One Foot in the GrapeOne Foot in the Grape by Carlene O’Neil is the first book in the NEW “Cypress Cove” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, May 2015

In California wine country, the town of Cypress Cove may seem peaceful. But someone’s about to pop their cork.

After losing her job as a photojournalist, Penny Lively is trying to get her life back in focus. Inheriting the family winery from her late aunt may be the fresh start she needs. Thankfully she’s got her niece Hayley and her handsome winery manager Connor to help. But the person in need of more urgent assistance is Antonia Martinelli, the owner of the neighboring winery, who has her own barrel full of problems. Someone’s spoiling her wine, and with the upcoming Autumn Festival, she needs Penny’s nose for clues to sniff out the culprit.

But Penny’s search for answers sours after the body of a staff member is found in a grape crusher. Since Hayley was the last to see him alive, she’s the prime suspect in the case. Now Penny must hurry to find the real killer before Hayley withers on the vine.

I like it. The author did a great job in presenting this story with an interesting cast of characters and engaging conversations. The tale had a nice pace that was easy to follow from scene to scene. I love the way the author grabbed onto the essence of this drama where the suspects were plenty and the drive to figure it all out had me quickly turning the pages to find out what happens next. With bits and of clues dispersed throughout the drama, my attention was captured when at first I thought I had an idea of who was the killer, and it was one smidgen of a clue that I knew who it was and I enjoyed watching it all played out as the author’s written words drew the ring around the killer. Penny is very likeable and a good team that includes Hayley, Connor, Anne, Ross, Thomas and Antonia completes her inner circle that provides a well-rounded mystery that is a welcome addition to the cozy genre. This was a good read and I can’t wait to see what happens next in Cypress Cove.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

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