Hubbard’s trilogy of lovingly forged mysteries about the beauty and culture of France (Bordeaux: The Bitter Finish, 2014, etc.) draws to an end with a case much too close to home.
NYPD Detective Max Maguire is the product of a marriage between Hank, a now-retired NYPD officer, and Juliette, an aristocratic Frenchwoman disowned by her family for marrying him. In solving wine-related murders and investigating French culture and her own roots, Max has managed a reconciliation with her grandmother Isabelle—and now she and her parents have arrived in Burgundy to stay with her. Max has had an on-again, off-again romance with Olivier Chaumont, an investigating magistrate who’s moving to Paris to join the terrorism squad along with his longtime assistant, Abdel Zeroual. Olivier plans to stay at his family home in Burgundy while he and Max decide whether their love affair will lead to marriage. Meantime, Isabelle and her friend Anne are upset with the disappearance of a striking young American girl whose help with the grape harvest has led her to develop a love for wine. Lucy Kendrick, who claims to be 21, is really a 17-year-old searching for her biological father, who’s French. All the while, she’s pursued by the uncle who stuck her in a psychiatric institute in order to control her inheritance. Lucy was last seen at a party given by a drug-dealing private detective who was working both ends against the middle before being pushed off his balcony. She’s the object of several people’s desire, from a British B&B owner and photographer to the sullen teen son of one of Olivier’s childhood friends. The next time anyone sees Lucy is when she's shot during a local boar hunt and almost dies, and both Max and Hank are even more determined to solve both crimes than Olivier, whose friends turn out to be major suspects in another murder.
Hubbard expounds on the ways winemaking and drinking are deeply embedded in French culture while her charming protagonists solve murders—in this case, a complex puzzle that touches on the threat of terrorism lurking throughout France today.