It’s been an interesting week, full of things to celebrate, new challenges, and a few frustrations. First, the celebration. My husband and I got to go to the graduation ceremony for our daughter who passed her EMT training course. This has been a major goal for her and we are so excited that she decided to pursue it. She had some major help and support from her fiance, which was invaluable in helping put her on the right path. After graduation she passed the cognitive portion of her certification. This requires her to demonstrate the ability to correctly assess ten different scenarios and then provide the correct medical attention required. The last step is the written national registry exam and then she is looking forward to her first job with an emergency service.
As for new challenges, that entails getting ready for the first acting gig I’ve had in awhile. I’ve been cast in a short film, one that really intrigues me. And that means preparing the lines, developing my own back story, and putting it all together. Life has interfered with my acting for the past year or so. It feels good to be back at it, and at the same time I’m relieved it’s a short film. I like the role, which is essential, and I’m also thinking a short film might be the best way to jump back into the acting waters.
Then the frustrations. I’m still working to learn how much energy I have and how to use it most effectively. I suffer from insomnia, which has a major negative effect on my energy level, so it feels as if I’m caught in a circle. It didn’t help any that my B-12 level has seemed to be lower than normal and that makes things so much harder with lack of sleep, lack of energy, and the constant nagging fear that I won’t get any better. Fortunately those setbacks seem to have resolved and I’m once again able to get to the gym, experiment in the kitchen, and all those other things I enjoy. I didn’t get all of the house cleaned this week, but fortunately I got most of it done and next week I’ll have the chance to do it all over again.
The best thing about having down time, whether it be for a day or a week, is that it gives me enough time to indulge in one of my favorite pastimes, reading. Fortunately I had a good book from NetGalley and Alibi group of Random House Publishing, so I had plenty to keep me entertained. Here’s my latest review:
My thanks to NetGalley and the Alibi Division of Random House Publishing for providing me with an Advanced Digital Read copy of DIED IN THE WOOL by Melinda Mullet. This is the fourth book in the Whiskey Business series by Mullet, and my second read, having read DEADLY DRAM just last year. I’m delighted to report that this is another excellent entry in an intriguing series.
In this series, Abi Logan, former photojournalist has inherited part ownership of a whiskey distillery and an estate in Scotland. On this occasion, Abi is working to reconcile her feelings for her partner, Grant who was injured in an attack meant for her in the previous book. The details of that book are not necessary as the reader can easily catch up to what is happening between the two people, along with Breena, Grant’s former fiance, who appeared in the last book and has moved in with Grant, declaring herself chief guardian of his health and, in a surprise statement, Grant’s fiance.
The feelings between Grant and Abi as well as where their relationship goes from here is only a small part of the book, although if the reader is invested in the series they will be interested in reading what happens. Most of the book focuses on the new mystery which develops when Abi is forced to deal with the problem of excess wool growing on the herd of sheep she has rescued from various unhappy fates. She has developed something of a reputation of a home for unwanted sheep which she takes and gives literary names. Much to her chagrin she learns she must have the sheep shorn for their health which poses the question of what to do with the wool.
In terms of finding a need and filling it, a friend of Abi’s introduces her to a woman who owns a knitting shop and who also runs a women’s shelter called Shepherd’s Rest. Abi is just getting acquainted when she becomes aware of an unsavory lawyer who is trying to railroad the shelter’s inhabitants into a less than desirable property. If there is anything Abi can’t stand it’s someone being taken advantage of, so when she’s asked to become a board member and try to help the shelter ward off this particular problem, she agrees and immediately becomes immersed in their situation.
Things get more complicated when one of the shelter resident’s winds up dead and although it looks like suicide the shelter director, as well as Abi and other residents, has her doubts. Abi agrees to investigate and calls in help from a detective she has worked with in the past. Although it’s not in his jurisdiction, he agrees to speak to the local authorities and urges Abi to leave it at that.
Unable to do that, Abi begins an investigation of her own. Meanwhile another resident disappears, leaving her ten year old daughter abandoned. This convinces Abi the disappearance is either a kidnapping or worse, and she moves into high gear trying to solve both mysteries, the death of the first resident and now the disappearance of another.
There are some regular characters who appear in this novel who are part of Abi’s regular world. How Abi involves Patrick, one of her friends from her old life and Louisa, a new friend and Grant’s housekeeper add color to the story and substance to Abi’s relationships in general. Mullet provides enough information about the various relationships that the reader can “catch up” quickly, however if you are a person who enjoys reading about relationships as they develop I recommend reading the series from the beginning.
These two murders, along with several other mysteries that are revealed as the book progresses, are well crafted. There are plenty of clues along the way and the veteran mystery reader may find the solution is one they reach before finishing the book. However, the story is so well written and tightly crafted, solving the mystery is unlikely to negatively affect the reader’s enjoyment of the story.
This is a classic cozy and an excellent example of how to craft a good mystery and develop characters who are interesting and whom the reader would enjoy knowing all at the same time. It is also placed in Scotland which adds to the interest as the reader gets to spend a little time in that country without feeling as if (s)he is reading a travelog.
So, there you have my week in a nutshell, or at least some of it. It only took me about two days to read this book, and that was only because I slowed my reading so as to enjoy the story. This is a book and series I highly recommend. Here’s hoping Abi and company continue to provide new and interesting mysteries for us to solve. As always, Happy Reading.