A very old bottle of wine may be motive for murder.
Virginia vineyard owner and amateur sleuth Lucie Montgomery is holding a charity wine auction at her vineyard, an auction that is attracting worldwide attention after the donation of a bottle of Margaux purportedly bought in 1790 by Thomas Jefferson for George Washington. Lucie meets wine author Valerie Beauvais at Mount Vernon, where she is giving a lecture; her comments about the Margaux give Lucie cause for suspicion that something is not right. When Valerie does not show up for an appointment to see the bottle of Margaux, Lucie goes looking and finds her car in a creek: Valerie is dead and it was no accident. Lucie and her winemaker Quinn Santori have an uneasy relationship and when Quinn’s formerly unmentioned wife shows up as a wine buyer for the wealthy, things go from bad to worse. Lucie is coping with her on-again, off-again relationship with wealthy neighbor Mick Dunne, and her hostile new neighbors who oppose fox hunting. The only bright spot is a visit by her beloved French grandfather, whose connections may help solve the puzzle. When the donor asks for his wine back things get really ugly and a second murder occurs.
The third of Crosby’s excellent series (The Chardonnay Charade, 2007, etc.) features a beguiling combination of wine lore, history and mystery.