Ripe for Murder by Carlene O’Neil is the second book in the “Cypress Cove” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, March 2016
From the author of One Foot in the Grape—a new full-bodied Cypress Cove mystery that is certain to delight, even if one wine lover is about to expire. . .
Penny Lively loves running her family’s winery, but to keep business growing, she needs to find a way to attract more guests. When she’s approached to invest in a new train line through wine country, Penny and her intoxicating winery manager, Connor, hightail it to a lavish resort to hear the details. Unfortunately, her neighbor’s daughter, Chantal, is also there, swirling up trouble by flirting with the married investors—and with Connor too.
When one of the investors’ wives is murdered, Chantal, who was seen fighting with the woman, is the prime suspect. Chantal may be a sour grape, but she’s no killer. So Penny, who’s become a sleuthing connoisseur, starts sniffing out the real suspect—and discovers that her fellow potential investors have been savoring more than their share of deadly secrets. . .
This was very enjoyable and the author’s voice was full and hearty as I envisioned myself along for the ride in this fast-paced and action-packed drama. The set-up was a perfect backdrop to the telling of this tale where Penny has to prove that her nemesis did not commit the murder, and I enjoyed watching her do it, just by being herself. Everyone had a role in this murder mystery with suspects here and there, all vying to be discounted and it was fun watching it come together with some surprising twists and turns that singularly pointed to the killer. Penny is a likable protagonist and I like her gumption. Antonia and Connor are wonderful supporting characters to Penny and I hope to see more of their closeness as the story moves forward. This was a good book that pulled me in and when it was over and done, I wish for more to keep me entertained.