Murder Uncorked is available today!
Murder Uncorked (A Cece Barton Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – California
Kensington Cozies (October 24, 2023)
Hardcover : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496742303
ISBN-13 : 978-1496742308
Kindle ASIN : B0BT8MRB58
Raise a glass to Cece Barton, a widowed single mom and recent L.A. transplant to California wine country, who suddenly finds herself at the center of a murder investigation in this sparkling new mystery series from Agatha Award–winning and national bestselling author Maddie Day.
As the manager of Vino y Vida Wine Bar in Colinas, Cecelia “Cece” Barton’s first Alexander Valley harvest is a whirlwind of activity. Her twin sister, Allie Halstead, who owns a nearby Victorian bed & breakfast, is accustomed to the hustle and bustle of peak tourist season. But Cece barely has a moment to enjoy her new home in between worrying about her estranged college-age daughter, juggling her responsibilities at the bar, and navigating the sticky politics of the local wine association. Just when it seems things can’t grow any more intense, Colinas is rocked by a murder within the wine community . . . and Cece is identified as a possible suspect!
With her reputation and her livelihood on the line—and the Sonoma County deputy sheriff breathing down her neck—Cece has no choice but to open up her own murder investigation. Tensions are already high in the valley, as a massive wildfire creeps toward Colinas, threatening homes, vineyards, and the vital tourist trade. And now, with a murderer on the loose, and Cece’s sleuthing exposing the valley’s bitterest old rivalries and secret new alliances, Colinas feels ready to pop! But with Allie’s help, Cece is determined to catch the killer and clear her name before everything she’s worked so hard for goes up in flames . . .
Cece Barton was originally introduced in a novella as part of Christmas Mitten Murder.
Cece Barton is a widowed single mom. With her daughter away at college and their relationship struggling Cece has moved north to Colinas where her twin sister Allie Halstead owns a Bed and Breakfast. She is now the manager of Vino y Vida Wine Bar and is learning the politics regarding the local wine association. She is also experiencing her first Alexander Valley harvest and all it entails. The tourists are now flocking to the area too and a wildfire is getting closer and closer to Colinas.
When Vincent Sardo who works for the VVA, a regional group of vineyard owners, is murdered Cece finds herself at the top of the list of suspects because of a few terse emails and phone calls. New to the area Cece is going to need her sister’s help to clear her name and catch the killer before she is forced to take up residence behind bars where they don’t serve any wine.
We enter Cece Barton’s life at an interesting time. She is trying to move on after her husband’s death while her daughter is still dealing with her own grief and is not ready for her mother to make changes. Their relationship is a struggle. Cece is very close to her sister and is happy to have her nearby. She starts out a little less confident being new in town and being a murder suspect doesn’t help but she gets stronger as the story continues. I enjoy the relationship she has with her sister and the relationship that is growing with her elderly neighbor, Richard. The relationship with her daughter is conflicted but is a work in progress. Ms. Day always creates characters that feel very true to life and leaves room for them to grow as the series continues. That again, is the case here in the first book of the Cece Barton Mysteries. I am invested and want to get to know them all better.
The victim in this story had made plenty of enemies and was just very unlikable so I had no problem with his death. The author plotted out this mystery so well with some admirable twists. One clue stuck in my head though that helped others fall into place faster for me than they did for Cece. That didn’t take away from my excitement of the reveal and the showdown. The only thing that I wish Cece would have done differently would have been to trust the police more and report crucial events and pertinent information.
I do love the wine bar theme and the town of Colinas and all its happenings. The author always does an excellent job of setting the scene making it easy to visualize everything.
Murder Uncorked has set this series off to a grand start. While the murder mystery is wrapped up Cece’s life in Colinas is just getting started. I am excited to see what Ms. Day has planned for her next.
About the Author
Maddie Day is a talented amateur chef and holds a PhD in linguistics from Indiana University. An Agatha Award-winning author, she is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She lives with her beau and an energetic kitten north of Boston
As Edith Maxwell, she writes the CeCe Barton Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries (Kensington Publishing) and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries (Midnight Ink), and also writes award-winning short crime fiction.
You can find all Maddie’s/Edith’s identities at www.edithmaxwell.com. She blogs every weekday with the other Wicked Cozy Authors at wickedcozyauthors.com. Look for her as Edith M. Maxwell and Maddie Day on Facebook and @edithmaxwell and @maddiedayauthor on Twitter.
Book 6 – Murder at the Rusty Anchor will be released June 25, 2024
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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.”