Sunday, February 14, 2016

Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow by Loretta Ross | Blog Tour Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

The author of Death & the Redheaded Woman is back, with another Auction Block Mystery!

The Blurb

They call it the Brewmaster’s Widow; the abandoned brewery where Death Bogart’s brother died in an arson fire.

With his girlfriend, Wren Morgan, Death goes home to St. Louis to take on a deeply personal mystery. When Randy Bogart went into the Einstadt Brewery, he left his broken badge behind at the firehouse. So why did the coroner find one on his body? Every answer leads to more questions. Why did the phony badge have the wrong number? Who set the brewery fire? What is the connection between Randy’s death and the mysterious Cherokee Caves, where the opulent playground of 19th century beer barons falls into slow decay?

Not understanding how and why he lost his brother is breaking the ex-Marine’s heart. But the Brewmaster’s Widow is jealous of her secrets. Prying them loose could cost Death and Wren both their lives.


"There are fewer auctions in this second series entry, but readers won't mind as the twisty, Hitchock-style plot unfolds . . . Ross is an author to watch." ― Booklist

“The second case for Death and Wren uses an intriguing premise to flesh out the charming detective duo.” ― Kirkus Reviews

Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow by Loretta Ross
Series: An Auction Block Mystery, #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: February 8, 2016
Paperback: 264 pages
ISBN-10: 073874705X
ISBN-13: 978-0738747057
e-Book File Size: 2687 KB

Click here for an Excerpt (chapters 1 & 2) of Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow on Midnight Ink's website.

The Review

I just read an amazing book, y'all — Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow by Loretta Ross. Let me tell you a little about it. 

Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow is the second book in the Auction Block Mystery series, following Book 1, Death & the Redheaded WomanDeath & the Brewmaster’s Widow is a fun, fast-paced, and very entertaining read. It is even better than the Five-Kitty Death & the Redheaded Woman (reviewed here)! 

Everything I loved about Redheaded Woman is present in Brewmaster's Widow.

  • Author Loretta Ross continues to depict the fictional East Bledsoe Ferry, Missouri in a very believable manner. 
  • Even when the action moves to a real city — St Louis, Missouri — she creates the fictional Einstadt Brewery quite realistically, locating it near the real Lemp Brewery.    
  • Main characters Wren and Death (pronounced "Deeth") continue to have great chemistry together, and are still great fun to read about. 
  • We don't see as much of the Keystones in Book 2, since so much of it takes place in St Louis, but the Keystone twins (Roy and Sam) make up for it by being even funnier.
  • Author Loretta Ross has created a whole new cast of characters in the St Louis setting. These characters are lifelike and totally believable. 

Now for some passages from Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow, as examples of Author Loretta Ross's superb writing:

Wren, asking Leona Keystone (Roy's wife) if she should go with Death to St Louis.
"But ... should I go? I mean, I want to be there to support him if he wants me, but I don't want him to feel I'm smothering him either." ....  "So I don't want him to think that I don't trust him because I don't want him to think that he can't trust me, though I don't think that he thinks that and I don't want him to think that I don't want to be there if he needs me either." She sighed. "Am I overthinking this?"
"I think you might be," Leona said, amused, "but when you figure it out you just let me know."
Death and Wren, standing by her man.
"You heard about what happened at the rifle range." It wasn't a question.
"It's a small town. " She didn't insult him by trying to deny it. "Cops are the world's worst gossips."
"Great. I'm the local freak now."
Wren smacked his arm. "Freak nothing. You publicly humiliated the most disliked person in a three-county area. Today, Batman wears Death Bogart pajamas."
A discussion between some Keystones (Rory, Leona, Roy, and Sam) and Death.
"Yesterday I was taking out a cart of groceries for these two ladies and they were having this conversation you would not believe. It was like I wasn't even standing there. I just wanted to run away screaming."
"Really?" Death asked innocently. "What were they talking about?"
Rory's ears turned red and he stammered. "Stuff," he managed finally. 
"You know. Woman-ey stuff. Really graphic woman-ey stuff." His blush deepened as his peers and elders merely watched him expectantly. "One of them was having problems. You know."
"Woman-ey problems?"
"With her stuff," Leona nodded. "Her woman-ey stuff."
"Her lady parts," Roy clarified. 
Rory was aghast. "Grandpa!"
"What? You're shocked that I know about lady parts? Let me tell you something, son. If I didn't know about lady parts, half the people in this building wouldn't exist."
"Can we have a moment of silence," Sam said, "so that I can pray for salvation for my brother?"
"You can act like an old maid all you want," Roy said, "but you've had the occasional brush with lady parts yourself, and I can point out a dozen or more pieces of evidence without even turning my head."
"Perhaps. But I don't talk about it at the dinner table." 
"Maybe I just know more to talk about."
"You do know about lady parts," Leona agreed placidly. She reached over and patted her husband's hand. "Just don't go imagining that you're an expert."
Wren and Death, as they are cleaning out Death's brother's house.
"What's the funniest thing you remember ever happening in this room?" Wren asked, pulling down dozens of cartoons that were plastered around the door into the kitchen.
"This room?" Death thought about it. "There was the time Uncle Biggers set his butt on fire."

I have other favorite passages, but they contain spoilers, so I'll stop with these. Have I convinced you yet? Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow is fantastic! I recommend it to all fans of cozy mysteries. There are laughs, wit, chuckles, twists, turns, thrills, suspense, snark, mystery, and romance. Wren's role in the book's climax is priceless. 

I love Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow by Loretta Ross, and hereby declare it worthy of our highest rating of Five Kitties!

Five out of five kitties
 Note:  I received a complimentary copy of Death & the Brewmaster’s Widow in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Click here, to read other reviews, plus Guest Post and Interview! 

The Guest Post

Postcard From Bouchercon

Last October I attended my first ever Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. It was held in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was an amazing experience. If you've never been to Bouchercon, it's a long weekend where mystery fans congregate with authors and members of the mystery publishing industry.

For a new, unknown author like me, it was a wonderful chance to meet readers in person. There are also big name writers there. I hadn't really expected to meet any of them, but you never know who's going to be wandering around among the crowd. The first morning I was there my agent introduced me to David Morrell. I shook hands with the man who wrote Rambo, you guys! And then I checked to make sure my fingers were all still there. Because Rambo.

I met Michael Robertson, the author of the book that was next to mine on the New Mysteries shelf at the bookstore. I got punked by Patrick Lee, I got an autograph from the head of the Baker Street Irregulars, and I helped three strange women plot a murder in the ladies' room. And I haven't even mentioned the books! Not only is the book dealers' room amazing (I got a signed copy of Catriona McPherson's The Child Garden!) but you get a goodie bag full of books when you check in.

I'm not an adventurous person. In my normal life I rarely venture farther than the little town where I work at my day job in retail. Going to Raleigh was easily the most I have stretched myself in years. I drove down alone from west-central Missouri on an epic road trip during which I learned three things:
1. I'm a better driver than I think I am. Not only did I not get in a wreck, I made it all the way to Raleigh without getting lost and I successfully navigated a passage through the Great Smoky Mountains that tested both my fear of heights and my fear of tight spaces. There are breathtaking vistas that would be life-taking vistas if you strayed three feet off the highway. There are tunnels that go under the mountains. And there are runaway truck ramps.
Runaway trucks are a thing, y'all.
2. I hate mountains. That is, I love mountains if they're in screensavers or on postcards or jigsaw puzzles. When they're climbing under the wheels of my Jeep, not so much. The Great Smoky Mountains were deceptive. When I left Knoxville, Tennessee, where I'd spent the night, and started on the last leg of my journey down, I thought I had it made. The traffic was light, the road broad and well-maintained, and the fall weather couldn't have been more beautiful.
And then we started to climb.
3. It's just when you think things have gotten simple that they get really messed up. In two days I drove over a thousand miles and made it to Raleigh without once getting lost. I arrived during the evening rush hour and found myself on a narrow-laned, rough highway in a construction zone. At that point I had hit my limit for highway driving. I needed off the interstate and I needed off the interstate immediately. I took the first exit knowing I would be lost, but reasoning that since I was going downtown I could just drive towards the tall buildings until I found my way again. As it happened, it worked. About twenty minutes later I found myself driving past my hotel. The only problem was, I was on the wrong side of a divided road. But that was no problem, right? All I had to do was drive past the busy intersection, make a left turn at the first little road I came to, and find somewhere to turn around and come back. Simple. 
It was an on-ramp.
Next year Bouchercon will be held in September in New Orleans and I'm already making plans to go. My good friend Lily is coming from Switzerland and she's bringing her ukulele. My agent, the wonderful Janet Reid, is not planning to attend, so we will have no adult supervision. If any of you have a chance to join us, we'd love to meet you. I'll be the drunk lady getting off the train.

The Author

About Loretta Ross

Loretta Ross is a writer and historian who lives and works in rural Missouri. She is an alumna of Cottey College and holds a BA in archaeology from the University of Missouri – Columbia. 

She has loved mysteries since she first learned to read. Death & the Redheaded Woman was her first published novel.

Find Loretta on the web at

The Giveaway


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