It’s fall in Boulder, Colorado, and the leaves aren’t the only things changing. Parker Valentine, owner of Vino Valentine, is finally settling in to her winery and her new relationship with Reid Wallace, a local chef. But their delicate pairing is endangered when Reid’s estranged family comes into town to celebrate the opening of his new restaurant.
Reid and his family are immediately at loggerheads, given their often acidic temperaments, but Parker still wants to make a good first impression. However, her efforts might be in vain when Reid’s sous chef is found dead in the alley behind the restaurant, and Reid is implicated in the murder. In order to save Reid, Parker will have to find the real killer, even if the truth is difficult to swallow.
Source: Purchase Rating: 4/5 stars
The Bottom Line: It was nice to fall back into Parker Valentine’s world and winery. Unfortunately, just as things are beginning to go well for Parker, her business, and her boyfriend, the world turns upside down and Parker finds herself in the midst of another murder investigation. With her boyfriend behind bars and looking very much like the killer, it would be easy for Parker to cut her losses and focus on her own life. What I like about Parker is her loyalty and refusal to believe her boyfriend is what everyone, including his wretched family, believes him to be. Yet again, against the advice of the police, Parker dives into the crime, putting herself in harm’s way and doggedly pursuing the truth. In truth, this series is one of the lower-key series I read and that matches perfectly with the setting and emphasis on wine. A sort of slower, boozy/buzzy kind of read that I find quite pleasing. I liked this story and how it deepened the relationship between Parker and Reid without him being in much of the story. I also completely loved Parker’s assistant and sincerely wish he would make a surprise appearance in future reads. In all, this book is exactly what it says it is, a cozy mystery that draws you in and keep s you happy from start to finish.