The Illuminated Vineyard
Five Star, Feb 9 2011, $25.95
In Birchwood, Oregon middle-age Widow Rachel Jarvis hires the young traveling couple Michael Broom and Cara Littleton to make repairs to her home. Rachel's daughter Clarissa disapproves the arrangement. Her other child Brett approves her mom’s hiring because he is attracted to Cara.
Someone murders small-time thief Brady Devon at Fargeau Vineyards. Police detective Greg Linsky suspects Michael stabbed Devon as he is a stranger with apparent ties to the vineyard owner Rob Fargeau. Three decades ago, Rachel and Rob had a tryst. Someone tries to poison the late Brady's girlfriend, Vonda Gallard, who vanishes without a trace. Rachel investigates the odd happenings, but cannot prevent a second brutal homicide.
The Illuminated Vineyard is a terrific relationship mystery in which what happened twenty years ago kept secret has roared out into the open in the present. The story line is in many respects a cautionary tale that warns readers that even with good intentions to protect loved ones; not to conceal major occurrences from those you cherish because if they learn the truth from another source the road to hell becomes exponentially much more horrific. Fans will appreciate the trip to Oregon for this winner.