The Sauvignon Secret
Scribner, Aug 16 2011, $24.00
In Loudon County, Virginia wine importer and distributor Paul Noble hangs himself in the converted barn he owned. Vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery who just argued price with Noble over her Sauvignon Blanc and Cabaret Sauvignon is stunned to find Paul’s body hanging from a beam as she thinks how often she along with others in the wine industry wanted him dead figuratively not literally. Lucie calls 911 and County Sheriff Deputy Mathis, who has worked cases involving Lucie, arrives at the scene.
Lucie’s French grandfather Pépé arrives for a short visit before going on to Sonoma, California. Pépé’s friend Charles Thiessman pleads with and persuades Lucie to go to California to investigate whether Noble’s death was linked to his activities in the Bohemian Club during the Nixon Era. In Napa and Sonoma, Lucie joined by her former lover winemaker Quinn Santori make inquiries that lead to the Mandrake Society biochemists also from the Nixon period in which others like Noble have died; some four decades ago.
The latest wine country amateur sleuth mystery (see The Riesling Retribution and Viognier Vendetta) changes coastlines in a fresh Sauvignon story. Lucie and her support cast in Virginia and California are aged properly as they bring insight into winemaking and selling. The mystery is entertaining, but contains less suspense than usual. Still fans will toast Ellen Crosby for a fine tale.