MURDER MOST FERMENTED
By Christine E. Blum
For readers who were lucky enough to sit down with the Ladies of the Rose Avenue Wine Club in Blum’s first mystery, “Full Bodied Murder,” they are going to welcome these fun, intelligent women back into their lives with glee.
This time around, Annie “Halsey” Hall is once again the lady readers will be focused on. Originally hailing from the Big Apple, she became the newest member of the Rose Avenue Wine Club when she left behind a horrible marriage in NYC and decided to become a Southern California vineyard owner.
The first time around Halsey ended up with a dead neighbor. This time out, still dwelling with her beloved yellow Lab by the name of Bardot, Halsey is excited to begin digging her own vineyard off the incredible Rose Avenue. But, much like before, her situation goes haywire when instead of grapes she stumbles over yet another dead body.
It’s starting to look a little bit like perhaps someone in this notorious group of women, with all their eccentricities and talents, may just have a taste for murder. But…who can you trust anymore, right?
Aimee, Sally, Penelope…the list goes on when it comes to Blum’s fantastic characters and all their quirks. And the list of suspects for the crime are also a whole lot of fun to read. In addition, you will still love Bardot. Right out of the gate, so to speak, we get to see exactly how much this Lab has grown and how quickly she can now pull a wagon up a hill after hearing only the word, “Squirrel!” Add to that a guide of what the Rose Avenue Wine Club Drank and a Rose Avenue Guide to Wine Pairing, telling readers the foods that go best with certain types of wine, and you have a “second” in a series that is just as tasty as the first.
We are back on Rose Avenue with Halsey and Bardot. Halsey has been gifted a spot in the community garden and hopes to plant some grapes for her own mini vineyard. But as Bardot starts “helping” her turn over the soil he makes a shocking discovery. A body has been buried in her garden and it turns the neighborhood upside down. Halsey doesn’t waste any time getting involved in the investigation and the members of the Rose Avenue Wine Club are tipping their glasses and putting themselves in danger to help.
These ladies take their wine very seriously and when trying to catch a killer they meet more often and that means more wine for everyone. Every time one of them opened another bottle I chuckled just a bit. They do uncover clues and do get themselves in some dicey situations. Halsey even takes on the police after being arrested for trespassing. She wants answers and she wants them now.
I do like Halsey, she is not afraid to get her hands dirty to solve a crime, and she is not timid in her dealings with anyone. Her relationship with dog whisperer/trainer Jack is progressing but he hates that she is putting herself in danger. Bardot is quite a dog. He is a quick learner and just the type of dog Halsey needs especially when the chips are down.
Ms. Blum gives great descriptions of everything, the place, the people, the food and the WINE!
The characters are quirky, some more than others. Some strong friendships are made while a certain neighbor is mostly just tolerated for good reason. They are genuine and the dialogues between them ring true. And like I said, they love their wine.
The mystery was a tangled web but I had my killer chosen before Halsey and the ladies. It was a lot of fun reading on to be sure I was right. After all the years I have been reading cozies I still get excited when I catch on before the protagonist.
Wine lovers or book clubs that serve wine, this is a book for you, but all cozy lovers will enjoy and like me find it very entertaining. I like learning about the different wines too. If the book only came with free samples
I am excited about the continuation of this series.
I can’t wait to visit these characters again. The Name of the Rosé will be released November 27.