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The Brewery Murders by J R Ellis - Review

Thursday, December 14, 2023

You know I love J R Ellis and have read everything his written. He writes a series focussing on DCI Jim Oldroyd and his two sergeants, Andy and Steph. Oldroyd is now living with a woman, Deborah, in Harrogate, and Andy and Steph are a couple and live together in Leeds. I love the series because of its North Yorkshire setting, which is a place very dear to me, and I love to read about it. This is the ninth book in the series, and takes place in lower Wensleydale which I visited recently! It's a lovely part of the world. 

So in this book there's a beer festival to begin with and there are two breweries present who both brew in Markham and who are rivals. The older, traditional one is run by Richard Foster, who took over from his father. His father made a beer called Wensley Glory back in the nineties which won many awards, but the recipe was lost upon his death and so Richard can't remake it. The other brewery is run by Richard's sister, Emily, and she employs mainly women. Her partner Janice works there too. The women's brewery is subjected to a lot of abuse and harassment from Richard's brewery, mainly because a lot of the men who work there don't think women should be brewing beer. A man called Brendan Scholes turns up to talk to both Richard and Emily. He used to work at Richard's brewery and his dad Wilf was the only other person who knew the missing recipe other than Foster Sr. He has recently died and Brendan says he has a copy of the recipe. He wants either Richard or Emily to pay him for it. 

However, he is then found dead in a vat of beer in the older brewery. There are any number of people who might have wanted Brendan dead, including of course Richard and Emily, who may have both wanted the recipe, if it exists, the husband of a woman that Brendan had an affair with, and any number of people who just disliked him. Oldroyd and Andy are put on the case and are helped by a young and enthusiastic DC who I think we'll see more of in future books. One of my only criticisms of this book is that there's very little Steph in it and I like her, I always want to see more of her! 

I did guess one of the major twists before Oldroyd got there, which pleased me. I found the mystery a good one and in all I'm giving it four out of five. 

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