Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Book Review: Ripe for Murder by Carlene O'Neil (Cypress Cove Mysteries #2)



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and a fantastic mystery
Cons: I won’t be whining about this wine mystery
The Bottom Line:
Wine train and murder
Combine for wonderful book
Sip as pages turn




Completely Delightful Sequel

While I don’t drink, I grew up in the heart of California’s wine country, so the idea of a mystery set at a winery has appealed to me.  I’ve found a great winery series with the Cyprus Cove mysteries.  While I enjoyed the first one, I found Ripe for Murder, the second in the series, to be even stronger.

This book finds winery owner Penny Lively traveling from her central coast town of Cyprus Cove up to Napa County.  No, she’s not going to check out the competition.  She and Antonia, the owner of the neighboring winery, have been approached about contributing part of their land for a wine train and they are heading to the town of St. Katrina to study how the similar one there runs and what it has done for the local wineries.  Penny is thrilled that her winery manager, Connor, is coming along, but she’s significantly less thrilled that Antonia’s daughter and winery manager, Chantal, is also coming along because of their long and rocky past.

The group quickly settles into their hotel and gets to know the others who are there to check out the wine train.  Most of the others are potential cash investors from all over the country, and they seem like a nice bunch.  The exception is Tara, a trophy wife who is spoiled and mean, but especially mean when she is drunk.  The weekend takes a deadly turn when Tara is murdered, and Chantal is the only logical suspect.  While Penny may not like Chantal, she knows that Chantal is not a killer despite what the police think.  Can Penny find the real killer?

I was a bit surprised when I figured out that we were leaving behind Cyprus Cove for the second book in the series, but I quickly got over that.  It means that a couple of the characters we met in the first book were only mentioned it passing.  The four returning characters are absolutely wonderful, and I enjoyed the character growth we got to see in them.  I’ve got to say, I especially enjoy Antonia.  She is a great sidekick and such a fun character overall.

I was a bit worried when we were introduced to the majority of the new characters in just a couple of scenes, but I actually never had a hard time keeping them straight.  Their personalities and relationships are strong enough that they make a wonderful cast of suspects.

Characters and motives are set up very well without the pace at the beginning lagging, and when the murder takes place, we are off and running.  The mystery contains a bit of a locked room element with a twist, and I really enjoyed seeing how that would play out.  There is always something happening to advance the story, and I was happily turning pages until the end.  That ending is perfectly logical, but I must confess I missed the clues.  This is one of the best plots I’ve read in a while.

Obviously, any setting can be great with the right author spinning the tales, and that’s what we have with Ripe for Murder.  Pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine, sit back, and enjoy this wonderful book.

NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, March 8th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 3/8.  You will have until midnight on 3/13 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 3/14.

16 comments:

  1. I'm not a big drinker either but I do like the idea of a mystery set in California wine country! It sounds like a great setting and the characters sound really interesting as well. I'm glad this one was good despite leaving the original setting. It's always good when an author can dump a bunch of new characters into the book but make them distinct enough that it's easy to keep them straight. I'm looking forward to trying this series. katherine.e.pitts(at)gmail(dot)com

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  2. Love that it is set in the wine country. I am not a drinker at all but that area up there is just beautiful used to live near there for 48 years now live in eastern Iowa and miss it dearly. There was nothing more relaxing then taking a ride up there then go over to the coast and go on hwy 1! Would love to read this as heard so much about the wine trains etc..ptclayton2@aol.com

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  3. This sounds like a great series. Thanks for a chance to win a copy. elainehroberson@gmail.com

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  4. I loved the first book and can't wait to read this one. This was a great review. Thanks for the chance to win. doward1952@yahoo.com

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  5. Excited to hear this sounds even better than the first! Thanks for the chance to win!
    JHolden955(at)gmail(dot)com

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  6. I love Napa and would like to win a copy of this book!
    rebarger(at)bellsouth(dot)net

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  7. I don't drink either. I have the first book in the series (won on Good Reads) but haven't read it yet. It looks like an enjoyable read. I like that there are animals in the book.
    catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  8. This sounds like a great book. Although I haven't yet read the first book in the series it sounds like one I would enjoy. I would love to win a copy to get started with this series.

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  9. Like that this book is set in California wine country. I have been there and it is a really beautiful place. Would really enjoy reading this book. Great giveaway, thanks.
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. This sounds like a great series. Thanks for the review, and thanks for the opportunity to win a copy.
    frybbe @ gmail.com

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  11. This is a new series to me but sounds great. Thanks for chance Mark. lhxp73@yahoo.com

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  12. This is a new series to me but sounds great. Thanks for chance Mark. lhxp73@yahoo.com

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  13. Haven't read this series yet! Thanks for reviewing and chance to win a copy!

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  14. Wine Country is a GREAT setting!
    Cheers :)
    Kelly Braun
    Gaelicark@gmail.com

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  15. Wine Country is a GREAT setting!
    Cheers :)
    Kelly Braun
    Gaelicark@gmail.com

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  16. I an a huge wine fan and a huge mystery fan so this book sounds perfect to me.
    wendyklik1517@gmail.com

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