When wedding planner Kelsey McKenna goes to the Wine Country Wedding Faire, the last thing she expects to do is take on new clients. After all, she’s just there to help out her friend Brody and maybe score some free cupcakes. But when a young couple in a pinch asks for her help, she just can’t say no.
There’s only one problem: they’d been working with Babs Norton, the self-proclaimed Queen of Wine Country Weddings—and things did not end well. Kelsey wants to make sure there are no hard feelings, but unfortunately she never gets the chance. When she goes to Babs’ office, she finds the wedding planner dead on the floor.
Babs’ high-strung assistant Stefan knows exactly who killed Babs: Kelsey. At least, that’s what he very publicly accuses her of at Babs’ funeral. When Kelsey decides to do a little sleuthing to clear her name, she uncovers a myriad of secrets and lies. And when a second wedding planner is attacked, Kelsey begins to wonder if she might be next.
Set against the stunning backdrop of California wine country, Marla Cooper’s Dying on the Vine is a mystery brimming with gossip, wine, and, of course…murder.
We find wedding planner Kelsey McKenna helping out her photographer friend Brody at the Wine Country Wedding Faire. She is surprised when a young couple approaches her about helping them with their wedding. It seems the father of the bride fired their wedding planner and their wedding is only a couple of weeks away. She has stepped in before for a one day commitment before and has room in her schedule so she quickly accepts. Then she learns the couple’s previous planner was none other than Babs Norton, the Queen of Wine Country Weddings. Kelsey calls Babs and is amazed when Babs asks her to just stop by her office and pick up their file. But she is thunderstruck when she arrives to find Babs dead. Things get worse for Kelsey when Babs’ assistant points his finger at her as the killer. She needs to clear her name fast. She is worried she may be the killer’s next victim.
The setting for this book sounds absolutely outstanding. In the California wine country many vineyards have places to host events like weddings. The new couple Kelsey is working with has booked one of the most popular and posh of them. They even have special caves that can be booked for smaller gatherings. Kelsey is also working with the the owner of a more rustic site to start hosting events.
While the core characters of Kelsey, Brody, Laurel return from book one,
The author gives us plenty of suspects to ponder. Brody even brings Kelsey a big dry erase board to create her “murder board” to keep everyone straight. She chases down several false leads and has many theories but when all the clues fall into place and she realizes the truth it makes perfect sense.
I loved the ending of the story but I didn’t want this story to end. These have become some of my favorite cozy literary characters. I am excited to see where the next wedding takes them.
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About The Author
As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.
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Praise for Dying on the Vine
by Marla Cooper
Characters are great and glad to see them again in book 2.
~Babs Book Bistro
I really enjoyed the story and thought the author did an amazing job of developing her characters.
I think she blew the cozy world away with this series.
The mystery is well plotted and quite complex; there’s no way I could have figured out the murderer’s identity.
~The Power of Words
This was a fun read over spring break – enough action, quick pace, yet light and easy to follow.
~Christa Reads and Writes
…all the elements were blended together with a hand worthy of the tastiest Napa vintage. So add this one to your wine cellar – and your bookshelf.
This is a quick easy read, and the wine country setting was great fun to read about.
I read book one and liked it very much. I have to say book 2 is even better then book 1…
You won’t want to stop reading once you start. Add this one to your reading list, you will love it.
~Shelley’s Book Case
This is a refreshing read, to disconnect and enjoy a good time while the wedding of your dreams is prepared and guessing who could be the killer.
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March 28 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”