Monday, April 2, 2012

Poisoned Pairings: Second in the Hera Knightsbridge Master Brewer Series

I've changed the blog and included the cover of the second Hera Knightsbridge Master Brewer series. 

The second book is Poisoned Pairings.  Here's a short blurb on it:

A student helping set up for a beer and food pairings event in Hera Knightsbridge’s microbrewery dies there under suspicious circumstances.  At first the death looks like a suicide, but the medical examiner determines it is murder, and Hera and her lover, Deputy Sheriff Jake Ryan again find themselves partners in searching for the killer.  Not only does murder threaten the community, but something more explosive has come to the valley—hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a controversial gas drilling technique whose proponents say can take the poor families of the region out of debt.  Hera and her fellow brewers are convinced it will contaminate the water supply, as it had in other places, and change forever the pristine beauty of the valley.  Connections among the student, the family of a dead brewer, a religious leader and the gas companies lead Hera and Jake into a maze of confusing and conflicting clues.  Before the two can unravel the case’s tangled threads, Jake is called away to another job, leaving Hera alone to uncover the identity of the killer before she becomes the next victim.

And a bit more to whet your appetite for beer and murder:

Rafe Oxley, my closest brewing friend, and I sat next to each other in a darkened room in the county office building. My fellow microbrewers in the Butternut Valley and other interested members of the county gathered to watch a video portraying gas exploration using hydraulic fracturing or fracking, a horizontal drilling technique injecting water, sand and chemicals under pressure to shatter underground shale and release the gas trapped inside.

Some individuals in our valley desperate for the income had already signed gas leases. Others worried the drilling would change the valley forever, destroying roads, polluting the air, poisoning our water.

The image on the screen was that of a drilling rig juxtaposed against the verdant background of virgin forest. To its left, a Caterpillar tore a trench through a nearby meadow leaving a gash which ran straight through grass and wildflowers into the scrubby pines behind the site. The camera panned to a fracking pond where the water and chemicals used to force the gas to the surface collected in a landscaping tarp to prevent leakage back into the ground.

The scene shifted to water tumbling over rocks in a small stream. A voice from off-camera said, “Let’s see if we can light this.”

A hand flicked a butane lighter and touched the flame to the water. With a whoosh, the stream caught on fire. The unexpected explosion startled me. I jumped and reached for Rafe’s hand.

“Mrs. Attenby down the road had her well explode on Christmas Eve last year,” said the man who had lit the water.

“The state has stopped the drilling, right?” asked the reporter covering the story.

“Right, but now the water around here is undrinkable. The companies are trucking in safe drinking water to the people who signed drilling leases. ‘Course, since there’s no more gas being taken, the people don’t get their monthly checks.”

Rafe and I glanced at one another, knowing what the other was thinking. Water was the lifeblood of micro brewing. We bought our malt, yeast and hops, shipped them in from other places. Some hops came from as far away as New Zealand. But the main ingredient in our beer, water, came from our wells.

Rafe leaned toward me and whispered what all of us must have been thinking.

“Our wells are connected. We saw that this summer. When one dried up, so did the others. If one well is contaminated, all of them will be. We have to stop this madness.”

Rafe and I turned to look at Teddy Buser, the largest brewer in the valley. He was scowling and shaking his head, the only one of the Butternut brewers who thought making money from natural gas seemed like a good thing. Teddy could afford to buy water, but what of the rest of us? Rafe and I scowled back at him.

The book will be available May 1 from Mainly Murder Press, Amazon, and your favorite indie bookseller.


  1. I'm just reading your first book now. Being a writer is busy--my reading takes a hit. I like your first book and wondered if you had written another. Then, I saw your post--great timing. My son has become a microbrewer (hobby) so I'm trying to understand part of the processes you describe in the book. I've found out that I'm not fond of hops, which produce the bitter taste. (I'm into champagnes like my main character.) He won a competition for a brew using chocolate. My son, who always had a sweet tooth, has expanded his taste for chocolate. Happy writing, Lesley--I'm looking foreward to reading your next.

  2. Congrats on your upcoming release, Lesley! The excerpt made me want a beer and your book :)

  3. Poisoned Parings sounds like a winner to me. And close to home. The new, proposed pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico runs through our property. Many are trying to stop it, but it will go through - after the election.

    So, I will have to get a copy of your book to see how this all comes out.

    Jim Callan

  4. Congratulations, Lesley! The cover looks great and the book sounds great!

  5. Congratulations, Lesley! I love the book cover, and the excerpt. I need to run right out and get the book. I really enjoyed the first in the series.

  6. Fracking and its impact on water and the environment are big news here in Pennsylvania. I agree with Jim. I think you have a winner here. Sigh--another addition to the TBR list.

  7. Lesley, this is one book I will pick up. I love mystery as well as historical information, and this dealing with fracking will be history making. Lady your book is at the forefront of something major and we all need to take a closer look at what's going on in our neighborhoods. Thank you for taking a huge leap for us all. Augie

  8. Thanks for this, Lesley. Great cover and I love the excerpt. I hope Poisoned Pairings will be a huge hit!