Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters in a strong mystery; wine tie in well used
The Bottom Line:
An expensive fake
Starts this fun wine mystery
Sit back and savor
Is That Wine Really Valuable?
I grew up in Sonoma County, California, a wine region that has been eclipsed by our neighbor, Napa County, when it comes to famed California wine. However, I was thrilled when I learned that Sonoma County would provide part of the setting for Uncorking a Lie, the second Sommelier mystery from Nadine Nettmann. Fans of the first will be thrilled to be back for the sequel.
Our main character is Katie Stillwell, who is an expert on wine. She works at a restaurant in San Francisco where she recommends wines to the customers. However, this book finds her invited to a private dinner party. Paul Rafferty, one of her regular customers who has become a friend, has purchased a rare and expensive bottle of wine, and is having some friends over to enjoy it. Katie is thrilled to be invited to join the group.
However, as soon as she tastes the wine, Katie knows that something is wrong. The wine looks and tastes too modern to be the rare bottle Paul had spent so much money to buy. When the evening ends in a disastrous death, Paul asks Katie to find out what is really going on. Will her knowledge of wine lead her to the solution?
Hold on when you pick up this book because you are in for a delightfully wild ride. It seems that everyone Katie talks to is hiding a secret of some kind, and she has to figure out who is lying and who is telling the truth. The clues, red herrings, and twists kept me gleefully turning pages as I waited to find out exactly what was going on. The climax was creative and very fun while also tying up all the loose ends.
Katie is a good main character. While she makes a couple of mistakes, they seem logical at the time. Her knowledge of wine makes her the perfect sleuth for this story since it involves clues only she would pick up on – yet she always explains them to us. Even this complete wine novice understood exactly what was going on. A couple of the characters from the first in the series only got cameos here, but some other got interesting character development, and I’m looking forward to seeing where those relationships go. And the new cast was wonderful, making us care about the outcome.
As I just mentioned, I’m not a wine guy despite growing up in the heart of California wine country. However, that didn’t keep me from enjoying this book at all, and I learned something along the way. So if you are like me, don’t let that stop you from picking this book up. If you do like wine, you’ll really love this book, and the wine pairings for each chapter will just add to the fun, although you might want to save some of these 36 recommendations for later.
Uncorking a Lie builds well on the first book of the series and delivers a complex mystery all its own. Wine lover or not, you’ll savor every page.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.