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Hardcover The Merlot Murders Book

ISBN: 0743289900

ISBN13: 9780743289900

The Merlot Murders

(Book #1 in the Wine Country Mysteries Series)

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

"Finely ladled suspense," says the Sun-Sentinel about the complex flavor of Ellen Crosby's debut mystery set in the wealthy Blue Ridge wine country of northern Virginia, where vineyard heiress Lucie... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

First offering from a new series

As this first novel in a new series opens we are introduced to Lucie Montgomery, a 26 year old woman whose life of privilege as a member of a well to do Virginia family came to an end with a tragic car accident that left her permanently disabled. She had fled to her late mother's family home in the south of France to recuperate for a couple of months and ended up staying for two years. Her father's sudden death brought her back to the family home, a vineyard near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Once she arrived she was met with one shock after another, her brother had turned from a comfortable but charming slob into a status conscious snob married to a brainless bimbo that Lucie detested, and who Lucie found, was soon to make her an aunt. The next nasty surprise came when Lucie saw that her father had neglected the family home and business, that they were in desperate financial straights and that her brother and sister had already made plans to sell everything, whether Lucie agreed or not. One of the final surprises came when Lucie's godfather told her that her father's death had been no accident. This series has all the ear marks of a charming cozy, the large cast of supporting characters, an interesting setting, an engaging main character with a few special qualities or quirks. What sets this apart from the usual cozy is that the humor here is rather dry and subtle, usually coming from Lucie's own wry observations of the people and situations around her. This series is much more a 'straight' mystery rather than the seriocomic that is more usual for the genre. The mystery is sufficiently complex enough to keep the reader guessing at least over some of the details. Crosby has left plenty of loose ends to establish an ongoing story arc for subsequent books. The biggest flaw with this one is that the author spends so much time establishing backstories and on going conflict that the mysteries are often sidelined for prolonged periods but that is often a problem with first books in a planned series. Anyone who enjoys series mysteries, particularly those with romantic overtones will want to read this and the subsequent novels in the series.

Merlot Murders

This is a great book especially if you live in or around VA. The characters are really interesting and you learn a lot about wine making. The book is the first in a series of four books and the second one is even better (The Chardonnay Charade). Recommended to anyone who likes murder mysteries.

Wonderful combination of history, winemaking & murder

Crosby has topped her first novel, Moscow Nights, by exchanging the bleak Soviet landscape for the luscious hills of Virginia. Other reviewers have reiterated the plot, so I'll confine my comments to the feel and breadth of the book. When I pick up a contemporary murder mystery (not so often these days) I don't expect to be wowed by the historical and technical detail in it. Somehow the author works Virginia, Civil War and wine making history into the story without interfering in the unfolding events of multiple murder. By the end of the book, I felt I needed to know how wine is processed and aged in order to fully grasp what was happening. I found myself rereading the descriptions of the barrel room and surroundings instead of skimming over them. I agree with the reviewer who thought Lucie was the only likeable character in the book. The first person narrative had us inside her skin and her paranoid, askewed perceptions. The old adage, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you," certainly applies to Lucie's predicament. Crosby expertly evokes Lucie's combined anger and grief over her injury, heart break and familys deaths. Somehow the character reaches into herself to get the strength to hold onto what was dear to her mother, the person most beloved by her. The oppressive heat and humidity only compound the heavy atmosphere of the book. The many (quirky)characters suggest a real community and also offer a cast for future stories. It will be interesting to see if and how Crosby develops Lucie's personality and allows her wounds to heal.

Great First in a series

I like this book because it taught you about wine and it had a wonderful protagonist. It is not the typical cozy - not too cutsy - with a great setting. I'm looking forward to her next.

fabulous first Wine Country Mystery

Two years ago, Lucie Montgomery had her foot maimed in a car accident. She fled from her Virginia home to spend time in France recovering. Forced to use a cane to help her walk and still overseas she has shown no indication to return to her family's winery. Her time in Europe ends when her brother Eli informs Lucie that their father Leland was killed in a hunting accident. She comes home to the Montgomery Estate Vineyard for her dad's funeral, but is stunned as the once proud five hundred acres has been neglected since she left. Lucie soon learns why as Leland let the winery go to ruin while he invested in questionable schemes that wiped out the family fortune. Eli and their sister Mia want to sell the winery as they prefer the money to continue with their upper class lifestyle. As stunning as her siblings wanting to sell their heritage, Lucie is further shocked when Mia flaunts her affair with Greg, her sister's former lover and the person responsible for her mutilated foot. Meanwhile Lucie's godfather Fitz Pico warns her that Leland was murdered and anyone else opposed to the sale will probably die too; he leaves her with a key to a box that may hold a fabulous diamond necklace. The next day Fitz is found dead. Lucie believes the killer struck again and plans to uncover the culprit before she joins the murderer's row. MERLOT MURDERS is a fabulous first Wine Country Mystery that uses a wonderful backdrop to the amateur sleuth investigation. Lucie is a delightful protagonist struggling with her father's death as much as his allowing their estate to become dilapidated. Her siblings make matters worse with their avarice. Fans will enjoy toasting newcomer Ellen Crosby to the sub-genre and think twice while sipping a glass of Merlot. Harriet Klausner
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