The Chardonnay Charade: A Wine Country Mystery

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The Chardonnay Charade begins with a daring helicopter flight in the middle of the night. Facing a freak spring frost that threatens to kill the grapes in her vineyard, Lucie Montgomery hires a chopper to fly over the vines in order to blow warm air on them. But her thoughts soon turn from grapes to murder when she discovers the body of Georgia Greenwood, a controversial political candidate, lying near the fields. Georgia's husband, Ross, Lucie's friend and doctor, immediately falls under suspicion. To make matters worse, Ross, a renowned collector of Civil War documents, has just discovered a letter that seems to prove that Confederate president Jefferson Davis had prior knowledge of the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln. In the small town of Atoka, Virginia -- proud home to the "Gray Ghost," the Confederacy's legendary guerrilla commander -- the letter is a bombshell.

Three years ago Ross saved Lucie's life after she was involved in a near-fatal car crash. Now she intends to return the favor and prove Ross's innocence. As the search for Georgia's killer escalates, Lucie crosses swords with her attractive but cantankerous winemaker, Quinn Santori, and confronts her own unwelcome feelings of jealousy over his new romance and job prospects. Her worries about her kid sister's out-of-control drinking and a second vineyard-related death further ratchet up the tension. Even though Lucie believes that in vino veritas -- in wine there is truth -- she finds that the path to uncovering a murderer involves making a heartbreaking decision that will alter the lives of those she loves.
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About the author

Ellen Crosby is the author of Multiple Exposure, the first book in a series featuring photojournalist Sophie Medina. She has also written six books in the Virginia wine country mystery series. A former freelance reporter for The Washington Post, Moscow correspondent for ABC Radio News, and an economist at the US Senate, Crosby lives in Virginia with her family. Learn more about her at EllenCrosby.com.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Aug 7, 2007
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781416545682
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Ellen Crosby's third tale of suspense set amid the vines of Virginia wine country involves a two-hundred-year-old bottle of Bordeaux that Thomas Jefferson may have purchased for George Washington and is turning out to be a wine to die for.

It has been a year since Lucie Montgomery took over running her family vineyard at the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. The Bordeaux Betrayal now sweeps her into a mystery that began more than two centuries ago in France and ends in murder not far from Montgomery Estate Vineyard.

When author and historian Valerie Beauvais turns up dead the night after a verbal brawl with a noted wine critic on the grounds of Mount Vernon, George Washington's home, Lucie is certain Valerie's death is related to something she knew concerning the authenticity of the priceless Washington Bordeaux.

As Lucie and her eccentric winemaker Quinn Santori bring in the last grapes of the season, Quinn's controversial past becomes intertwined with the murder and the rare wine, testing the bonds of their increasingly close relationship. New neighbors challenge Lucie for allowing a century-old hunting club to use her land for foxhunting; Mick Dunne, Lucie's ex-lover, comes back into her life; and her beloved French grandfather makes an unexpected visit that will rekindle painful memories some would prefer to forget.

As Lucie investigates the shadowy history of the Washington wine, she uncovers a web of deceit and betrayal and a long-forgotten scandal that affects not only the international wine world but her own as well
Family secrets come back to haunt Jack Reacher in this electrifying thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, “a superb craftsman of suspense” (Entertainment Weekly).

Jack Reacher hits the pavement and sticks out his thumb. He plans to follow the sun on an epic trip across America, from Maine to California. He doesn’t get far. On a country road deep in the New England woods, he sees a sign to a place he has never been: the town where his father was born. He thinks, What’s one extra day? He takes the detour.

At the same moment, in the same isolated area, a car breaks down. Two young Canadians had been on their way to New York City to sell a treasure. Now they’re stranded at a lonely motel in the middle of nowhere. The owners seem almost too friendly. It’s a strange place, but it’s all there is.

The next morning, in the city clerk’s office, Reacher asks about the old family home. He’s told no one named Reacher ever lived in town. He’s always known his father left and never returned, but now Reacher wonders, Was he ever there in the first place?

As Reacher explores his father’s life, and as the Canadians face lethal dangers, strands of different stories begin to merge. Then Reacher makes a shocking discovery: The present can be tough, but the past can be tense . . . and deadly.

Praise for Past Tense

“Child is one writer who should never be taken for granted.”—The New York Times Book Review

“[Lee Child] shows no signs of slowing down. . . . Reacher is a man for whom the phrase moral compass was invented: His code determines his direction. . . . You need Jack Reacher.”—The Atlantic

“Superb . . . Child neatly interweaves multiple narratives, ratchets up the suspense (the reveal of the motel plot is delicious), and delivers a powerful, satisfying denouement. Fans will enjoy learning more of this enduring character’s roots, and Child’s spare prose continues to set a very high bar.”—Publishers Weekly (boxed and starred review)

“Another first-class entry in a series that continues to set the gold standard for aspiring thriller authors.”—Booklist (starred review)

“With his usual flair for succinctness and eye for detail, Child creates another rollicking Reacher road trip that will please fans and newcomers alike.”—Library Journal (starred review)
"Finely ladled suspense," says the Sun-Sentinel about the complex flavor of Ellen Crosby's debut mystery set in the wealthy Blue Ridge wine country of northern Virginia, where vineyard heiress Lucie Montgomery must find a killer or lose her cherished family heritage.

A phone call at two thirty in the morning is never good news. Lucie Montgomery's semiestranged brother, Eli, calls her in France to tell her their father, Leland, has been killed in a hunting accident on the family's five-hundred-acre Virginia vineyard just as the fall harvest is about to begin. By the time he calls, Eli has already made funeral arrangements with what Lucie argues is indecent haste.

It is an emotional trip home -- the first since an automobile accident two years ago, which left Lucie disabled and dependent on a cane. Her family's once elegant home and winery are now shabby and run-down, thanks to her father's penchant for fringy business deals. Eli, also cash-strapped and desperate to support his new wife's extravagant lifestyle, has already convinced their rebellious younger sister, Mia, to sell the debt-ridden estate and reap the profits from the valuable land it sits on, overruling Lucie's protests.

On the eve of the funeral Lucie's godfather, Fitz, a partner in the family business, tells her Leland's death was no accident. Whoever killed him was motivated by the potential sale of the vineyard. It is the last conversation she will have with Fitz. Now the lone holdout preventing the vineyard sale, Lucie realizes she's next in line for another "accident." With her greedy brother, hell-raising sister, and a seemingly cut-rate vintner hired by Leland just before he died, all the suspects are disturbingly close to home. Unsure whom she can trust, Lucie must uncover the truth about the deaths of her father and godfather -- and oversee a successful harvest to save the vineyard she loves.
READ THE SENSATIONAL BLOCKBUSTER THAT STARTED IT ALL!

Take it from the top in #1 New York Times bestselling author Sue Grafton's knockout thriller that introduced detective Kinsey Millhone—and a hot new attitude—to crime fiction...

A IS FOR AVENGER
A tough-talking former cop, private investigator Kinsey Millhone has set up a modest detective agency in a quiet corner of Santa Teresa, California. A twice-divorced loner with few personal possessions and fewer personal attachments, she's got a soft spot for underdogs and lost causes.

A IS FOR ACCUSED
That's why she draws desperate clients like Nikki Fife. Eight years ago, she was convicted of killing her philandering husband. Now she's out on parole and needs Kinsey's help to find the real killer. But after all this time, clearing Nikki's bad name won't be easy.

A IS FOR ALIBI
If there's one thing that makes Kinsey Millhone feel alive, it's playing on the edge. When her investigation turns up a second corpse, more suspects, and a new reason to kill, Kinsey discovers that the edge is closer—and sharper—than she imagined.

"A" Is for Alibi
"B" Is for Burglar
"C" Is for Corpse
"D" Is for Deadbeat
"E" Is for Evidence
"F" Is for Fugitive
"G" Is for Gumshoe
"H" Is for Homicide
"I" Is for Innocent
"J" Is for Judgment
"K" Is for Killer
"L" is for Lawless
"M" Is for Malice
"N" Is for Noose
"O" Is for Outlaw
"P" Is for Peril
"Q" Is for Quarry
"R" Is for Ricochet
"S" Is for Silence
"T" Is for Trespass
"U" Is for Undertow
"V" Is for Vengeance
"W" Is for Wasted
"X"

B is for Burglar, from Sue Grafton's #1 New York Times bestselling Kinsey Millhone Alphabet mystery series

Beverly Danziger looked like an expensive, carefully wrapped package from a good but conservative shop. Only her compulsive chatter hinted at the nervousness beneath her cool surface. It was a nervousness out of all proportion to the problem she placed before Kinsey Millhone. There was an absent sister. A will to be settled--a matter of only a few thousand dollars. Mrs. Danziger did not look as if she needed a few thousand dollars. And she didn't seem like someone longing for a family reunion.

Still, business was slow, and even a private investigator has bills to pay. Millhone took the job. It looked routine.

Elaine Boldt's wrappings were a good deal flashier than her sister's, but they signaled the same thing: The lady had money. A rich widow in her early forties, she owned a condo in Boca Raton and another in Santa Teresa. According to the manager of the California building, she was last seen draped in her $12,000 lynx coat heading for Boca Raton. According to the manager of the Florida building, she never got there. But someone else had and she was camping out illegally in Mrs. Boldt's apartment. The job was beginning to seem a bit less routine.

It turned tricky when Beverly Danziger ordered Millhone to drop the case and it took on an ominous quality when Aubrey Danziger surfaced, making all kinds of wild accusations about his wife. But it only became sinister when Millhone learned that just days before Elaine Boldt went missing, her next-door neighbor and bridge partner had been murdered and the killer was still at large.

A house destroyed by arson. A brutally murdered a woman. A missing lynx coat. An apartment burgled of valueless papers, another ransacked in a melée of mindless destruction. And more murder. As Millhone digs deeper into the case, she finds herself in a nightmarish hall of mirrors in which reality is distorted by illusion and nothing--except danger--is quite what it seems.

"A" Is for Alibi
"B" Is for Burglar
"C" Is for Corpse
"D" Is for Deadbeat
"E" Is for Evidence
"F" Is for Fugitive
"G" Is for Gumshoe
"H" Is for Homicide
"I" Is for Innocent
"J" Is for Judgment
"K" Is for Killer
"L" is for Lawless
"M" Is for Malice
"N" Is for Noose
"O" Is for Outlaw
"P" Is for Peril
"Q" Is for Quarry
"R" Is for Ricochet
"S" Is for Silence
"T" Is for Trespass
"U" Is for Undertow
"V" Is for Vengeance
"W" Is for Wasted
"X"

“Grafton keeps pulling out surprises- and pulling us in.” —Entertainment Weekly on "O" is for Outlaw

Through fourteen books, fans have been fed short rations when it comes to Kinsey Millhone's past: a morsel here, a dollop there. We know of the aunt who raised her, the second husband who left her, the long-lost family up the California coast. But husband number one remained a blip on the screen until now.

The call comes on a Monday morning from a guy who scavenges defaulted storage units at auction. Last week he bought a stack. They had stuff in them--Kinsey stuff. For thirty bucks, he'll sell her the lot. Kinsey's never been one for personal possessions, but curiosity wins out and she hands over a twenty (she may be curious but she loves a bargain). What she finds amid childhood memorabilia is an old undelivered letter.

It will force her to reexamine her beliefs about the breakup of that first marriage, about the honor of that first husband, about an old unsolved murder. It will put her life in the gravest peril."O" Is for Outlaw: Kinsey's fifteenth adventure into the dark side of human nature.


"A" Is for Alibi
"B" Is for Burglar
"C" Is for Corpse
"D" Is for Deadbeat
"E" Is for Evidence
"F" Is for Fugitive
"G" Is for Gumshoe
"H" Is for Homicide
"I" Is for Innocent
"J" Is for Judgment
"K" Is for Killer
"L" is for Lawless
"M" Is for Malice
"N" Is for Noose
"O" Is for Outlaw
"P" Is for Peril
"Q" Is for Quarry
"R" Is for Ricochet
"S" Is for Silence
"T" Is for Trespass
"U" Is for Undertow
"V" Is for Vengeance
"W" Is for Wasted
"X"

Sue Grafton's #1 New York Times bestselling series, reissued for a whole new generation of readers!

D IS FOR DEADBEAT

He called himself Alvin Limardo, and the job he had for Kinsey was cut-and-dried: locate a kid who'd done him a favor and pass on a check for $25,000. It was only later, after he'd stiffed her for her retainer, that Kinsey found out his name was Daggett. John Daggett. Ex-con. Inveterate liar. Chronic drunk. And dead. The cops called it an accident--death by drowning. Kinsey wasn't so sure.

Pulled into the detritus of a dead man's life, Kinsey soon realizes that Daggett had an awful lot of enemies. There's the daughter who grew up with a cheating drunk for a father, and the wife who's become a religious nut in response to an intolerable marriage. There's the lady who thought she was Mrs. Daggett--and has the bruises to prove it--only to discover the legal Mrs. D. And there are the drug dealers out $25,000. But most of all, there are the families of the five people John Daggett killed, victims of his wild, drunken driving. The D.A. called it vehicular manslaughter and put him away for two years. The families called it murder and had very good reason to want John Daggett dead.

Deft, cunning, and clever, this latest Millhone mystery also confronts some messy truths, for, as Kinsey herself says, "Some debts of the human soul are so enormous only life itself is sufficient forfeit"--but as she'd be the first to admit, murder is not a socially acceptable solution.

"A" Is for Alibi
"B" Is for Burglar
"C" Is for Corpse
"D" Is for Deadbeat
"E" Is for Evidence
"F" Is for Fugitive
"G" Is for Gumshoe
"H" Is for Homicide
"I" Is for Innocent
"J" Is for Judgment
"K" Is for Killer
"L" is for Lawless
"M" Is for Malice
"N" Is for Noose
"O" Is for Outlaw
"P" Is for Peril
"Q" Is for Quarry
"R" Is for Ricochet
"S" Is for Silence
"T" Is for Trespass
"U" Is for Undertow
"V" Is for Vengeance
"W" Is for Wasted
"X"

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