A Case of Syrah, Syrah: A Wine Country Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – California
Crooked Lane Books
Release Date (December 12, 2017) – TODAY
Hardcover: 320 pages
Kindle ASIN: B0723967CW
Taylor O’Brian is a new businesswoman, founder of “Taylor’s Off The Beaten Path Wine Tours,” who lives on a small winery with her Aunt Jemma. She plans to take small groups around romantic Sonoma county to discover some of the county’s outdoor gardens. It’s all running as smooth as can be until Laura, the leader of the group of yoga instructors she’s leading, is found dead. And it’s Taylor’s corkscrew that’s found buried in Laura’s neck.
She’s not sure who to trust, and everyone around suddenly seems suspect. Only two weeks after the murder, her very own administrative assistant, Amy, marries Laura’s husband, Dan, who doesn’t seem very bereaved about being widowed, and the three yoga masters who were also out on the tour begin to seem shady. Taylor can’t afford to jump ship from her new business endeavor, but just as she begins her investigation, another dead body surfaces. This time, it’s Dan’s sister. And the killer is coming for Taylor next.
Now it’s up to Taylor to uncork this open-bottle mystery before more blood is spilled.
As soon as I saw this cover I knew I had to read this book. Yes, the wine, the vineyard, and the VW bus, but it was the cat the really caught my attention. Look at those eyes. I was happy to learn there is a canine in the story too.
Taylor O’Brian’s Aunt Jemma was having “heart problems” so she asked Taylor to come to her winery to help run the place. There are other employees and Aunt Jemma is still very hands-on with the winery so Taylor doesn’t have to spend all her time there. She has decided to put her marketing knowledge to the test by opening “Taylor’s Off The Beaten Path Wine Tours”. She doesn’t get off to a good start. As the group was wrapping up the first stop they discover one of the guests was missing. A quick search finds the woman dead with Taylor’s corkscrew plunged into her neck. Taylor believes there are plenty of other suspects including the woman’s husband but he is telling everyone she is the murderer. It is not long before another dead body is found by none other than Taylor. Taylor needs to save herself, her reputation, and her business. Hopefully, she doesn’t have to do that from behind bars.
Ms. Parra has introduced us to several characters in the first story. The all seem genuine and I hope the characters develop more fully as the series continues. Taylor really is her own worse enemy. The hot water she found herself in time and time again was because of her poor judgment. I understand the whole amateur sleuth thing but she really made some poor choices. I hope that she has learned something for the future cases. Aunt Jemma is quite a woman and while the way she brought Taylor to the winery was a little shady, she is my favorite character in the first installment. She reminds me of my own mother in many ways. We barely have scratched the surface on the other characters but am excited to get to know them better.
The plot was truly puzzling. The murderer had to be someone on the tour, didn’t it? Taylor learned more about the group every day and a variety of motives were uncovered. I didn’t put all the pieces together until the very end. Twists, turns, red herrings, this story has them all.
The setting was extraordinary, Sonoma, wine country, the vineyards and the gardens. I have always wanted to visit and this author gave me an excellent virtual trip.
This series has a lot going for it with plenty of potential. The area is full of wineries to visit no matter what direction Taylor takes her business. As the characters continue to evolve this series will have no bounds. I have enjoyed everything this author has written and I am looking forward to my next trip to Sonoma.
Find out more about Nancy J. Parra/Nancy Coco and her books on her webpage here.
Written as Nancy Coco
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.”