This week Kaye George brings us word of a debut mystery and a new series. We also lean that Kaye has her wine with ice. Read on for the details….
Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettmann
This is the debut Sommelier Mystery, written by a Certified Sommelier, Ms. Nettmann. I learned that term on the first page, and learned lots more about the wine business from the rest of the book.
Katie Stillwell belongs to a weekly tasting group, where she is known as The Palate for her extraordinary ability to sip a wine and then pinpoint its origin. However, as the book opens, she is just learning that she failed the exam for certification. Specifically, she failed the tasting portion. Her boss at Trentino Restaurant, Bill Andrews, isn’t worried. He knows she’ll pass next time. Katie wonders if there will be a next time, though, as the story progresses.
She has a best friend, Tessa (a Merlot, sometimes smooth, sometimes with a bite), who had been in trouble a few years ago, but now has a job at Frontier Winery. The author uses her own knowledge as Katie sees, knows, and understands people through wonderful wine analogies. Mark and Vanessa are the owners of Frontier. They’re just as passionate about wine as Katie and Tessa, but something is not right there, or maybe with Garrett who owns the winery next door (and puts ice cubes in his wine), or with Jeff, Tessa’s new friend. After Mark is found dead in a huge vat of his own wine, the detective, Dean, focuses on Tessa. Katie owes Tessa a huge debt and must use every skill that she has to clear her friend.
This book is best read with a glass of your favorite at your elbow as you traipse through Napa Valley with Katie, who finds out things about her friends, and herself, that make her re-evaluate her goals and her life.
Disclosure: I put ice cubes in my own wine. But I learned a lot here!
Reviewed by Kaye George, author of Requiem in Red, for Suspense Magazine