Wine tasting, murder, and more.
A murder and a toxic substance in a vineyard would spell doom for the manager of any winery. And when that manager is a woman, a rarity in the wine industry, people are quick to place the blame on her shoulders. Even though Sheridan's husband, Brett, and his partner are already on the case, the amateur sleuth, is quick to jump in. In her search for clues, Sheridan and her friends explore the offerings at several nearby vineyards, where they discover more than great wine.
Join Sheridan, Brett, and their friends as they explore the wine country and solve intertwined mysteries.
*This is the fifth in the Sheridan Hendley cozy mysteries. The mysteries are solved in each book; the relationships and the characters continue from book to book.
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Read an excerpt:
CHAPTER 1 I was startled awake when my husband, Brett McMann, catapulted out of bed after an early morning call from his partner, James Fabry. With both detectives assigned to the Appomattox Field Office for the Virginia State Police, something major must have happened and warranted not one, but both of them. Worried about their safety, I felt out of sorts. My Sheltie, Charlie, hovered near the door, her tail wagging. “Come on, Charlie. We need to shake off the funk and get Maddie up and out the door.” I shook my upper body for effect and to loosen tense muscles. Walking past Maddie’s room, I opened the door a crack and Charlie did the rest, with Bella, a lab mix, helping out. Maddie’s initial shriek and then her laughter followed me to the kitchen. When Brett and I married, I instantly became mom to his teenaged daughter. With Brett called out so early, I turned on the television to the local news as I made coffee and threw together the batter for simple apple crepes for breakfast. The aroma of the coffee and the prospect of much needed caffeine perked me up as I divided my attention between the screen and the crepes. Charlie and Bella joined me and headed straight for the back door. After letting them out, I got them food and fresh water. Hearing the door to the bathroom close, I started the crepes cooking. Distracted by a news update, the first one burned. Only politics. By the time Maddie trudged to the kitchen table, two light golden crepes filled with apple and cinnamon, and sprinkled with confectioner sugar, awaited her. Maddie whistled. “Morning, Sheridan. Fancy. Dad gone already?” “Yup.” I glanced at the television screen, reading the crawler on the bottom. “Fabry called around 6 o’clock and your dad bolted. Nothing on the local news so far. Might not be local.” Maddie finished eating, grabbed her back pack, and was gone. I cleaned up the mess, showered, and collected my book bag. The weather was clear and surprisingly brisk for May in Virginia as I stepped outside. Opening my car windows, I hoped the fresh air would invigorate me as I drove to Lynchburg and Millicent College where I taught part time. Even as my mind wandered, I caught the radio announcer announcement of an incident that could affect the many wineries on the popular wine trail near Lynchburg. The immediate cut to music made me scream and slam my hands on the steering wheel. As I continued my way west from Appomattox, I recalled what I knew of the wineries in the area. A wine drinker, I had noticed the sign for the DeVault Family Vineyards many times as I drove to Millicent College, though we’d never been there. When I lived in Cold Creek, people had commented on all the wineries from Charlottesville south to Roanoke and even close to North Shore where my best friend, Kim Pennzel, and I would go for dinner. Funny, Kim and I had talked about wine tours many times over the five years I lived there, yet we never did any of them. I smiled as it occurred to me a winery tour and tasting might be fun. Depending on what else was available at the winery, it might be a good setting for a pre-wedding party for Kim and Marty. As I approached Lynchburg and turned toward Millicent College, my mind shifted to my work day until the radio announcer prompted his colleague for updates. “Jake, any updates on the incident at the Cantina Saracena Winery?” “All we know at this point is that the State Police arrived early this morning. Part of US 29 North is closed near Bedford. If that’s your usual way to work, you’ll need to use 29 Business instead. I’ll check back with any updates on the hour.” The station immediately cut back to music and I groaned, my tension mixed with frustration. That was probably where Brett and Fabry went this morning. I pulled into the Millicent College faculty parking lot and smiled. Surely, this close to the college, someone would have heard the scuttlebutt on whatever the “incident” might be. My curiosity piqued. It didn’t take long for me to find Leah Buxbaum. She was a faculty member in psychology as well. My adjunct office was next to hers and she loved coffee and mysteries almost as much as I did. In the short time I’d been at Millicent, we’d become friends. Although, as always, she was dressed conservatively, her blonde curls were loose instead of tied back. “Morning, Leah. I like the new hairdo.” My dark brown tresses hung straight and I regretted not taking the time to add some curl. “Thanks. Did you catch the news? The body found at the Cantina Saracena Winery?” A possible murder nearby explained Brett’s early call and as an amateur sleuth, my interest grew. “Wow. All I got from the radio was some kind of ‘incident’ at the winery. How far from here is that?” “It’s the closest and the newest winery on the wine trail. It only opened last year. If I remember correctly, the same family has another one somewhere north of here and was able to bring in stock from there, while they got the vines in. It will be at least three years before the new vines yield grapes for their wine.” “That’s a long time. Why would they extend their reach like that?” “Location is everything. And this winery is about halfway between the Lazy Days Winery and the DeVault Family Vineyards this side of Lynchburg. And not too far from a few other wineries west of Lynchburg and south.” Geography not being my strong suit, I shrugged. “Where is that from here?” “If you go north from here on 29, Amherst is about thirty minutes from here, but the turn for the Cantina is only about fifteen or twenty minutes away. The signage is pretty good and you head east about ten minutes and you’re there. If you keep going past Amherst, you’ll arrive at the Lazy Days Winery. A few others up there are part of wine trail trips running at different times of the year.” “Huh. Now, that sounds like fun. Have you ever gone on one?” “Many years ago. A bunch of us did the four-winery tour. The Cantina hadn’t opened and I’ve never been there. I understand they have a small bed-and-breakfast and a café. Not just the wine tasting and maybe a tour.” “We may have to check it out.” Wine is good and a murder provided a puzzle to solve, a challenge. She laughed. “I have to run.” She grabbed her papers and files, as did I. Worried, I took my phone in case Brett called or a new update came in.
Excerpt from Wine and Dead, Another Murder. Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved.
I love mysteries set in vineyards. That cover is so luscious! You don't know whether to pluck a grape or sip that wine!ReplyDelete
Me, too! Thanks for stopping by Denise!Delete
Denise, email me at email@example.com with your email and preferred format! Happy Holidays! CDelete
Love to win a copy!ReplyDelete
Can't wait for a new book with Sheridan, they are always exciting, and with a vineyard setting, what could be more fun!?? The cover really makes you want to travel there...ReplyDelete
Thank you, Anita!Delete