The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby – #Audiobook Review

The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby

Book Blurb:

The death of a former presidential candidate in a fiery car crash at her Virginia vineyard has ties to a 30-year-old murder, as well as to Lucie Montgomery’s own near-fatal accident 10 years ago, as she searches for a killer who now may be stalking her.

When Jamison Vaughn – billionaire real estate mogul, Virginia vineyard owner, and unsuccessful US presidential candidate – drives his gold SUV into a stone pillar at the entrance to Montgomery Estate Vineyard, Lucie Montgomery is certain the crash was deliberate. But everyone else in Atoka, Virginia, is equally sure that Jamie must have lost control of his car on a rain-slicked country road. In spite of being saddled with massive campaign debts from the recent election, Jamie is seemingly the man with the perfect life. What possible reason could he have for committing suicide? Or was it murder?

Before long, Lucie uncovers a connection between Jamie and some of his old friends, an elite group of academics, and the brutal murder 30 years ago of a brilliant PhD student. Although a handyman is on death row for the crime, Lucie soon suspects someone else is guilty. But the investigation into the two deaths throws Lucie a curve ball when someone from her own past becomes involved, forcing her to confront old demons. Now the race to solve the mystery behind the two deaths becomes intensely personal as Lucie realizes someone wants her silenced – for good. 

My Review:

Book 8 in the Wine Country Mystery series, I reached back aways for this one. I’ve enjoyed the Wine Country series and the aura, mystique, and history of the Virginia vineyards and countryside. There is always more to learn about the craft of wine making.

The Vineyard Victims by Ellen CrosbyIn this installment, Lucie Montgomery witnesses a horrific accident at the same location she experienced the accident that resulted in her permanent disability. She tries to rescue billionaire and unsuccessful US presidential candidate Jamison Vaughn but was driven back by the flames. The accident—or was it an accident?—starts an investigation into his death that ultimately reaches back thirty years. Something he said to her before Jamie died—and she’s promised to deliver the message.

This particular entry became multi-layered, tying not only the former presidential candidate, but her own past. She has never forgiven her ex-boyfriend for the accident and her injuries and it still weighs heavily on her.

When she gets closer to the secrets held so long, people told her to back off. But she wouldn’t and didn’t and with the help of her fiancé Quinn, discovers the shocking truth. In so doing, she may have found, at long last, the way to ease her burden as well.

This entry just didn’t grab me as well of two previous reads, The Angels’ Share and Harvest of Secrets. I suspect because of the complexity involved in the plot, the normal share of history and wine making secrets devolved well into the background and concentrated instead on the mystery.

I’ve tended to jump around and borrowed whatever I could and each have been interesting though obviously I have my favorites. It’s a series I’ll continue reading or listening to.

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio
ASIN: B0778Z14SP
Listening Length: 7 hrs 57 mins
Narrator: Christine Marshall
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Vineyard Victims [Amazon]

Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Ellen Crosby - authorThe Author: Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone. THE FRENCH PARADOX, the 11th book in the wine country series will be out 1/29/21 in the UK, 4/6/21 in the US and 3/1/21 as an ebook. Before writing fiction, Crosby–who has lived in England, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union–worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at http://www.ellencrosby.com and follow her (very) occasionally on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, sometimes on Twitter at @ellencrosby–but mostly on Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor. She also writes an erratic (but interesting) newsletter.

 

Christine Marshall - narratorThe Narrator:  Christine Marshall is an actress, director, and designer who makes her home in Maine. She is a member of the Mad Horse Theatre Company and the Maine State Ballet, works on many independent Maine theater projects and films, and appears regularly on local commercial television. As a narrator, she recently won her first Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine for her work on Dancer.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody by Barbara Ross – An #Audiobook – #amateursleuth

Yahoo! Book one of a new series!

#audiobook - Jane Darrowfield Professional Busybody

Book Blurb:

Jane Darrowfield is a year into her retirement, and she’s already traveled and planted a garden. She’s organized her photos, her recipes, and her spices. The statistics suggest she has at least a few more decades ahead of her, so she better find something to do….  

After Jane helps a friend with a sticky personal problem, word starts to spread around her bridge club – and then around all of West Cambridge, Massachusetts – that she’s the go-to girl for situations that need discreet fixing. Soon she has her first paid assignment – the director of a 55-and-over condo community needs her to de-escalate hostilities among the residents. As Jane discovers after moving in for her undercover assignment, the mature set can be as immature as any high schoolers, and war is breaking out between cliques.   

It seems she might make some progress – until one of the aging “popular kids” is bludgeoned to death with a golf club. And though the automatic sprinklers have washed away much of the evidence, Jane’s on course to find out whodunit….

My Review:

As a big fan of author Barbara Ross and her Maine Clambake Mysteries series, I was delighted to see an audiobook for her new series, Jane Darrowfield. Jane is a widow, retired, and has done all those things women save for retirement. Now at odds but finding a niche with her intelligent guidance in a number of “discreet” situations, Jane is cultivating a “fixer” rep.

Of course, being a senior myself, it’s fun to see a growing influence in the “senior sleuth” genre. And a strong, independent, and intelligent woman to boot, she represents a new face to the cozy sleuthing genre as well.

Jane Darrowfield, Professional BusybodyIn this first entry, we are introduced to Jane as she attempts to discern and solve the problem at an over 55 condo community—amenities to die for—apparently. A well paid assignment that requires her to move to a temporary unit, it doesn’t take long to realize she’s landed back in high school, including the cliques (groan), the jocks (read golfers), and a motorcycle gang.

Jane has an easy personable way of infiltrating and begins to realize what she is up against when one of the popular boys is found murdered on the golf course. In the meantime, we are introduced to her new (maybe) boyfriend Harry (if he’ll just back off the protective male attitude a bit) and Detective Alvarez. I had to agree with Jane about Harry (for awhile—then began rooting for him) and he and Det. Alvarez are great support characters.

While Jane may be a bit more difficult to warm to, walk in her shoes, or identify with, all three are shaping up to produce some good chemistry in characters that are engaging.

The author has a wonderful subtle way of building up the suspense, providing clues and twists. The conclusion throws the well-plotted pace into high gear and I must admit that although I’d given the ultimate perp some thought had toyed with dismissing that one too.

On the whole, a lively novel that builds suspense, keeps engagement, and is highly entertaining. Nice to have a senior portrayed as a person still very capable, physically as well as mentally. A great start to a new series!

FTC Disclosure: I downloaded the audiobook from my locally well stocked library and greatly enjoyed the narrator as well as the storyline.

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Audible Books
ASIN: B08BF53LH5
Listening Length: 6 hrs 29 mins
Narrator: Traci Odom
Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Jane Darrowfield, Professional Busybody [Amazon] 

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Barbara Ross - authorThe Author: Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and the Jane Darrowfield Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at http://www.barbararossauthor.com

Traci Odom - narratorThe Narrator: Traci Odom, American-born actor and voice artist with 150+ titles narrates under her name, as well as Tieran Wilder for erotica and wild romance. She loves working closely with her authors and publishers and delights in inviting listeners into her worlds of romance, witchcraft, devilry and love. Check out my pseudonym website at www.tieranwilder.com. Accents: American English, British English, Irish, Midwest, New York, Russian, Italian

©2021 V Williams