Customer Reviews


55 Reviews
5 star:
 (23)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (8)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful combination of history, winemaking & murder
Crosby has topped her first novel, Moscow Nights, by exchanging the bleak Soviet landscape for the luscious hills of Virginia. Other reviewers have reiterated the plot, so I'll confine my comments to the feel and breadth of the book. When I pick up a contemporary murder mystery (not so often these days) I don't expect to be wowed by the historical and technical detail...
Published on September 8, 2006 by Catherine J. Reid

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine writer. Not great at endings.
The author certainly keeps you turning pages, but her endings are either obvious or contrived (I read all her books). That being said, I probably will read anything she writes because she is so engaging. You can't have everything.
Published on April 3, 2010 by Sully Bonn


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful combination of history, winemaking & murder, September 8, 2006
By 
Catherine J. Reid (Geneva, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Crosby has topped her first novel, Moscow Nights, by exchanging the bleak Soviet landscape for the luscious hills of Virginia. Other reviewers have reiterated the plot, so I'll confine my comments to the feel and breadth of the book. When I pick up a contemporary murder mystery (not so often these days) I don't expect to be wowed by the historical and technical detail in it. Somehow the author works Virginia, Civil War and wine making history into the story without interfering in the unfolding events of multiple murder. By the end of the book, I felt I needed to know how wine is processed and aged in order to fully grasp what was happening. I found myself rereading the descriptions of the barrel room and surroundings instead of skimming over them. I agree with the reviewer who thought Lucie was the only likeable character in the book. The first person narrative had us inside her skin and her paranoid, askewed perceptions. The old adage, "just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you," certainly applies to Lucie's predicament. Crosby expertly evokes Lucie's combined anger and grief over her injury, heart break and familys deaths. Somehow the character reaches into herself to get the strength to hold onto what was dear to her mother, the person most beloved by her. The oppressive heat and humidity only compound the heavy atmosphere of the book. The many (quirky)characters suggest a real community and also offer a cast for future stories. It will be interesting to see if and how Crosby develops Lucie's personality and allows her wounds to heal.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A PROMISING DEBUT FOR A NEW MYSTERY SERIES, August 25, 2006
"Murders don't happen in Atoka, Virginia. People don't even litter there."

At least that's what Lucie thought when she returned to her family's vineyard after two years in France. She had gone to Europe in order to recuperate from a near fatal auto accident which left her with a badly disfigured leg and dependent upon a cane. Greg had been driving the car. He not only left her physically injured but also heartbroken. So, escaping to Grasse where she worked as a perfume institute guide had seemed like an excellent idea.

She is coming home after a telephone call from her brother, Eli, informing her of their father's death. She is told he died in a hunting accident. Losing her father so suddenly is trauma enough but Lucie is all but devastated when she sees the state of her family's home and winery - utter disrepair. Further, Eli has already made funeral arrangements for their father without consulting her. It's going to be quick, too fast for Lucie.

Eli isn't at all the brother she remembered. He's now the picture of sartorial elegance, married to Brandi who reminds all of a Playboy centerfold, and eager to get his hands on cash by selling their vineyard. Selling is out of the question as far as Lucie is concerned: "My mother had been excited by the renaissance in Virginia wine making that took place in the 1970s, among the first to see the possibilities of converting some of our acreage from growing hay to growing grapes. To give up now on her dreams, when our vines were just coming into their best production years, was unthinkable."

Greg still has the burnished good looks of a Greek god and is dating Lucie's younger sister. Her godfather, Fitz, has taken to the bottle far too often. When he's found dead in a vat of Merlot some would like to say he fell in during a drunken stupor. Two mysterious deaths are two too many, and when Lucie realizes that someone would like her out of the way she determines not to be the third. She finds an ally in a most unlikely man.

Ellen Crosby, a reporter for the Washington Post, enriches her story with information about wine making and descriptions of the verdant Virginia countryside. She builds suspense with a practiced hand, keeping readers turning pages until the mystery is solved. A promising debut!

- Gail Cooke
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex Wine Mystery Début, August 17, 2006
In the 1st book in the Wine Country mystery series, we meet siblings Lucie, Eli, and Mia Montgomery. They are descendants of a once-wealthy family who owns a 500-acre vineyard in Virginia along with their father and godfather. Lucie has been hiding in France for two years, recovering both emotionally and physically from a devastating car accident that crippled her left leg and left her using a cane to walk. She receives a call from Eli early one morning, only to discover that their father has died under mysterious circumstances. Lucie goes home for the funeral, and discovers that their beautiful estate has become run-down and is deep in debt. Now that her father has died, Lucie's brother and sister want to sell the vineyard and split the proceeds. However, the vineyard is still owned in part by Lucie and her godfather, Fitz, who sides with Lucie and refuses to sell. When Fitz is found dead from another "accident", Lucie quickly begins to question whether one of her siblings is desperate enough for money to kill their father and godfather. Lucie must work fast to put a stop to the killings and try to save the vineyard that she dearly loves and wants to keep within the family.

Being unlike many cozies on the market today with its complex and intricate plot, I was intrigued with the style and the writing in this book. The plot was interesting, and offered plenty of twists and turns to keep me guessing as to the identity of the killer. I enjoyed the somewhat "tragic" character of Lucie, and how she continued to fight for everything she loves despite her disability. I look forward to reading more books in this fascinating new series.

Enjoy!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First offering from a new series, August 27, 2008
By 
Jeanne Tassotto (Trapped in the Midwest) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Merlot Murders ((Wine Country Mysteries, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
As this first novel in a new series opens we are introduced to Lucie Montgomery, a 26 year old woman whose life of privilege as a member of a well to do Virginia family came to an end with a tragic car accident that left her permanently disabled. She had fled to her late mother's family home in the south of France to recuperate for a couple of months and ended up staying for two years. Her father's sudden death brought her back to the family home, a vineyard near the Blue Ridge Mountains. Once she arrived she was met with one shock after another, her brother had turned from a comfortable but charming slob into a status conscious snob married to a brainless bimbo that Lucie detested, and who Lucie found, was soon to make her an aunt. The next nasty surprise came when Lucie saw that her father had neglected the family home and business, that they were in desperate financial straights and that her brother and sister had already made plans to sell everything, whether Lucie agreed or not. One of the final surprises came when Lucie's godfather told her that her father's death had been no accident.

This series has all the ear marks of a charming cozy, the large cast of supporting characters, an interesting setting, an engaging main character with a few special qualities or quirks. What sets this apart from the usual cozy is that the humor here is rather dry and subtle, usually coming from Lucie's own wry observations of the people and situations around her. This series is much more a 'straight' mystery rather than the seriocomic that is more usual for the genre.

The mystery is sufficiently complex enough to keep the reader guessing at least over some of the details. Crosby has left plenty of loose ends to establish an ongoing story arc for subsequent books. The biggest flaw with this one is that the author spends so much time establishing backstories and on going conflict that the mysteries are often sidelined for prolonged periods but that is often a problem with first books in a planned series.

Anyone who enjoys series mysteries, particularly those with romantic overtones will want to read this and the subsequent novels in the series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Going to be a Bumpy Ride, February 19, 2008
This review is from: The Merlot Murders ((Wine Country Mysteries, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
I started this out on audio, didn't much care for it, then switched to the book and enjoyed it much better.

Lucie Montgomery returns home to Virginia after living for two years in France recovering from a bad car accident that has left her leg twisted and practically useless. But this doesn't get Lucie down; it's just one more thing to deal with. She is returning home because her father, the head of the family vineyard has died from an apparent hunting accident.

Being away so long has left Lucie out of the loop and she returns to find that the vineyard, is crumbling under debt, her brother Eli is determined to sell off the whole shebang so he can build a new more fabulous home and her little sister Mia is now dating the guy that caused the accident that damaged Lucie's leg.

Not that this isn't complicated already, but when Lucie's godfather is found murdered and the rest of the twisty plot of who done its and who will be murdered next, and who has a secret past and who will save the day. Not to mention a hidden necklace that belonged to Marie Antoinette and Lucie's mother's diaries. Yes, parts do get a little confusing with multiple plot lines and some apparent useless information, but hopefully the second in the series will straighten this out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous first Wine Country Mystery, August 2, 2006
Two years ago, Lucie Montgomery had her foot maimed in a car accident. She fled from her Virginia home to spend time in France recovering. Forced to use a cane to help her walk and still overseas she has shown no indication to return to her family's winery.

Her time in Europe ends when her brother Eli informs Lucie that their father Leland was killed in a hunting accident. She comes home to the Montgomery Estate Vineyard for her dad's funeral, but is stunned as the once proud five hundred acres has been neglected since she left. Lucie soon learns why as Leland let the winery go to ruin while he invested in questionable schemes that wiped out the family fortune. Eli and their sister Mia want to sell the winery as they prefer the money to continue with their upper class lifestyle. As stunning as her siblings wanting to sell their heritage, Lucie is further shocked when Mia flaunts her affair with Greg, her sister's former lover and the person responsible for her mutilated foot. Meanwhile Lucie's godfather Fitz Pico warns her that Leland was murdered and anyone else opposed to the sale will probably die too; he leaves her with a key to a box that may hold a fabulous diamond necklace. The next day Fitz is found dead. Lucie believes the killer struck again and plans to uncover the culprit before she joins the murderer's row.

MERLOT MURDERS is a fabulous first Wine Country Mystery that uses a wonderful backdrop to the amateur sleuth investigation. Lucie is a delightful protagonist struggling with her father's death as much as his allowing their estate to become dilapidated. Her siblings make matters worse with their avarice. Fans will enjoy toasting newcomer Ellen Crosby to the sub-genre and think twice while sipping a glass of Merlot.

Harriet Klausner
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merlot Murders, January 12, 2008
This review is from: The Merlot Murders ((Wine Country Mysteries, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
This is a great book especially if you live in or around VA. The characters are really interesting and you learn a lot about wine making. The book is the first in a series of four books and the second one is even better (The Chardonnay Charade). Recommended to anyone who likes murder mysteries.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine writer. Not great at endings., April 3, 2010
The author certainly keeps you turning pages, but her endings are either obvious or contrived (I read all her books). That being said, I probably will read anything she writes because she is so engaging. You can't have everything.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not too dry, Not too sweet, kind of predictable, August 31, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Merlot Murders ((Wine Country Mysteries, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
The book was good for an introduction to the series. Loved the wine growing information. Murderer was not too obvious. book arrived in a timely manner. However, I thought I was buying a Kindle book. When my receipt email came I saw I had clicked the wrong button and was getting a paperback. In the space of minutes it was already in shipping and I could not change my order. This paperback retails for $6.99 and I was charged $7.99 + shipping for a total of over $12!! The kindle version is $5.99. Buyer beware. Watch the pricing on paperback books that you can buy at any bookstore for less.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cozy mystery with great backdrop but unbelievable character, February 28, 2011
By 
BookAppeal (Crown Point, IN United States) - See all my reviews
The unlikely setting of a Virginia vineyard and an amateur sleuth with a badly-damaged leg form the backdrop for a potentially intriguing and entertaining cozy mystery. But the author can't seem to decide if the heroine, Lucie Montgomery, is a frail, young woman needing help with the smallest tasks-- or superhuman, as she's depicted when she takes on the enemy. Though the story kept my interest, the main character is, at best, inconsistent and, at worst, wholly unbelievable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Merlot Murders ((Wine Country Mysteries, Book 1)
The Merlot Murders ((Wine Country Mysteries, Book 1) by Ellen Crosby (Mass Market Paperback - July 31, 2007)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.