The Viognier Vendetta
Scribner, Aug 3 2010, $24.00
Twelve years have passed since vintner Lucie Montgomery heard from her former best friend at college Rebecca Natale. So she is understandably shocked when Rachel calls her and asks to meet her in Washington DC. She will put her up at a nice hotel that she can afford since she is the protégé of billionaire investor Sir Thomas Asher.
Lucie arrives at the hotel, but is told to meet Rebecca at the Lincoln memorial. The Virginia vintner knows Rebecca wants something from her, but cannot fathom what that could be. Rebecca stuns Lucie further when all she asks is for her friend to come to the showing of Asher donating his document collection to the Library of Congress. Lucie agrees to attend and Rebecca buys postcards before saying bye. Soon after their meeting, Rebecca vanishes with a valuables antique stolen during the ransacking of the White House in the War of 1812. Meanwhile whistle blower Ian Phillips, who insisted Asher’s investments are a Ponzi scheme fraud, is found dead. Lucie believes Reecca’s disappearance is tied to the murder. Assuming that Rebecca is dead too, Lucie tries to decipher the messages her friend sent to her.
Readers will toast Ellen Crosby with her delightfully tasty wine country mystery (see The Riesling Retribution) that combines headlines with the DC historical. In spite of knowing that Phillips and probably Natale were murdered, intrepid Lucie investigates seeking to uncover clues her best friend at school left buried for her. The Viognier Vendetta is the valiant vintner at her best.