An intriguing blend of colorful characters, fascinating history, and winemaking detail come together in Ellen Crosby’s “sprightly” (Publishers Weekly) tale of suspense—the fourth in her Wine Country mystery series—set in Virginia’s lush wine country.
When a tornado rips through Montgomery Estate Vineyard and unearths a grave in an abandoned field, police inform Lucie Montgomery that the odds are good someone in her family is responsible—possibly for murder. But she has more to worry about than buried secrets.
A clash between her charming new farm manager and her winemaker, Quinn Santori, tests her complicated romantic and professional feelings for Quinn, fueling the winery’s combustible atmosphere. Meanwhile eerie ghost stories make her think twice about allowing Civil War reenactors to use a field near the grave site—until the spirits of her own family’s past converge for a most unexpected outcome.
When Lucie Montgomery stumbles across a skull in her vineyard just after the tornado that almost kills her little does she suspect the skeletons in the family closet to which the discovery will lead in Crosby's sprightly fourth Virginia wine country mystery (after 2008's The Bordeaux Betrayal). But who can blame the amateur detective for being a bit off her game, with the hurricane of headaches already buffeting Montgomery Estate Vineyard? Hot-tempered winemaker Quinn Santori and handsome new manager Chance Miller (Lucie is attracted to both) are at each other's throats and hundreds of Civil War buffs are due in days to re-enact the 1861 Battle of Ball's Bluff. Expect plenty of fireworks as Lucie pursues her own investigation into the old, but no longer cold, homicide and a fast-paced sprint to what proves a rather slapdash finish. Until then, however, Crosby serves up a wine cooler that goes down easy even if it's hardly vintage.
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Just keeps getting better
After a good but not stellar first book in this series, Ms. Crosby's books have improved with each installment. The plot lines, character development, and the quality of her prose in the second, third, and, this, the fourth book are all quite good. I especially like the humor of the idiom mangling Dominique and vocabulary mangling Thelma. While I wasn't sure I would read her next books after the first, by now I'm a committed fan.