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Dying on the Vine: A Mystery (Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries) Hardcover – April 4, 2017
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"The second in this cozy series offers both a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making the perfect wedding and a surprisingly tricky mystery." ―Kirkus Reviews
"Dying on the Vine is a hilarious blend of murder, mayhem, and matrimony. Marla Cooper's writing is as fresh and sparkling as a glass of champagne in this wine-country wedding cozy." ―Stephanie Blackmoore, author of Engaged in Death
"A lot of blood, sweat, and tears can go into planning a destination wedding. Among all the normal hitches and emotional meltdowns, wedding planner Kelsey McKenna also manages to find a corpse or two, making Dying on the Vine a delectable cozy read. A lavish Napa Valley setting and a cast of engaging characters are a delight, while Marla Cooper’s breezy style is the icing on a gorgeous tiered cake. Readers will have a hard time putting down this book until they’ve devoured every morsel!” ―Barbara Early, author of Death of a Toy Soldier
Praise for Terror in Taffeta
"This mystery novel is a real roller coaster with twists, turns and dips at every corner. Just when readers feel like they know who the bad guys are, their world is rocked by more information and more suspects. The end is unpredictable but believable and readers will be all too delighted to go on this ride that the author has masterfully crafted."―RT Book Reviews
"Red herrings and intelligent sleuthing make this cozy a winner."―Publishers Weekly
"This cozy debut introduces a competent new amateur sleuth whose profession is sure to provide myriad problems along with a cast of quirky characters and plenty of motives and red herrings that keep you guessing."―Kirkus Reviews
"The lush setting adds appeal, and the destination-wedding frame gives the tale a kind of locked room dimension."―Booklist
"Marla Cooper is one funny lady. Her debut mystery, Terror in Taffeta, crackles with sharp writing and clever plot twists. I definitely say "I do" to this rollicking romp through a wedding from hell." ―Laura Levine, author of Death by Tiara
"Feisty and funny, Marla Cooper's debut novel shines as she encapsulates the best the genre has to offer, with a quick-witted heroine, a puzzling page turner of a plot, and a cast of quirky characters like no other. I highly recommend this terrific first in a series!" ―Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Chocolate Demise
About the Author
MARLA COOPER is the author of the Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries. As a freelance writer, Marla has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku, and it was while ghostwriting a guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her series. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her writer husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.
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Top Customer Reviews
While helping Brody in his booth at a bridal fair, Kelsey meets a couple who want to hire her. Another wedding planner, Babs Norton, was working with them, but the bride's father fired her. When Kelsey goes to the former wedding planner's office to pick up their file, she finds Babs dead. Then Babs' nasty assistant publicly accuses Kelsey of killing Babs.
WIth a cast of characters that includes other wedding planners, winery owners, wedding couples and their families, there are plenty of suspects, red herrings and plot twists. And it's all done in a fun, breezy style that makes Cooper's mysteries fun to read. If you haven't read this one, or her Kelsey McKenna debut Terror in Taffeta: A Mystery (Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries), you are missing out.
While Kelsey specializes in weddings at far flung locations, she knows that not everyone can afford them, so she also does some weddings closer to home, in the wine country of Napa, California. Still, she’s not planning to pick up any clients when she heads to the Wine Country Wedding Faire since she’s there to help friend and go to photographer Brody Marx at his booth. Still, she winds up taking on a couple who need help with their wedding since they’ve had to switch wedding coordinators just a few weeks before their big day.
Their former wedding coordinator was Babs Norton. While Babs is professional about her clients switching to Kelsey, Babs’s assistant is much less so. Stefan Pierce is quick to accuse Kelsey of poaching clients. However, the last thing that Kelsey expects when she arrives at Babs’s office to pick up the couple’s file is a dead body on the office floor. With the police looking at her as a suspect, Kelsey figures it is only a matter of time before the accusations start affecting her business even if she isn’t behind bars. Can she find the killer before her reputation is ruined?
While I don’t drink wine, I grew up in Sonoma County (next door to Napa County), and it is always fun to return home via the pages of a fictional book. There are so many wineries up there it is easy to picture the settings where the various scenes take place. As with the first book, I could easily get lost in the setting.
Kelsey has an assistant, Laurel, who only appeared via a few phone calls in the first book. She’s around much more in this book, and I loved getting to know her much better. Between Kelsey, Laurel, and Brody, we have an awesome threesome. These are great characters, and I loved spending time with them. We meet many suspects here, and they are as well developed as the series leads.
Naturally, this means that it isn’t easy to pick out the villain. I had fun sitting back and watching Kelsey try to distinguish clue from red herring until she landed upon the truth. Naturally, when she did arrive at the truth, it was logical based on the clues she had found. And the climax was wonderful.
I can’t leave out the humor. Kelsey, Laurel, and Brody share plenty of banter between them that had me smiling if not laughing and underscores their friendships, an aspect of the book I absolutely loved. Kelsey’s first person narration adds some great humor and infuses the mystery with a sense of fun that make the pages fly by all too quickly.
As I turned the final page of Dying on the Vine, I was sorry to be saying goodbye to Kelsey again, and I’m already ready to attend her next mystery. Be sure to crash this wedding, I mean book, for a delightful time.
NOTE: I received an eARC of this book.
Marla Cooper strikes a nice balance of humor, mystery, danger, and romance in DYING ON THE VINE. Protagonist Kelsey is personable and appealing. Even though she is no fan of confrontation, she does all she can to bring the culprit to light. She does find herself in some precarious and funny situations, but at no point did I think she was “too stupid to live”. Brody and Laurel are also likable, and I particularly enjoy the bantering between Kelsey and Brody. The supporting characters are engaging and offer enough variety to keep things interesting. Stefan is simply horrible, but, in the end, I do feel sorry for him.
The mystery surrounding Babs’ death is well thought out and executed. With each clue Kelsey unearths, the potential suspect list grows, and there are plenty of red herrings to keep readers guessing. The killer is unexpected, and I love it when I do not figure out whodunit early in the book. The northern California setting is beautiful, and I feel like I have been on a mini wine country vacation while reading.
I really enjoyed my time with Kelsey and crew and look forward to reading more in, what I hope to be, a long running series. I recommend DYING ON THE VINE to any cozy reader, especially those who enjoy a heavy dollop of humor to go with the investigation.
I received an ARC of this title from the author through Cozy Mystery Review Crew and voluntarily shared my opinions here.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
And suspenseful almost immediately.Read more
We find wedding planner Kelsey McKenna helping out her photographer friend Brody at the Wine Country Wedding Faire.Read more