Murder Comes To The Vineyard
What is Alice Tricklebank Willing to Risk?
How did a request for a simple bloodhound search of a vineyard leapfrog into a murder investigation? Alice Tricklebank and her bloodhound Audrey awaken to gunshots only to find the body of Guthrie Huff in the main house and another body among the tendrilled grapevines. Like it or not, Alice is again entangled in a stiff-necked investigation with suspects holding secrets and scars close to their chests. But this time her dear friends, Lena and Julian, are not immediately available to cobble a story together. Alice is on her own in California.
The police begin their investigation by questioning Alice’s presence. Did Guthrie believe Alice’s dog could find her son’s grave? Detective Joshua Galati follows with more questions: is there a link between Cade’s seven-month disappearance and his mother’s death. Galati is uneasy with Alice’s amateur conclusion that Guthrie was the first to shoot. The police identify the second body as Xavier Nettle, a bartender at a biker bar called The Hungry Fool. But what was he doing at the vineyard in the middle of the night?
Eleanora, the grandmother, with her oversize hope that her grandson Cade is still alive, wants him to come home. The lawyer Roddy Merritt has the paperwork prepared for Cade to be named Eleanora’s heir. But Guthrie’s sister Rayne is shocked to read in an online newspaper of Guthrie’s death and dredges up their history as she confronts Eleanora. Elka, the house manager adds perspective by spilling dark secrets of Cade’s brutal father.
When Alice’s daughter Jess is pulled into the investigation because she is a yoga friend of Guthrie, Alice worries. If the investigation becomes too intense, her protective daughter might not allow Henry to spend the summer with her.
Alice finds she’s not alone in the investigation afterall. A policeman back home calls to explain the significance of wadcutters, and her granddaughter works to hack into Cade’s secret file on his tablet. Witt, a young private eye, contacts Alice because he carries too much information about a revenge site and a bad guy named Noose. Then her friends Lena and Julian cut short their California vacation to reunite the snooping posse from Limekiln. But Lena’s plot to sing bawdy songs at The Hungry Fool causes Alice’s knees to jump with fear. Is it a bad idea or just plain loopy?
So many questions to answer. Was Cade murdered or did he leave seven months ago? If he left, why didn’t he take his identification, money, and Jeep? Who killed Guthrie? Why did Noose threaten the Huff family before Cade disappeared and then again two weeks before Alice arrived at the vineyard?
Rib-poking time hustles Alice to butt into lives if she plans to attend her grandson’s graduation. Skyping for the past year with family is no replacement for hugs. And Audrey becomes a prankster, miffed that her favorite toy was left behind in Limekiln. Alice promised her grandson that she’d have her keister planted on the bleachers for the ceremony. Can she keep her promise? Tick-tock. Better hurry, Alice!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Christine Watson for Reader Views (11/18) “Murder Comes to the Vineyard” by Georgann Prochaska is a light-hearted murder mystery with Audrey, the bloodhound as the main assistant. This book ties together the excitement of a mystery to solve, relationships with family and friends, and the love of a dog. Ms. Prochaska has a way of not taking herself too seriously, which leads to a well written book that is an easy read for a reader looking for some light entertainment. Alice and Audrey are the lead characters in this series, and Alice is a very likeable grandmother who is sharp and very dedicated to her high maintenance dog, Audrey. Together, they make a great team, ready to solve any murder mystery that comes their way. This time, they are on vacation going to the high school graduation of Alice’s grandson. They end up staying on the property where two murders take place, putting them right in the middle of the turmoil. Some local authorities want their help, and others want them to stay out of their way. Helping to solve this murder investigation while maintaining good relations with her daughter and grandchildren becomes a challenge. Soon, many people are involved, including friends and family of Alice. Audrey is always a helpful hound eager to smell her way to solving murders as well. I really enjoyed this story and found it easy to read. The author leaves violence to the imagination, which I appreciate in a book. The characters come alive with the writer’s words, making them easy to like (or not like). This book offers humor, emotions and of course, mystery! As an animal lover, I love to have the added element of a pet in the story. I highly recommend “Murder Comes to the Vineyard” to murder mystery lovers of all kinds. Georgann Prochaska brings the California vineyards to life with her descriptive writing. Except for the murder, it sounds like a place I’d like to visit someday!
Ms. Prochaska has just completed the fourth in the series of her highly enjoyable "Snoopypuss" mysteries, and it's a winner! For those of you not familiar with the series, it involves Alice Tricklebank (a retired, widowed English teacher), her friend Lena, Alice's bloodhound Audrey, and other members of her "posse" solving murders and finding missing persons. It's a colorful collection of characters. Naturally, this latest addition to the series involves the intrepid "posse", both human and canine, and mysterious murders. The plotting is fast paced and convoluted, lots of possible suspects, and so is a thoroughly enjoyable read. A real page-turner. I won't give away the details, BUT, there is a bar scene which is one of the funniest set pieces that I've read in a long time. The pacing and juxtaposition of the ribald and the morbid is amazing. The hilarious shenanigans of Lena and another elderly character, and an interview concerning a dead gunshot victim alternate rapidly, creating an almost surreal picture. It's laugh-out-loud funny. An added bonus is the enticing color of a different locale, the California wine country, becoming an integral "character" in the plot. If you've seen the movie "Sideways" you'll know what I mean. I give it five (out of five) stars. Don't miss!