The financial woes of a Texas vintner soon pale in comparison to murder.
Elise Beckett has a lot on her mind. She’s far from certain that the new hybrid variety of grape she’s developed will rescue her family winery—Elise’s brother Ross is the business manager, and her sister Madison runs the family’s special-events facility—from its financial problems. Elise’s boyfriend, Stuart, has offered her a dream job in organic horticultural research five hours away in Dallas. Their long-distance relationship is suffering problems that the move might fix, but Elise is loath to desert her family. Although her mother, Laura, inherited the vineyard, her father’s short-tempered and financially strapped brother Edmond, who thinks he should have gotten at least part of it, is pushing Laura to give him a section of the land. Elise wonders if she really loves Stuart, since she can’t keep her eyes off hunky sheriff’s deputy Jackson Landry, her brother’s best friend and the man all her friends think is perfect for her. Her romantic musings take a back seat when Edmond is found dead in the river that flows through the vineyard, and Jackson has to consider the Becketts as primary suspects. Despite Jackson’s stern warnings, Elise, convinced that a bit of sleuthing would help her family, makes some discoveries about Edmond that reveal several other suspects and put her square in the killer’s sights.
Folger’s debut provides more romance than mystery but introduces enough suspects to keep like-minded readers off-guard.