Decanting a Murder

Decanting a Murder

by Nadine Nettmann


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Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettmann

Can Katie Solve a Case of Chateau Murdeaux?

Katie Stillwell focuses on two things in her life: work and practicing for Sommelier Certification with her blind tasting group. The exam was supposed to be the hardest part of her week, but that was before a body was found at an exclusive Napa Valley winery party.

When all the evidence points to Katie's best friend, the outspoken and independent Tessa, Katie drops everything to clear Tessa's name. Using her deductive wine skills, she tries to track down the real killer. But when repeated attempts are made on her life, Katie discovers that everyone's secrets must be uncovered—including her own.


A 2017 Anthony Award Finalist for Best First Novel

A 2016 Agatha Award Finalist for Best First Novel

A 2017 Lefty Award Finalist for Best Debut Mystery Novel

"Filled with amusing characters, snappy dialogue and delicious wine pairings, this mystery delivers a fast, sophisticated ride with just enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the final confrontation."—RT Book Reviews ()

"This debut mystery has a sympathetic main character with secrets in her past, well-drawn secondary characters, a possible love interest, and fascinating detail on wine, wineries, and wine making skillfully woven through the story."—Booklist

"Nettmann's lead character Katie Stillwell, aka 'The Palate', as an amateur sleuth is a perfect pairing in this intricately crafted sommelier mystery. At turns fascinating and suspenseful, I was thoroughly captivated by the story and enjoyed every turn of the page. Uncork me another!"—Jenn McKinlay, New York Times bestselling author

"The quiet hillsides and vineyards of California's famed Napa Valley have produced many famous vintages over the years, and first-time mystery author Nettmann knows this territory well . . . The first in a very promising series."—Brendan DuBois, a multiple award-winning author and a three-time Edgar nominee

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738748504
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
Publication date: 05/08/2016
Series: A Sommelier Mystery Series , #1
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 238,508
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Nadine Nettmann, a Certified Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers, is always on the lookout for great wines and the stories behind them. She has visited wine regions around the world including Chile, South Africa, Spain, Germany and every region in France. Nadine is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in California with her husband.

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Decanting a Murder 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in "A Sommelier Mystery" and I am ready to read the next one. The book opens with the protagonist, Katie Stillwell, failing the Sommelier Certification test. Hoping that attending the celebration of 100 years of Frontier Winery as the guest of her best friend Tessa will cheer her up, she tries to shake it off. The party starts off well, but shortly after the festivities get off the ground, a body is found in a vat of fermenting grapes. Tessa is the prime suspect, but Katie knows she would never kill anyone. Her goal is to prove her innocence. Katie's father is a well-known police chief and she had actually attended police academy with the intention of following in his footsteps so she is no stranger to solving crimes. Because of this, the detective in charge, Detective Dean, allows her to ride along and he listens to her when she has suspicions and gut feelings. It does not mean he will share everything, but he is a little freer with information than he should be. Of course as often happens, Katie ends up becoming a target as she gets closer to the truth. Katie Stilwell is a great character. She’s level headed, smart, witty, charming, pays attention to detail, and proves that she does have pluck and sticktoitiveness. Tessa on the other hand, is the party girl who just wants to have fun. Unfortunately, this often gets her into trouble and she has difficulty holding down a job. I was not to impressed with her as a character, but the relationship between these women was very special. The author does a wonderful job getting us into their heads and developing their characters. The final character that I hope will be a main character in this series is Detective John Dean. He and Katie had a bit of a flirtatious relationship and I would love to see this develop. The mystery was well plotted with red herrings and real clues scattered throughout the story. I thought I knew who the killer was, then changed my mind multiple times as the story progressed. This makes for an enjoyable read to me. I loved the information given about the Sommelier process, wine pairings (although I would love to see food listed as well as atmosphere) and the Napa Valley area. There was just enough of this to make it an enjoyable read, but not overtake the story. A great cozy mystery, with enough suspense and description to make this a series that I will watch for.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Never before have I read a book that pairs a wine with each chapter. I would be careful drinking while reading the book because there are 28 chapters (I know that it sounds like a good time) it can also be dangerous. :) I was entertained throughout the entire book. This is also coming from a person who doesn't read mystery very often. It is a perfect starter mystery for people wanting to jump into the genre and perfect book for wine lovers everywhere! I highly recommend this book!
InspirationalAngel531 More than 1 year ago
Title: Decanting a Murder - A Sommelier Mystery 1 Author: Nadine Nettmann Published: 5-8-2016 Publisher: Midnight Ink Pages: 264 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Women Sleuths; Cozy Mystery; Women's Fiction; ISBN: 9780738748504 ASIN: B019KKTX9Y Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4 1/2 Stars . Sommelier - a wine steward in a restaurant, hotel, or other establishment, who supervises the ordering, storing, and serving of wine) Katie Stillwell has made the study of wines the center of her daily life. Studying for her sommelier certification. When she is invited to a prestigious and exclusive party at the Frontier Winery to celebrate its 100th Anniversary. When the owner winds up dead in a vat of wine with Katie's flighty friend, Tessa's cork screw sticking in her chest. Katie immediately steps up to prove her friends innocent of any crime. When Tessa finally is found she has no answers for police or Katie about how her cork screw ended up in her boss, Mark Plueger. A bit of an airheaded party girl, or is it just a front for a cold blooded killer. Katie's loyalties say the first, Detective Dean believes the latter. Who will be proven correct in the end? Katie is a strong character who is loyal to friends to the point of sometimes turning a blind eye to their frailties and flaws. As is the case of Tessa, whom I believe is not as deserving of Katie's faith in her innocents as she gets. I want to get to know ate better and liked her from the beginning. I would like to see more of her world in the future, but I can only hope those around her are as worthy of her friendship as she deserves. My rating is 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Debb23 More than 1 year ago
I actually would give this a 3 1/2 star. Let me get my dislikes out of the way first. Tessa, Katie's supposed best friend, it seemed more Katie taking care of Tessa and no give back from her. Tessa is accused of murder and her only thoughts seem to be where the next party is and have fun. Katie questions her and everything was I don't know or remember. I also wasn't crazy about how Katie would tell Det. Dean who to question, what to look into like she was lead detective. There was one part that totally irritated me but I won't go into because I don't want to give any spoilers. Okay that all out there, now onto the good. I loved the book at the start, it was interesting and Tessa actually didn't bother me too much then. I like Katie on the whole, she's dealing with some personal emotional issues and I think that she comes to terms with it. I do like Dean and I hope that he develops a bit more. I love Katie's boss, a steady, strong character. The talk of wine was interesting, loved the setting of the vineyards and the mention of it in the beginning of each chapter gives a little hint to that chapter was fun. The mystery was good and kept me guessing although I did have a strong suspicion as to who it was. I will continue on with this series because I think as these characters develop this is going to be a great series.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Full Bodied Debut with Hints of More to Come When I went to Malice Domestic last month, I had a list of books I planned to buy while I was there, but I’m sure it’s a surprise to no one that I also make multiple spur of the moment purchases. One of those was Decanting a Murder, the debut from Nadine Nettmann. I was so excited about it, I dove into it as soon as I had a break in my reading schedule. Katie Stillwell’s life revolves around wine. She’s been practicing for her Sommelier Certification while working as a wine expert at a San Francisco restaurant. And this weekend, she is getting the experience of a lifetime – she’s been invited to an exclusive party at Frontier Winery. The winery is normally closed to the public, but it is open this weekend to celebrate its 100th anniversary. Katie’s best friend Tessa works there, and managed to get Katie an invitation to the exclusive event. The party seems to be going well until Katie hears a scream. When she goes to investigate, she finds the winery’s owner, Mark Plueger, floating in a vat of wine. Suddenly, the party is over, and Tessa is nowhere to be found. Where did she go? Did she have something to do with the murder? Can Katie figure out what is happening? The book starts out well and never lags in pace. There is always something interesting happening to keep us turning pages, and I had a hard time putting the book down. The ending caught me by surprise, although I wish it had been given a bit more time to breath. While everything is explained, it felt very rushed. Katie is a strong main character, and I really did like spending time with her. Tessa could be a bit much, seemingly all over the place at times, but most of the time I liked her as well. A couple of the other characters could have been more fully developed, but overall, the rest of the characters are good and provide us with viable suspects. I’ve just finished this book, but I’m already interesting in visiting Katie to find out what happens next to her. I was bothered by how the detective investigating the case, Detective Dean, seemed to include Katie in his investigation at times. I know enough to know that was a highly unrealistic aspect of the book. However, I was having too much fun to truly be bothered by it. Instead of wine tips at the back of the book, each chapter is paired with a different wine. The pairings are actually quite clever and give a hint of the action to come. Since there are 31 chapters, there are plenty of suggestions if you want to broaden your pallet after you’ve finished the book. Decanting a Murder is an enjoyable debut that promises more great mysteries to come. The elements are there to allow this series to age like a fine wine.
CozyUpWithKathy More than 1 year ago
an enjoyable read for oenophiles and teetotalers alike DECANTING A MURDER by Nadine Nettmann The First Sommelier Mystery Katie Stillwell is a sommelier trying to advance in her most difficult profession. Invited to an exclusive wine event at an even more exclusive winery, Katie intends to enjoy the experience and the fine wine. The festivities have barely begun when a scream shatters the jovial atmosphere. The owner of the winery has been found dead, stabbed by a corkscrew and left in a vat of wine. The corkscrew turns out to belong to Tessa, Katie's flighty friend, a winery employee who invited her to the tasting...and Tessa cannot be found. Katie owes Tessa and is determined to use the skills of her profession, and tips her cop father taught her, to nose out the real killer! It takes skill and a discerning palate to become a sommelier; to use all your senses to uncover the mystery in the glass. Katie takes these skills to help her friend in this first Sommelier Mystery. Katie Stillwell is a likable protagonist. She's eminently relatable; someone with whom you'd like to spend time and get to know. She's sassy, but dependable. Her best friend, Tessa, however, is another story. Tessa's erratic and irrational behavior translates to a variety of mental disorders in my book. If that's what the author was going for, she succeeded. Otherwise readers are left with an unstable convoluted character whose behavior doesn't correspond to the action. The mystery itself is top shelf. Nattmann lays out some red herrings and I was led astray by several characters. As for the details, Nettmann obviously knows her wine. The addition of pairing suggestions at the start of each chapter is a delightful and appreciated touch. DECANTING A MURDER is a great start to a new mystery series, an enjoyable read for oenophiles and teetotalers alike. Nettmann is able to bring an elite career down to earth and tell a good story all the while imparting her wisdom and obvious love for the world of wine. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
StudentofParables More than 1 year ago
Benjamin Cooker, I have a new apprentice for you to take on! I say this in jest, and will try to stay away from too many comparisons in this review, but suffice it to say that fans of the Winemaker Detective series will enjoy this one greatly as well! Katie is an amazing character. I definitely would love to meet her in real life. She is very observant and quick-thinking, the author using her observations and trains of thought to paint well-rounded scenes throughout the work. This made for a very fast and fun read, as we encounter everything in the plot at the same time Katie does, her reactions mirrored in the reader’s own, making her character that much more real. One aspect throughout this work that reminded me of the Winemaker Detective was how much each protagonist loves the story behind things. In each instance, when the authors allow the characters to give us extra details, little behind-the-scenes anecdotes, it helps immerse those not as familiar with the wine world, allowing us to gain new understanding of the reasons people are so passionate about it. And that is what the reader takes away upon closing the cover of this excellent story, just how much the author’s love for her subject, her passion, shines through in her characters. The five people sitting around the table in the last chapter are not tropes, they embody the depth of the author’s training, and the community that share that passion with her – making it come alive for the reader. This is how you write a book! Highly recommended! I received a review copy of this work from the publisher
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Decanting a Murder by Nadine Nettmann is the first book in A Sommelier Mystery series. Katie Stillwell just took her Certified Sommelier Exam (the first step in a four step process to become a Master Sommelier). Katie knows she did not do well because she choked (which she does quite often) on the blind tasting portion (after bragging that she is The Palate). But she does not have time to dwell on it, because she is off to an exclusive event at the Frontier Winery to celebrate their 100th anniversary. The Frontier Winery is not open to the public (only members of the Frontier Wine Club). Katie is lucky that her friend, Tessa Blakely, works for the Frontier Wine Club and wangled her an invite. Katie is enjoying a wonderful wine and the company of Jeff Kingman (who is flirting with her) when they hear a scream. One of the servers has discovered an arm sticking out of a fermentation tank. The arm belongs to winery owner Mark Plueger. The number one suspect ends up being Katie’s friend, Tessa (who disappeared during the party). Katie wants to clear her friend (who is flighty, lively party girl who likes to drink) and involves herself in Detective Dean’s investigation (he is the lead detective on the case and is interested in Katie). Tessa protected Katie many years ago, and Katie will do anything for Tessa (blind loyalty). Will Katie be able to clear Tessa and find the real killer? What happens when the suspects start turning up dead? You will have to join Katie in Decanting a Murder! Decanting a Murder was a wine, it would be considered a bad vintage (undrinkable). The pace is slow (snails were zipping by me). The novel just drags on and on toward the inevitable (and predictable) conclusion. The characters (as well as the book) are flat (they are just meh)! It lacks depth/substance. Clues are nonexistent (you do not need them though). The killer was obvious (actions speak louder than clues). I was hoping this would be a great new series, but I was disappointed (I’m sorry, but I am being honest). The premise (basic idea) is good, but I did not enjoy the final product (this book). I think the author needs to start over with new characters. Katie comes across as awkward (with issues) and Tessa is someone I would really rather not associate with (what winery would hire someone who drinks that much especially during a party when they are supposed to be working). I give Decanting a Murder 2 out of 5 stars. If there is another book in the series, will I read it? Probably not. There would have to be significant improvement for me to read it. I received a complimentary copy of Decanting a Murder from NetGalley (courtesy of the publisher) in exchange for an honest review of the novel.