Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review - How to Dine on Killer Wine

How to Dine on Killer Wine: A Party-Planning Mystery

By: Penny Warner
Publisher: Obsidian
Publication Date: July 2012
ISBN: 978-0451237866
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: July 2012

Presley Parker was pumping herself up for one of her “Killer Parties,” and was learning how to appreciate the finer qualities of wine. She didn’t appear to be Chef Rocco Ghirenghelli’s most talented wine aficionados when her roll-around-the-mouth bit made her look more like she was sampling Lavoris. Presley was a seriously “wine-disabled student,” but she was one heck of an event-planner and her upcoming wine-tasting event for Rob and Marie Christopher would undoubtedly be wildly successful and go off without a hitch. One, two, three ... whiff, swish, let it “play” on the palate. Got it. Urrhmm, nope. Maybe she’d better practice a bit more.

Even Presley’s boyfriend, Brad Matthews, looked more sophisticated driving his SUV with the crime scene cleaner logo on the side, but by the time she showed up at the Christopher’s Tuscany-style mansion, she’d be a pro. They owned the Purple Grape and were throwing a party to introduce their new line. Independent Napa growers were being trounced on by Napology, who was trying to buy them out and then there was that “wine pest,” JoAnne Douglas. Everything had to be “green” or she was going to throw a hissy fit. She was known for threatening people, the type of person who wasn’t exactly known for winning friends and influencing others.

Victoria, Presley’s mother who had early-onset Alzheimers, was hot to trot and appeared to be falling for Larry, her bingo buddy, but the party must go on. And it did. Sleazeball lawyer Kyle Bennett was hitting on Presley, the new merlot was a hit, and the Grape-Stomping River Dancers were gonna stomp. The guests were raving that the party was “off the hook,” but everyone had overlooked one little problem. “Oh no. Presley. Not another dead body,” Victoria exclaimed to her daughter. Someone had bludgeoned Ms. Douglas with a bottle of merlot and for good measure stabbed her with a corkscrew. Had they been frolicking all the time with a corpse under the table? And then there was the floater. Would Presley be able to figure out whodunit before she became the third one?

Presley Parker has once again planned a killer party, a real corker. The lighthearted nature of the plot and daffy way Presley went about solving this whodunit made the tale very relaxing and popcorn popping fun. Of course her partner, her mother Victoria, pointed her to the bingo hall where “a wealth of information” was awaiting them. This is one of those perfect beach books where Presley, a wannabe Jessica Fletcher, bumbles and stumbles onto clues that lead her right to the culprit (and almost to her own demise). This tale is as delectable as a fine Napa wine and as amusing as a bottle of “Two-Buck Chuck” on sale. If you like your cozy mysteries a tad on the silly side, you’ll love this one!

Quill says: How to Dine on Killer Wine has dazzle, pizzazz, and the bouquet of fine cozy mystery. Magnifique!

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