Hi, I’m Taylor. I live in Sonoma, California with my cat Clementine and my Aunt Jemma. I moved back to my home town a few months ago when my aunt had a heart attack. She asked me to come and take care of her, but in fact I think she was just lonely. She seems pretty capable of taking care of herself, unless I talk about returning to San Francisco and my old job in advertising. Suddenly she feels twinges in her chest.

She isn’t fooling anyone. She wants me to stay in Sonoma with her and help her with her vineyard and winery. The trouble is she has people who do that. So I started my own small business. Taylor O’Brian’s Off the Beaten Path Wine Tours-catchy name isn’t it? You see most people spend a day or two in Sonoma county going from one famous winery to another and they miss all the cool and quirky places to visit-like the Asian botanical gardens, which offer some of the rarest of Asian flowering shrubs and trees.

I’m excited for my first tour. I’m taking a cranky yoga marketer and her employees out to hike the Quarry gardens and spend time in the hills and valleys of Sonoma county. Things have been pretty hard for this new team and the uptight CEO – uptight and yoga seem a bit mismatched to me, but there you have it.

On the hike, Laura–the uptight leader of this group–pulls me aside and tries to convince me that I need her marketing skills for my small business. I’m a little peeved to say the least, I mean I have a degree in marketing and worked for a large firm. Meanwhile she is a yoga instructor who took a course from another yoga instructor and is claiming to teach marketing to other yoga instructors. I might have stormed off.

I wish I hadn’t and when Laura disappears and I find her at the bottom of a cliff with my wine corkscrew sticking in her carotid artery. In my defense, I didn’t even know the corkscrew was missing until I laid out the picnic I had planned for the group. (Hint, always serve food before you go wine tasting. It’s best to keep people from getting too tipsy and that means better insurance rates. Except my insurance rates just went through the roof. Not that I’m complaining, I mean a woman is dead.)

The problem is I’m suspect number one and the handsome Sheriff Hennessey thinks our argument is motive for murder.

My day ends with my next two tours cancelling on me, and my Aunt Jemma and my best friend Holly telling me to trust the judicial process. I mean, innocent people don’t go to jail, right? I find Clemmie in her box in the closet and pull her out to hug her to my chest. Things couldn’t possibly get worse, could they?


You can read more about Taylor in A Case of Syrah, Syrah, the first book in the NEW “Wine Country” mystery series.

Taylor O’Brian is a new businesswoman, founder of “Taylor’s Off The Beaten Path Wine Tours,” who lives on a small winery with her Aunt Jemma. She plans to take small groups around romantic Sonoma county to discover some of the county’s outdoor gardens. It’s all running as smooth as can be until Laura, the leader of the group of yoga instructors she’s leading, is found dead. And it’s Taylor’s corkscrew that’s found buried in Laura’s neck.

She’s not sure who to trust, and everyone around suddenly seems suspect. Only two weeks after the murder, her very own administrative assistant, Amy, marries Laura’s husband, Dan, who doesn’t seem very bereaved about being widowed, and the three yoga masters who were also out on the tour begin to seem shady. Taylor can’t afford to jump ship from her new business endeavor, but just as she begins her investigation, another dead body surfaces. This time, it’s Dan’s sister. And the killer is coming for Taylor next.

Now it’s up to Taylor to uncork this open-bottle mystery, before more blood is spilled. For fans of Laura Childs and Ellen Crosby, A Case of Syrah, Syrah is the charming first in bestselling author Nancy J. Parra’s Wine Country mysteries.

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About the author
Nancy J Parra is the author of the Perfect Proposal Series and the Baker’s Treat mystery series. She lives in Oregon with her trusty bichon-poo. You can visit her website for all of her titles at nancyjparra.com

All comments are welcomed.

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