Sunday, August 19, 2007

Mystery Book Review: Deadly Vintage by Elaine Flinn

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Deadly Vintage by Elaine Flinn. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.Deadly Vintage by Elaine Flinn

Deadly Vintage by Elaine Flinn
A Molly Doyle Mystery

Perseverance Press (Trade Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-880284-87-1 (1880284871)
ISBN-13: 978-1-880284-87-2 (9781880284872)
Publication Date: September 2007
List Price: $14.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Life is sweet for Molly Doyle. Treasures Antiques, the Carmel shop she manages, is doing well. Her niece, Emma, continues to enrich her life, and her personal relationship with Randall, the chief of police, has reached an interesting plateau. Eager to branch out into interior decorations, Molly takes on a lucrative commission to refurbish the wine tasting rooms at Bello Lago, a prestigious family-owned winery in Carmel Valley. But Molly soon finds herself in the middle of the dysfunctional family’s squabbles when they end in murder - and she’s a prime suspect! Even worse, Emma’s future is at stake when a stranger walks into Treasures and …

Review: Carmel-by-the-Sea antiques shop owner Molly Doyle again assumes the role of amateur sleuth in Deadly Vintage, the cleverly plotted fourth mystery in this series by Elaine Flinn.

Molly is presented with an opportunity to showcase her talents when she's hired by Carla Jessop, the daughter of a local vineyard owner, to decorate a wine tasting room in a traditional Italian manner. Carla's husband, Todd, a former dot-com executive, is vehemently opposed and wants to modernize both the winery and its image. The conflict becomes public when, at a dinner attended by all three, Molly throws a glass of wine in Todd's face he accuses her of selling fake antiques. A few days later, when Todd is murdered with Molly standing nearby, she needs to work with her close friend, chief of police Kenneth Randall, to clear her name and restore her reputation.

Deadly Vintage is not a book one rushes through. It is leisurely paced and appropriately so; the murder, for example, doesn't take place until well into the second third of the story. The characters are richly drawn and the narrative is filled with interesting details about the antiques business and the community. Of particular note is Molly's relationship with her niece Emma, which is both special and sweet. The twists and turns in the plot are all credible within the context of the story, and the killer (if not necessarily the motive) comes as a complete surprise.

A minor annoyance is Flinn's use of the word "merch" in place of "merchandise" or "goods". Antiques dealers may indeed use the term as part of their vernacular, and Molly herself often uses it when speaking to friends and colleagues. But when "merch" is used in a descriptive paragraph it is jarring. "She set about adding the new merch into the inventory on the computer." Or "She frequently rearranged merch in the shop." In an otherwise exceptionally well written book it is conspicuously out of place.

Special thanks to Perseverance Press for providing a copy of Deadly Vintage for this review.

Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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