Diane Kelly’s new Southern Homebrew Mystery Series is about Hattie Hayes who comes from a long line of moonshiners in Tennessee. Her great-grandfather was arrested for selling hooch during prohibition. Now Hattie legally bottles the family recipe, along with her own personal fruity flavors under the Firefly brand name. The description of The Moonshine Shack on the Chattanooga Riverwalk is adorable. Even though I don’t like moonshine, I would love to hang out there with Hattie, her hilarious grandfather, Ben, her two best friends, and her cat, Smoky. Best of all, a handsome mounted police officer named Marlon Landers seems to have taken a “shine” to Hattie.
Unfortunately for Hattie, her store is across the street from an Irish bar owned by the unethical Cormac O’Keefe. Not only does he cancel a contract for an order of Hattie’s moonshine, but he is also dating two of his waitresses at the same time. He enjoys kicking frat boys and others from his bar. O’Keefe stiffed a neighboring restaurant on a catering invoice and has unpaid judgments against him that a local attorney wants to collect. He enters into an exclusive distribution contract with one of Hattie’s competitors and boasts his plans to host events in direct competition with Hattie. To top things off, O’Keefe gets in a fight with Hattie’s elderly grandfather who sits outside the store and whittles.
When O’Keefe ends up dead in front of The Moonshine Shack, there is a long list of suspects, including Hattie herself. In order to keep her name clear, Hattie decides to figure out who the murderer is. She has additional motivation when officer Landers tells her she can take him out for dinner once the investigation is solved. While it wasn’t easy to figure out whodunit, it was easy to guess that the dinner with the police officer would be a success.
5-Stars for this new cozy mystery series. Thanks to Diane Kelly and her editor, Miranda Hill of Berkley, for my advanced reader copy. This book will be published on July 6, 2021.