Getting to read the first book in a new mystery series brings me great pleasure, and recently I had that opportunity.

Wine and Punishment, penned by best-selling author Sarah Fox, is touted as the first in “a literary pub mystery” series.

Set in Shady Creek, Vermont, Wine and Punishment features book lover Sadie Coleman, who recently purchased the old grist mill pub, transforming it into the Inkwell, a cozy spot for tourists and locals alike to enjoy a pint of locally brewed beer, a literary-themed cocktail, and/or join one of several book clubs.

Owning and operating a pub is a totally new line of work for Sadie, who recently lost her Boston job to a corporate merger at about the same time she ended her romantic relationship because of her boyfriend’s gambling addiction.

Starting over in the quaint village seems just the ticket.

As the weeks pass, Sadie adjusts to the rhythms of her new home and looks forward to the annual Autumn Festival, when thousands of leaf-peepers convene on Shady Creek to enjoy the breathtaking scenery, sample the local cuisine, and bet on who’ll win this year’s pumpkin catapult competition.

Life is good.

That is until Sadie’s ex, Eric, arrives unannounced with hopes to win Sadie back. Sadie manages to dodge Eric initially, but before she can order him to leave, Eric is found dead near the Inkwell, stabbed to death with a sword the same night a suspicious fire destroys the local antique shop.

In the following days, Sadie finds herself the victim of vicious vandalism, is physically attacked, and verbally abused. She truly has no idea what has provoked these actions and why several of the town’s citizens seem to have turned against her.

What she does know, without a doubt, is that there’s a dangerous killer on the loose, one who must be brought to justice quickly.

Stokely Memorial Library now has Wine and Punishment. It’s a good read, well-plotted with good character development and just the right amount of suspense.

Located at 383 East Broadway, Stokely Memorial Library is open Mondays-Saturdays from 10-5 and may be reached by telephone at 423-623-3832.

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