazon.com