Monday, March 16, 2009

The Chardonnay Charade by Ellen Crosby

I enjoyed Ellen Crosby's first book The Merlot Murders. When I found the second book in paperback I picked it up. It is another quick read. It has a lot of interesting information about the Virginia wine industry. But there's really not too much else to say about it.

The story continues the story of Lucie Montgomery, the heiress to the family vineyard in Northern Virginia. In this story, Lucie and her vintner unwittingly assist in the murder of a political candidate through their poor planning which leaves dangerous chemicals out in the open. Solving the murder is the obvious focus of the book but there are a number of subplots that build on the previous story.

Like many cozy mysteries there is romantic tension. In this book it involves Lucie, her vintner, the daughter of one of the workman, and a terribly rich British playboy. Unfortunately, while the murder is solved, the rest of the story remains unresolved. Crosby uses the personal relationships to lead the reader into picking up the next book.

If you have a passion for wine and you want to learn more about how it's made, Crosby has done her homework. There are a number of details and great historical wine quotes to keep you reading. But the plot is not particularly deep. The murderer is too easy to figure out. At this point, I won't go out of my way to pick up any more of Crosby's books. Were they handed to me, I would read them without thinking too hard.

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