Scribner, Aug 2008, $25.00
One year ago at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, Lucie Montgomery became the vintner at her family’s vineyard. Although a lot has happened in that time (see THE CHARDONNAY CHARADE and THE MERLOT MURDERS), Lucie enjoys her work.
Lucie hosts a charity event in which dinner is served at Mount Vernon. Supper guest speaker wine writer Valerie Beauvais implies that the prize item at the upcoming charity auction, a bottle of Bordeaux allegedly purchased by Thomas Jefferson in 1790 as a gift to George Washington, is suspect. Valerie and Lucie plan to inspect the wine first hand to insure thee is no duplicity, but the doubter dies in a car accident before she can travel to the Montgomery Estate Vineyard where the Bordeaux is stored. Suspecting foul play to perhaps hide a fraud, Lucie investigates a crowd that she calls friends while her personal life turns even more complicated.
Although there are too many sidebars complicating a complex amateur sleuth, fans will appreciate sipping wine while Lucie performs the field work. The story line combines a strong mystery with several personal incidents (too many perhaps) and a terrific insightful look at wine myths and history especially amongst the Founding Fathers. Fans will toast Ellen Crosby for a fine Virginia wine country whodunit.