Nothing says summer like a great mystery to read, and a fabulous cocktail to sip while doing so. Even if you can’t get to the beach, you can travel with these mysteries that include a cocktail or two. I lived in the panhandle of Florida for three years and have visited many times. Emerald-colored water gently lapping on white sandy beaches, air scented with salt and suntan lotion, and oh, those beach bars with their fruity drinks, island music, and happy tourists mingling with locals. Sigh.
Since I can’t be there fulltime, writing the Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon series seemed like the perfect solution. In From Beer to Eternity, Chloe, loves learning the bartending life from handsome Joaquin Diaz, but worries lies she’s told will ruin their budding friendship. Chloe stumbles across a patron’s dead body and the owner of the Sea Glass is the main suspect. While searching for the murderer and hiding the real reason she is in town, Chloe’s life becomes more complicated than trying to make a Commonwealth cocktail.
Pull up a barstool, grab a drink, and check out these mysteries that give you a great summer escape.
Assault and Beadery by Molly Cox Bryan
In Assault and Beadery by Molly Cox Bryan, Cora Chevalier’s crafting retreat business in Indigo Gap, North Carolina is booming. The drama starts when the murder of the director of the local theater group mars her upcoming Crafty Mom’s Back to School Escape Weekend. Still the retreat goes on and hilarity ensues when Cora’s friend Ruby decides to make Bloody Mary drinks for everyone. Ruby accidentally doubles the amount of alcohol and crafting has never been so merry. When Cora’s friend Zee is accused of murder, Cora hopes she’s crafty enough to find the real killer.
Drink recommendation: Bloody Mary (Or a Virgin Bloody Mary)
The Fate of a Flapper by Susanna Calkins
Speakeasys? Prohibition? You don’t need a password to get into The Fate of a Flapper, the second speakeasy mystery by Susanna Calkins, but you might need the hired muscle to pry this book out of your hands. Cigarette girl, Gina Ricci, has her hands full and not just with the tray of gum, smokes, and candy she carries around the speakeasy. Drunk customers, and one who turns up dead, has Gina at the crime scene to take photographs for her police officer cousin—Gina’s not just a pretty face.
Drink recommendation: Gin Rickey (Or a mocktail Lime Rickey)
Still Knife Painting by Cheryl Hollon
From speakeasy to modern day moonshine of the legal variety. In Cheryl Hollon’s first in a new series, Still Knife Painting, Miranda Trent inherits her uncle’s property in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. She opens a new business Paint & Shine, where customers hike to have guided painting lessons, followed by meals paired with moonshine. Oh, and Miranda’s uncle’s will states that she has to open a distillery in his barn. When Miranda’s cook is murdered, Miranda feels likes she’s been painted into a corner and only hopes that someone hasn’t framed her.
Drink recommendation: Fresh Peach Moonshine (Or a mocktail Peach Smoothie)
Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder, by Tina Kashian
The Jersey shore is hard to beat no matter the season and in Tina Kashian’s Kebab Kitchen mystery series it’s easy to visit. Just the titles of Tina’s books make me hungry and her upcoming Mistletoe, Moussaka, and Murder is on my TBR list. What’s not to love about a Polar Bear Plunge turned deadly and an upcoming wedding? Lucy Berberian, manages not only the family restaurant, but manages to find herself in cold water and hopefully not over her head. Ouzo and American cognac are the drinks of choice in this mouthwatering series.
Drink recommendation: Ouzotini (Or a mocktail Cranberry Cosmopolitan)
The Maine Clambake series by Barbara Ross
If you need to cool off, heading to coastal Maine is the perfect place to go. A batch of Killer Eggnog sets off a chain of events that surprises even the gutsy Julia Snowden in the Maine Clambake novella Nogged Off by Barbara Ross. Julia’s decision to invite Iomgen Geinkes (nicknamed “I’m A Jinx”) to spend the holidays with Julia’s family in Busman’s Harbor has upended more than the Christmas trees Imogen knocks over at the annual Festival of the Trees. Julia needs to solve the murder before she gets knocked off.
Drink recommendation—you guessed it: Eggnog with or without the spirits.