Of Merlot and Murder by Joni Folger

  • ISBN 9780738740768
  • Price 14.99
  • Publish Date Sept 8 2014

Book two in the A Tangled Vines Mystery series.  I love a quirky mystery and based on the prior book, Grapes of Death (review:https://gourmondegirl.wordpress.com/2013/04/), this was just the read I thought I needed. Once again the cover is filled with wonderful hues of varying colors and eludes to a fun festival atmosphere, yet danger lurks as noted in the spilled wine, shattered glass and a stabbed wedge of cheese! Of course, living in this books chosen area, I think the mountain like hills in the background are a bit much since the area in question is mainly flat.

Of Merlot and Murder continues virtually seamlessly from the first book with our leading character Elise Beckett, a soda guzzling snoop (no mention of Diet Coke anymore), who although was likable, seemed a bit flighty in Grapes of Death, has matured. Elise’s long time friend and now boyfriend, Sheriff Deputy Jackson Landry has remained the same likable man and the Becket Family members have evolved into not just the likable family, but a lovable family I’d like to be adopted into.

As for the cast of characters, they are well written and defined–you’ll either love them or hate them. I found mostly I loved them.  Very quickly I realized how much deeper Folger expanded upon the family and the family business. It was akin to being a fly on the wall, watching the family dynamics with the matriarch still in charge and highly respected, family spats between siblings, and even one heart-dropping scene that I almost wept for Deputy Jackson.

Folger’s writing has expanded by leaps and bounds in this book. Instead of a smattering of likable characters moving through a story, the characters have come alive on the pages. Even the ‘who’ of who done it is deeply entrenched in the story line. Although there are hints as to who the murder may be, Folger seems to have taken to pointing the finger to several of her extra characters,whom I called “Red Shirts” (Star Trek fans will understand), gently leading your mind in various directions and thought processes as though you were Elise sniffing out the murderer making this book a good book for your fall reading list.



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