Now that Scots forensic expert Enzo Macleod (The Fourth Sacrifice, 2007, etc.) has moved to France, his attempt to solve another cold case causes trouble.
After famous wine critic Gil Petty vanishes during a tasting trip to the unheralded Gaillac region, his wine-soaked body reappears, clothed in the ceremonial robes of a wine society and hanging in the woods. Determined to find the killer, Enzo rents a vineyard cottage. His welcome from the police and the local vintners isn’t exactly cordial. But his contact, Gendarme Roussel, has to admit that mistakes were made when another wine-preserved body appears in the woods. Enzo’s personal life is complicated when Petty’s estranged daughter Michelle, arriving to claim her father’s property, makes a pass at Enzo, arousing the disapproval of his sometime girlfriend Charlotte, his younger daughter Sophie and his student assistant Nicole. As they struggle to crack the code Petty used to write his reviews, Enzo digs up dirt in various vineyards to take to his chemist pal in California in hope of matching the soil to the wine used to pickle the bodies. Petit was not a popular man—his reviews could make or break a vineyard’s reputation—so there are plenty of suspects. Enzo’s search soon makes him the killer’s target, and it takes all his skills and a bit of luck to escape death.
Another oenophile’s tip sheet with the bonus of a finely crafted and surprising mystery.