The Viognier Vendetta: A Wine Country Mystery

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Ellen Crosby’s "beguiling" (Kirkus Reviews) fifth mystery takes readers into Washington’s corridors of power, where Lucie Montgomery uncovers a political and financial scandal while trying to locate her missing friend.

WHEN LUCIE MONTGOMERY VISITS Washington, D.C., during cherry blossom season she doesn’t expect her reunion with old friend Rebecca Natale is a setup. But Rebecca disappears into thin air after running an errand for her boss, billionaire philanthropist and investment guru Sir Thomas Asher. Also missing: an antique silver wine cooler looted by British soldiers before they burned the White House during the War of 1812.

The next morning Lucie identifies Rebecca’s neatly folded clothes found in a rowboat floating in the Potomac River. Is it suicide, murder—or an elaborate scheme to disappear? A clandestine meeting in the U.S. Capitol, a startling revelation on a windy hill, and cryptic messages from Rebecca cloaked in eighteenth-century poetry are all part of the suspenseful tale of whether Rebecca is alive or dead—and the truth about Asher Investments.

Featuring an absorbing plot, colorful characters, and fascinating winemaking detail, The Viognier Vendetta combines an entertaining mystery with luminous prose that has become Crosby’s trademark.
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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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3.7
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Aug 3, 2010
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9781439182925
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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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Carol Higgins Clark, bestselling author of Fleeced and co-author with Mary Higgins Clark of He Sees You When You're Sleeping, returns in top form in her new Regan Reilly mystery, blending her talent for intriguing locales, eccentric characters, and fast-paced suspense laced with humor.
In Jinxed, smart, saucy sleuth Regan Reilly faces a new challenge -- the case of the missing wedding guest.
Regan, an L.A.-based private detective, returns to her office after a vacation with her beau, Jack "no relation" Reilly. Their tour of the wineries in Napa Valley and Santa Barbara County is cut short when Jack has to fly back to New York City, where he is the head of the Major Case Squad of the NYPD. Their last stop had been at Altered States, a run-down winery owned by three siblings who are all former hippies -- Lilac, Earl, and Leon Weldon. Not knowing how soon it would be put to use, Regan leaves her business card behind.
Within minutes of being back to work, Regan gets an excited call from Lilac. The Weldon family has been invited to the wedding of ninety-three-year-old Lucretia Standish, a former silent-screen star, who made a killing in a dot-com before it went bankrupt. Lucretia had been married to the Weldons' Uncle Haskell and had invested the money she inherited from Haskell in the dot-com. Lucretia's maid, Phyllis, clues Lilac in on the fact that Lucretia plans to give the Weldons $2 million each -- if they all show up at the wedding. The wedding is two days away, and there is only one problem -- Lilac's daughter, Whitney, aka Freshness, a young actress, has taken off on one of her go-with-the-flow weekends. Whitney is out of touch and goes where the wind blows. If it doesn't blow her back into town by Sunday morning, the Weldon family will be out $8 million.
Regan's job is to find Whitney. But unbeknownst to Regan, there's someone else on the hunt. Lucretia's fiancé, the much younger Edward Fields, has hired an accomplice in crime to locate Whitney and keep her away from the wedding. Edward knows Whitney will recognize him as the con man she'd met in acting class in New York. He wants to say "I do" to Lucretia and her millions before Whitney can protest. When Edward finds out that Regan Reilly has been hired to find the missing Whitney, he gives the order to get rid of her as well.
Meanwhile, Lucretia is befriended by a gang of bikers, the story of her upcoming nuptials is featured on national television news, and wildfires are threatening to consume the barn where Whitney is being held captive.
As in her previous novels, Carol Higgins Clark has created a novel that is both exciting and vastly entertaining. As no less a master of suspense than Nelson DeMille has said, "Clark's writing is elegantly clear and concise, her characters are witty and engaging, and her plots and pacing are perfect." And in Jinxed, she is at her very considerable best.
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
"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.
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