Amateur sleuth Sloan Krause delves into the murderous political world in another delightful mystery from popular cozy writer Ellie Alexander.
It’s the dead season in Leavenworth, Washington. The throngs of Oktoberfest crowds have headed home, and the charming Bavarian streets are quiet and calm—momentarily. Villagers use the reprieve to drink in the crisp fall mountain air and prepare for the upcoming winter light festival. Soon the German-inspired shops and restaurants will be aglow with thousands of twinkling lights. Visitors will return to the northern Cascades to drink warm mulled cider and peruse the holiday markets. Brewer, Sloan Krause and her partner in crime Garrett Strong are using the slowdown to stock up on a new line of their signature craft beers at Nitro. They’re experimenting with a hoppy holiday pine and a chocolate hazelnut stout. The small brewery is alive with delicious scents and bubbling batches of brew.
Sloan is in her element. She loves the creativity and lowkey atmosphere at Nitro. Only that is soon threatened by the incumbent city councilmember Kristopher Cooper. Kristopher is running for re-election on a platform of making Leavenworth dry. Everyone in beertopia is fuming. Leavenworth’s economy relies on keeping the kegs flowing. Kristopher wants to banish beer, a policy that might just bankrupt the entire village. However, Kristopher turns up dead days before election night. Sloan quickly realizes that his murder isn’t the work of a stranger. Friends, family, and every other business owner had a motive to kill him, including none other than April Ablin, Leavenworth’s self-described ambassador of all things German. Sloan finds herself defending April and trying to sleuth out a killer amongst a group of familiar faces.
In Alexander's refreshing third mystery featuring brewmaster Sloan Krause (after 2018's The Pint of No Return), Oktoberfest is over, and the residents of the quaint German-themed town of Leavenworth, Wash., are getting ready for the winter tourist season and the upcoming local election. City councilman Kristopher Cooper is running for reelection on a platform of prohibition, which would shut down the town's craft beer breweries, its main source of income. One night, Kristopher and April Ablin, the obnoxious town gossip, have a loud argument; the next morning, the councilman is found stabbed to death in April's office. As the number one suspect, April asks Sloan to help prove her innocence. The list of suspects grows as Sloan uncovers evidence that Kristopher was blackmailing townspeople for votes. Meanwhile, Sloan, who never knew her parents, receives a frightening cryptic message about her parents' true identity. Distinctive characters and fun anecdotes about beer and brewing help make this a winner. Readers will want to keep coming back for more.
The third A Sloane Krause Mystery
Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie Alexander welcomes us to Leavenworth, Washington. Sloan Krause is enjoying the quiet of the town now that Oktoberfest has ended, but it is to be short lived. City Councilman, Kristopher Cooper is running for re-election with a platform of turning Leavenworth into a dry town which would lead to a town without tourists. The next day, Sloan enters April Ablin’s office to find Kristopher dead on the floor and April being arrested by Chief Meyers. While Sloan is a not a fan of the town’s self-appointed ambassador, she knows that April needs her help. Beyond a Reasonable Stout can be read alone for those new to A Sloan Krause Mystery series. The story has Ellie Alexander’s casual writing style which makes the story easy to read. Sloan is preparing for the next stage of her life now that she is divorcing Mac. She has her job at Nitro with Garrett Strong where she gets a voice in creating new brews and now, she needs to decide where to live. Sloan and Garrett are experimenting with new holiday brews and training Kat on their stock so she can handle barkeep duties. The town is in an uproar over Kristopher Cooper and his plan to turn Leavenworth into a dry town. Without the beer, the town will lose its tourists which doesn’t seem to faze Kristopher. It is no surprise when Kristopher ends up murdered. However, Sloan is shocked when April Ablin is arrested for the crime. She knows that April did commit the crime and, reluctantly, Sloan sets out to prove it. Readers will have no problem solving this whodunit long before the reveal. I kept hoping for a twist because I thought the solution too simple. There are multiple suspects since Kristopher managed to antagonize the majority of the town’s residents. The mystery is nicely wrapped up at the end of the book. The secondary mystery of Sloan’s birth parents began in Death on Tap and is still playing out. Sloan is determined to find answers and she may have gotten her best clue yet. I enjoy the descriptions of Leavenworth with its Bavarian style architecture, shops and food. It reminds me of where I grew up (German Village in Columbus, Ohio). A Sloan Krause Mystery series is a character focused series. The characters and their lives are the main focus of the story. They chat, eat and drink plenty of beer. If you enjoy Ellie Alexander’s A Bakeshop Mystery series, you will like reading A Sloane Krause Mystery series (switch out pastry for beer). Beyond a Reasonable Stout is a lighthearted cozy mystery with petty politics, brewing beer, wrestling with wallpaper, barkeep basics, nutty nutcrackers, and an aggrieved April.