Book Review: How to Dine on Killer Wine

How to Dine on Killer WineHow to Dine on Killer Wine
A Party Planning Mystery #5
Penny Warner
Obsidian, July 2012
ISBN 978-0-451-23786-6
Mass Market Paperback

If you are a wine connoisseur, of even if you like to tipple, you will enjoy the setting, plot line, and ambiance of this delightful and fun filled mystery, How to Dine on Killer Wine.

Presley Parker is a new Party-Event-Planner, struggling to get her business off the ground. When asked to coordinate, cater and present an unusual launch party for a new wine at a famous Napa, California winery and California Culinary College, she believes it will provide an open door to the rich and famous in the wine world. And indeed, she meets an ex-Governor and other celebrities who plan to engage her future services. But, when a dead body appears under one of the serving tables, she sets about to prove the innocence of winery owner, Rob Christopher, accused of murder.

Delightful sub-characters include her eccentric Bingo-addicted mother, her part-time actress assistant and her boyfriend, Brad, who cleans up the blood at crime scenes. His connection with the Vallejo police department comes in handy when clues are normally withheld from the public.

It seems that the murder victim, JoAnne Douglas, has made so many enemies in the Napa Valley, that Presley is hard pressed to single out one from another. She has reason to suspect multiple friends and family near and dear to Rob Christopher, including his attorney, his wife’s sister and the guy at the rival winery next door.

Throughout the book, each chapter begins with a delightful tip of how to throw your own wine tasting event. Tip 7 –Chapter Seven: Don’t smoke, eat hard candy or mints or wear perfume. Keep your palate and nostrils free from taste-altering substances. Chocolate, however, is perfectly acceptable.

As the suspects multiply and Presley closes in on her prime suspect, she faces a desperate killer and barely escapes with her life…a true cozy mystery template ending, but all in all, a delightful read. Reading How to Dine on Killer Wine is a fun way to spend an afternoon with a good book, a chocolate bar and if you are so inclined, a glass of wine.

Reviewed by Elaine Faber, September 2014.
Author of Black Cat’s Legacy.