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Divide and Concord
by J.C. Eaton
Norrie Ellington is a screenwriter who finds herself in charge of the family winery in the absence of her sister. Norrie’s producer decides that Norrie’s Two Witches Winery in New York is the perfect site for the filming of a small part of her current project. It will be for just a “few” days and “only” involves two crowd attracting stars, a camera crew, a diva director and her perfectionist assistant. Unfortunately this filming is scheduled to take place during the Seneca Lake Wine Trail’s Wine and Cheese Festival and occurs in the middle of a massive spring snow storm. Norrie has had run-ins before with the local sheriff, thought of by her as Grizzly Gary, so she is not happy to be the first on the scene of what could only be a murder. Norrie has a lot of balls to keep in the air while she tries to discover the identity of a murderer who seems intent on framing Norrie for the crime.
As usual with a J.C. Eaton book, in Divide and Concord I felt like I was in the middle of the dilemma and had to look outside a few times to make sure it wasn’t snowing. This writing duo is that good. Meanwhile, despite the seriousness of the subject, there are humorous moments and the plot moves quickly with the spotlight on various characters who might have wanted to kill the director. Actually, the woman was so unpleasant it was hard to find anyone who didn’t have a motive. Norrie and willing friends work together to trap the criminal in an Agatha Christie type of setup with a surprise ending.
I would like to extend my thanks to NetGalley and to Beyond the Page Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: 1. #5 in the Wine Trail Mysteries, but is excellent as a standalone.
2. The name Two Witches Winery should not put off those who do not like to read works that include the occult. The name is purported to have historical significance. There are two minor characters with mystical practices but our heroine rolls her eyes at them and manages to use them in the setup to discover the murderer.
Publication: April 30, 2020—Beyond the Page Publishing
“It’s not an impending disaster,” I replied. “An inconvenience perhaps. Or maybe even a nuisance, but it’s not going to be a disaster.” Who the heck am I kidding?
Then, the unspeakable happened. Debora Dabrowski made her entrance into the Two Witches tasting room like Cruella de Vil. The only thing missing was a cigarette holder. She was tall with an angular face and layered black hair with one white streak that framed the left side of her face. Her tortoiseshell wingtip glasses, complete with jeweled rims, completed the look.
Priscilla’s kind of high strung and one Kleenex away from a full-blown sobfest.
Pairing a Deception
by Nadine Nettmann
Have you ever met a wine snob? You know, the person who likes to show off their knowledge of wines? Well, I am the exact opposite. If you ask me what my favorite wine is, I would be likely to reply with (cringe)…a color choice or a description of a cute label. Not bad considering I came to the game rather late in life.
Enter Nadine Nettman with her latest cozy mystery Pairing a Deception. Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier from California has all the knowledge needed to create an interesting mystery based on the amazing varieties of wines available at a food and wine festival.
The main character, Katie, is studying for her three day Advanced Sommelier exam, but decides to squeeze in a festival in Santa Barbara with her selfless boyfriend, Detective Dean. While there, Katie gets to practice blind wine tasting skills, share her enthusiasm for wines as an emergency substitute speaker, and investigate a murder. Katie has a background of karate as a child and attended the Police Academy. Skills learned in both venues come in handy when she discovers the murderer.
I thought I might be overwhelmed or bored with all the wine talk, but it seemed natural considering the setting. I learned a lot about wine, especially wine tastings, liked the main characters, and found the plot interesting. The ending was a surprise, but believable.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Midnight Ink for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Category: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery
Notes: #3 in the Sommelier Mystery Series, but worked well for me as a standalone
Publication: May 8, 2018—Midnight Ink
The opportunity to taste the exact same grape grown in different areas, therefore each creating a unique wine, was one of the key elements I loved about wine and food festivals.
“We’d like to order wine. Which ones do you have?” “Oh, we have all the colors,” the waiter remarked. I paused, not sure how to respond.
I like helping people learn about wine and choosing the right one for their meal as I share the story of each bottle.