A VINTAGE MURDER by Janet L. Smith


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Is there any limit to Steven Vick's abuse of his ex-wife Taylor North? Before their marriage, he attacked and intimidated her old roommate Annie MacPherson; soon after they settled down to happily ever after, Taylor began to show up in downtown Harmony (Wash.) sporting black eyes and bruises; since she threw him out, he's turned up repeatedly at her North Faire vineyard in Yakima Valley, maybe stealing bottles and labels, and blustering his way into her tasting gala. Even now, after his death -- at the tasting, naturally; he's been brained with a wine bottle found in Taylor's hands -- he's still making trouble for her, as she awakens from a coma following her cocktail of aspirin and Tylenol with codeine (shock? guilt?) to find herself accused of his murder. Luckily, schoolmarmish North Faire winemaker Galen Rockwell, long sweet on Taylor, has the foresight to call Annie (Practice to Deceive, 1992) back into the fray, and together with her woman-hunting law partner, Jed Delacourt, she noses out a passel of secrets ranging from drugs to adultery to a rumored public-health menace to some surprising revelations about Taylor and Steve. Familiar stuff from beginning to end, but blessed by Smith's scene-setting alchemy, her insight into character, and the immediacy and authority of her writing.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Fawcett Columbine/Ballantine