A California wine expert uses her famed palate to uncover a fake and solve a murder.
Sommelier Katie Stillwell is thrilled to receive an invitation to dinner at the home of wealthy Sonoma wine collector Paul Rafferty. She knows that Rafferty, a regular patron of the restaurant where she works, has recently purchased a bottle of 1975 Chateau Clair Bleu, which he intends to serve at the dinner. Although Rafferty’s assistant, Cooper Maxwell, greets Katie warmly, the other guests are less friendly. Her nervousness turns to horror when she realizes the $19,000 bottle of wine is a fake. After she shares her news with Cooper alone, he’s found badly injured at the foot of the wine-cellar steps. When he dies in the hospital, Katie, suspecting his apparent accident is something more sinister, begins to investigate, her inquiries financed by Rafferty. It turns out that Cooper was poisoned and Katie is one of the suspects. Though it’s not easy to find the identity of the person who consigned the fake wine to the auction where Rafferty purchased it, Katie gets help from an unlikely source, the detective she calls Dean who worked with her on her first murder (Decanting a Murder, 2016). Busy with work and studying for the next sommelier test, she’s been ignoring Dean’s phone calls. But now she finds him more appealing on both social and professional levels. In real life, Dean’s help would probably land them both in big trouble. But how can he refuse charming Katie?
A good mystery with a limited group of suspects and unlimited wine lore.