On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Clarets of Fire (Rose Avenue Wine Club Mystery)
4th in Series
Setting – California
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback : 272 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496724828
ISBN-13 : 978-1496724823
Kindle ASIN : B07MDQ4Y6Y
Wine connoisseur Annie “Halsey” Hall must turn up the heat on a felonious firebug . . .
Halsey and the ladies of the Rose Avenue Wine Club are celebrating with newlyweds Penelope and Malcolm, who are thrilled to be opening their new winery. They’re also partnering with a cherished neighborhood eatery, Rico’s Pizza, which will be serving young clarets from their fall harvest. But as Halsey attempts to savor the bouquet of her Tooth & Nail Cab, a different scent intrudes—smoke. The nearby pizza parlor is going up in flames. As they rush to the scene, Halsey’s rescue dog Bardot pulls a body from the burning building—the pizza delivery driver—but it’s too late.
When investigators determine a rag soaked with gasoline in a bottle from the winery started the blaze, police suspect both the pizza parlor owners and Penelope and Malcolm of arson and murder. With her friends’ business and freedom at stake, it’s up to Halsey to smoke out the real arsonist—before somebody else gets scorched . . .
The Rose Avenue Wine Club loves celebrations, especially one for a new winery being opened by newlyweds Malcolm and Penelope. But the ladies had to set their glasses down when instead of the scent of a fine wine they smell smoke. As they hurry to find the source they see their friends, Rico and Isabella’s pizza parlor along with the mall it is attached to ablaze. Before Halsey can even survey the situation, her dog Bardot’s training kicks in and she flies into the back door of the restaurant. Halsey has no choice but to follow and together they pull a body out, but were too late to save the delivery driver.
The fire department’s investigation shows a Molotov cocktail started the fire and it was set up in a wine bottle, a claret from Penelope and Malcom’s Abigail Rose Winery. So they along with Rico and Isabella are the fire chief’s prime suspects. The ladies of the Rose Avenue Wine Club will be pouring a lot of wine as they do their best to decant the arsonist before anything else goes up in smoke.
Sadly, this is the final book in this series. I am disappointed because the women of the Rose Avenue Wine Club ( Halsey, Marisol, Sally, Peggy, and Aimee) are so much fun. They are always up to something and that something is usually accompanied by a bottle of red and a bottle of white. They also can be hilarious. Marisol, Rose Avenue’s Mrs. Kravitz banters with Halsey, calls Bardot “Bardie”, which drives Halsey nuts, never sleeps because she is always spying on her neighbors, and magically appears anytime Halsey is going anywhere and invites herself along. Halsey finds herself in some funny situations on her own too and usually with her yellow lab Bardot by her side. With the fire inspector in charge, the arson it is out of Augie’s jurisdiction. I did find it a little surprising that the chiefs did know each other but with the wine clubbers sniffing around they got to know each other pretty well.
The mystery was a puzzler and while Halsey found a piece of “evidence”, she couldn’t pin down precisely what it was. It took everyone gathering together to help Penelope and Malcolm with their harvest for all to be revealed. Ms. Blum plotted this mystery out so well that I was completely surprised as the scenes played out before my eyes.
The author also knows how to set a scene. From Peggy’s backyard party serving a Tooth & Nail cabernet to the fire scene at the mall to Malcolm and Penelope’s Abigail Rose Winery, her words created vivid images.
Clarets of Fire wrapped up the current mystery nicely but there was an important wedding happening in the near future. I assume had there been a fifth book in the series readers would have had a front-row seat. Now we have to imagine what kind of chaos would have ensued because you know with the ladies of the Rose Avenue Wine Club involved there would be some drama before the knot was tied.
Thank you, Ms. Blum. I enjoyed every book in this series. I will toast you with a glass of a fruity claret or maybe two.
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