Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Book Review: Pairing a Deception by Nadine Nettmann (Sommelier Mysteries #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery, fun characters
Cons: A little light overall
The Bottom Line:
Festival murder
Katie sips wine and finds clues
Light, still very fun

Food, Wine, Murder

Since so many cozy mysteries have a theme to the series, it means I get an inside look into a world I might normally not go into in real life.  For example, in Pairing a Deception, I get to enjoy a food and wine festival.  I know, I know, but I don’t drink wine, so this was definitely a different experience for me.  Throw in a dead body, and you’ve got a fun mystery.

Katie Stillwell should be studying hard for her Advanced Sommelier exam, which starts in a few days, but instead she is attending a food and wine festival outside of Santa Barbara with her boyfriend, Dean.  While the two have been dating for a few months now, their jobs make spending any extended time together difficult, so both of them are looking forward to this trip.

The pair arrive and check into their hotel in time for the opening ceremonies, but as they attend the first few events, they keep finding a mysterious woman dogging the festival emcee, Hudson Wiley.  This woman has some kind of agenda.  What might it be?  Things only get more complicated when a dead body shows up.

Since this book takes Katie and Dean away from their home turf, they are the only series regulars we really see.  That isn’t a big deal since it was a joy to see them again and get to watch them interacting as a couple.  The new characters help fill in the gaps as well.

The mystery was a little light.  There’s some set up before the murder takes place, and as I expected, it starts to pay off after the body is discovered.  Once that happens, Katie finds some surprises and we get good twists before we reach the end.

Author Nadine Nettmann is a Certified Sommelier herself, and her love of wine comes through in the book.  Since I’m not a drinker, all of this information is new to me.  I did feel it slowed things down a little in the beginning, but I still enjoyed this information.  Heck, it almost made me want to go taste some wine myself to see if I could note any of the differences that Katie was talking about.  And, since each chapter comes with a wine pairing suggestion, those who do love wine could easily find a new favorite while reading the book.

 Whether you drink wine or not, Pairing a Deception is a quick read that will entertain.  Fans of the series will be delighted to visit Katie again, and anyone new to the series will want to learn more about wine from Katie.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. I haven't read this series yet, but it is on my TBR list. I love your reviews!

  2. You’ve wet my appetite. I’ll add it to my TBR pile.

  3. Oh this sounds wonderful! I love when food and cozy mysteries meet and while I'm not much of a wine drinker I like the sommelier angle.

  4. Did someone say wine? That's my kind of cozy.