Of Merlot & Murder (A Tangled Vines Mystery) - Joni Folger

Food and wine in the beautiful Texas hill country should be a winning combination. Unless you trip over a dead body.


Elise Beckett is back for her second outing in the Tangled Vines Mystery series. I enjoyed the first book and this one was better. Elise is helping her family with their booth at the Lost Pines Food and Wine Festival. It’s great publicity for their winery and event center. Lots of local restaurants and local vinyards will be there including Third Coast Winery whose owner just happens to be the old beau of Miss Abbie, the family matriarch. His new wife is a real piece of work and is much disliked by the whole food and wine community. If a dead body is going to turn up during the festival, it seems no surprise that it’s hers. With Miss Abbie as a potential suspect, Elise can’t help sticking her nose in where it doesn’t belong.


Here’s what I like about this series and what I think is going to be its on-going appeal. The people say things that sound like real people. When Elise’s brother yells at her for being late to dinner because of a shoe sale, I think she’s completely correct when she says that men just do not get the importance of a shoe sale. I love shoes and my husband doesn’t get it. When she and her siblings joke around about who Grandma loves best, it feels like a conversation I’ve been in with my family. While bad things do happen, the family maintains its bond of love. I prefer that over angst and dysfunction.


On the other hand, Elise has to quit ignoring everything her handsome police detective boyfriend tells her. The amount of deliberate snooping she does after being warned not to by Jackson is unbelievable and borders on the TSTL category. She needs to start working with Jackson as a good citizen instead of against him as a snoop.


When I reviewed the first one in this series, I said I thought the series would get better and it has. I look forward to seeing more of Elise and the vineyard gang in the future.


This was provided to me by Netgalley and I appreciate the opportunity to read and review it.