Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Mystery Book Review: Murder by the Glass by Michele Scott

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written its review of Murder by the Glass by Michele Scott. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Murder by the Glass by Michele ScottSynopsis (from the publisher): Life is sweet for Nikki Sands. She's toasting her new job at the Malveaux Estate in Napa Valley and balancing a love triangle with a neighboring winemaker and her boss, vineyard owner Derek Malveaux — the catch of the country. And tonight, Nikki will be on the arm of Napa's golden boy at a Sonoma mansion for the wedding of the decade ...

Nikki's friend Isabel agreed to cater the wedding — before she learned that the groom was her cheating lover. After the ceremony, Isabel asks Nikki to bring the obnoxious bride another glass of wine. But Nikki finds the new wife sprawled on the floor — murdered. Since the dearly departed made enemies easily, there's a bushel of suspects — many of them close to Nikki. Now, it's up to her to get to the bottom of what may have been a killer bottle of wine.

Review: Murder by the Glass, by Michele Scott, is the entertaining second book in the wine lover's mystery series featuring Napa Valley sleuth Nikki Sands.

Nikki criss-crosses Sonoma County and even ventures into San Francisco on her search for who killed the bride at an ostentatious wedding catered by her best friend. Interviews with suspects are invariably carried out with a bottle of wine nearby making for some very chatty conversations. It's all wonderfully spirited and sparkling and in the end Scott adds a nice twist to this common murder mystery plot.

The book includes recipes of meals featured in the story together with wine pairings. While including recipes is a common feature of culinary mysteries, what distinguishes Scott's approach is not only the pairing of a wine with a recipe but writing a short vignette that suggests why the meal and wine are appropriate to the situation in the book. It's very clever, frequently amusing, and informative.

Scott supplies colorful descriptions for her wine selections. Here's an example from early in the book: "[The Ravenswood Merlot Sangiacomo] is a delicious blend of summer fruits and earth flavors. It has a full, ripe flavor quality, making it a nice balance with dark plum, cherries, blackberries, tobacco, and spice." Uncork a bottle, and enjoy it with Murder by the Glass.

Special thanks to Michele Scott for providing a copy of Murder by the Glass for this review.

Review Copyright © 2006 Hidden Staircase Mystery Books

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