Virginia wine grower Lucie Montgomery becomes involved in yet another murder.
When Lucie goes to visit wine merchant Paul Noble to talk about getting a better price for her wine, Paul has nothing to say because he’s hanging from a beam with a bottle of Lucie’s wine and an unusual glass at his feet. Dinner at the house of Charles and Juliette Theissman, old friends of Lucie’s newly arrived French grandfather, involves her in an investigation of Charles’ mysterious past, including Cold War research on human subjects. A small group known as the Mandrake Society, whose members included Paul Noble, was involved, and now they’re dying one by one. Charles asks Lucie to check out the former owner of Rose Hill Vineyard in California to see if he was a Mandrake member now using a false name. Lucie, who’s going to California anyway to visit Rose Hill and taste some wine her former lover Mick Dunne plans to buy and perhaps see her winemaker and sometime lover Quinn Santori, reluctantly agrees. Quinn treats her to a romantic whirlwind tour of San Francisco, Sonoma and the Napa Valley while they join forces to investigate the past. Their relationship is fraught with tension and danger lurks.
To her string of Wine Country cases (The Viognier Vendetta, 2010, etc.), Crosby adds another well-conceived mystery and the latest dispatches concerning Lucie’s troubled love life.