Charming Books is handling a book signing at Morton Vineyards with a famous wine reviewer and author. A murder happens and Violet stumbles upon the body. Mrs. Morton, of course, blames Violet for the bad publicity at the winery. So Vi does as she always does. She investigates especially when one of the suspects is her best friend, Lacey.
This book was really good. The story was realistic. I had a hard time putting it down. Things happen in the bookstore when David is there and Violet needs to decide to trust him or not. She also learns much about Nathan that she can use to help her close her past. I did not figure out who the murderer was until the murderer comes out at the end of the book. This is the best book of the series so far. I cannot wait to read the next book and I hope more are coming.
I picked this up at a used book shop during our aborted Christmas travels; having spent time in the Lake District, specifically, the towns of Windermere, Bowness, and Ableside that this story is set in, it appealed to me instantly.
Alas, it was no more than a drab average. The characters didn't know what they wanted to be: the MC tells an inspector at the beginning she's moved to Windermere after her divorce, that she was childless and insisted that there were "compensations". By the end of the book she's barely coping with the stillborn birth she had 2 years before. Coping and repression are likely, of course, but they aren't part of of the narrative, so the reader is left with no grasp of this MC. The Inspector is either attractive and friendly or greasy-haired and antagonistic. The MC's mother is supposed to be a hippy, but acts more like a criminal attorney; I never once got the impression she liked her daughter. The bride of the story is either flaky, naive and needs to be protected, or a headstrong woman who is the only one that can steer her much older husband's life. Flip-flop.
The elements of the plot were interesting, but the plot itself wasn't anything special. The motivation was pathetic and unbelievable, given the characters, and the murderer pretty obvious after about half-way.
The setting was what I'd hoped for, at least. My memories of the Lake District are still vivid, and I loved the area, so 're-visiting' it through the book kept me picking it back up. This is the first in a series all set here, and while weak, not so bad that should I come across another one at a used book shop, I'd probably pick it up.
Another solid entry in what's been a very dependable, well-written series. The mystery itself was a little predictable, but I can't be certain the author didn't intend that, as the clues weren't subtle; a story about PIs wouldn't really work with subtle and still be fair to the readers.
There's some character development in this one, as well as references to a previous plot that make this less than ideal as a standalone, and it's wroth the time to start at the beginning with book 1.