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?
It's not often you can read a book, or a series of books about Death, and not be thought a little morbid. Loretta Ross gives us such a book (and series) in Death and the Brewmaster's Widow, an "Auction Block Mystery". Of course, people may still think you a little...strange... until you explain that it's pronounced "Deeth". But if memory serves, Death's parents gave his brother Randy an unusual name as well.
The book starts of on a decidedly somber note. Randy is a firefighter, and when he dies on the job, his brother Death comes to settle his estate. But there are certain inconsistencies in the evidence from the intentionally-started fire. There is a badge returned with Randy's effects, indicating that he was wearing it at the time of the fire, but his co-workers relate that he had left his badge (which was broken) at the station house that morning. Hmmm...
The settings and locales in Death and the Brewmaster's Widow are superb. First of all, there is the long-defunct Einstadt Brewery's decaying building, called 'The Brewmaster's Widow' by the locals. Then there are the Cherokee caves, where the local brewers (aka 'beer barons') set up an exclusive recreation area for themselves in the 19th century.
I would l.o.v.e. to say more about the mystery that Death and his fiancee Wren investigate, but that would deny spelunking mystery fans a sweet ride through the past and present of St. Louis. But it's worth the price of admission and then some.
MEET THE AUTHOR
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 and the Redheaded Woman will be her first published novel.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my objective review. This post contains affiliate links.)
NOTE: This book helps me fulfill the following 2016 Reading Challenges: