Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Publisher: Signet
Date published: July 3, 2012
ISBN 9780451237866
Cozy Mystery
Reviewed by Gina
Obtained Via Publisher

Party planner Presley Parker’s latest event is set for a wine tasting in the Napa Valley. Arranged by her chef friend, Rocco, she’s got her crew on board with actress Delicia, filmographer Berkeley Wong and security guard Raj Reddy as well as her crime scene clean-up boyfriend, Brad ready to go. Since it’s going to be a mini-vacation as well as a party Presley also brings her mother along for the weekend. They plan on getting some spa treatments and enjoying the scenery of the Napa Valley. Presley and her mother arrive at the Christophers’ (the party givers) home to quickly find that all is not quite as idyllic as the valley can appear.

First there are what appear to be the Christophers’ winery staff—Allison and Javier. Allison is less than welcoming, a lot less than welcoming. Then there are the neighbors—the Hollywood mogul and the former governor along with their eye candy wives. Rounding out the tension is JoAnne Douglas, president of the Green Grape Association. JoAnne’s mission in life is to make everyone “go green” and she doesn’t do it in the nicest way possible. When JoAnne is found dead at the end of the Christophers’ wine tasting event no one is particularly sorry to hear of her demise. It doesn’t take long till Rob Christopher is taken into custody and charged with JoAnne’s murder.

Not one to let a friend or party host take the fall for a crime they didn’t commit Presley is soon on the case trying to find out who killed JoAnne. It’s not long before another victim is found and an attempt made on Presley herself. Can she find the killer before the killer finds her?

I have one small problem with Penny Warner’s Party Planning series – as soon as each book arrives I can’t wait to sit down and read it. Then I sit there and read it cover to cover, pretty much without being able to put it down and then I have to wait for the next one. It’s on me. It’s totally on me but I so totally enjoy this series I can’t help myself but to just dig into each book. Ms. Warner’s latest, HOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE is the best one yet. This is a fun series if you live in the San Francisco Bay area because Ms. Warner takes you to some of our favorite haunts. If you have visited or aren’t familiar with the area she takes you to some of the most fun places we have. Napa Valley is its own destination location and in HOW TO DINE ON KILLER WINE she hits a number of the high points. While the names of some of the wineries have been changed those in the know can pick out which famous venue she is talking about. The castle, the Victorian and others are well known spots as is the great picnic area hosted by Sattui Winery.

Another thing I have mentioned before that I appreciate about Ms. Warner’s books is that she draws attention to a cause such as Alzheimer’s or, as in this book AA. It is done subtly and with taste and at the same times is very supportive of that particular cause. I’ve enjoyed the growth of Presley and Brad’s relationship – they didn’t rush in and fall in love by the end of book 1 but have had a wonderful development. By the same token, while a sadder component, is the progression of Presley’s mother’s Alzheimer’s. Ms. Warner portrays the impact on family as well as the victim with compassion and warmth and at the same times educates the reader.

So while I’m settling down to wait for the next book in this wonderful series I just might need to reread this one again.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

1 comment:

Penny said...

Wow! Thanks so much for the kind review! You made my day! Party on! -Penny