Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong main trio of characters; fun infused mystery
Cons: No cons RSVP’d for this book
The Bottom Line:
Wine country, murder
In this fast moving delight
Sure to entertain
Kelsey Finds Herself Wrapped Up in a Vine of Trouble
One of my favorite books from last year was Marla Cooper’s debut mystery, so naturally, I was anxious to return to the world of destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. I’m pleased to announce that Dying on the Vine is another delightful book.
While Kelsey specializes in weddings at far flung locations, she knows that not everyone can afford them, so she also does some weddings closer to home, in the wine country of Napa, California. Still, she’s not planning to pick up any clients when she heads to the Wine Country Wedding Faire since she’s there to help friend and go to photographer Brody Marx at his booth. Still, she winds up taking on a couple who need help with their wedding since they’ve had to switch wedding coordinators just a few weeks before their big day.
Their former wedding coordinator was Babs Norton. While Babs is professional about her clients switching to Kelsey, Babs’s assistant is much less so. Stefan Pierce is quick to accuse Kelsey of poaching clients. However, the last thing that Kelsey expects when she arrives at Babs’s office to pick up the couple’s file is a dead body on the office floor. With the police looking at her as a suspect, Kelsey figures it is only a matter of time before the accusations start affecting her business even if she isn’t behind bars. Can she find the killer before her reputation is ruined?
While I don’t drink wine, I grew up in Sonoma County (next door to Napa County), and it is always fun to return home via the pages of a fictional book. There are so many wineries up there it is easy to picture the settings where the various scenes take place. As with the first book, I could easily get lost in the setting.
Kelsey has an assistant, Laurel, who only appeared via a few phone calls in the first book. She’s around much more in this book, and I loved getting to know her much better. Between Kelsey, Laurel, and Brody, we have an awesome threesome. These are great characters, and I loved spending time with them. We meet many suspects here, and they are as well developed as the series leads.
Naturally, this means that it isn’t easy to pick out the villain. I had fun sitting back and watching Kelsey try to distinguish clue from red herring until she landed upon the truth. Naturally, when she did arrive at the truth, it was logical based on the clues she had found. And the climax was wonderful.
I can’t leave out the humor. Kelsey, Laurel, and Brody share plenty of banter between them that had me smiling if not laughing and underscores their friendships, an aspect of the book I absolutely loved. Kelsey’s first person narration adds some great humor and infuses the mystery with a sense of fun that make the pages fly by all too quickly.
As I turned the final page of Dying on the Vine, I was sorry to be saying goodbye to Kelsey again, and I’m already ready to attend her next mystery. Be sure to crash this wedding, I mean book, for a delightful time.
NOTE: I received an eARC of this book.