How to Dine on Killer Wine: A Party-Planning Mystery Mass Market Paperback – Jul 3 2012
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“The Killer Party series is delightful!”—Meritorious Mysteries
“A party you don’t want to miss.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Denise Swanson
“The books dish up a banquet of mayhem.”—The Oakland Tribune
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
And, I guess, therein lies the problem I have with this series. I just don't particularly like Presley Parker. And one thing she did in this book made me lose all respect for her:
The hosts of the pary, graciously invite Presley and her mother to stay in their home during the festivities. They are given adjoining guest bedrooms. Presley has no qualms whatsoever about SNEAKING her boyfriend into these people's home so he can spend the night in her room. Inappropriate. Unprofessional and just plain CRASS. The bottom line is this series is just silly. No more for me
The reasoning behind Presley helping the investigation to help a client she hardly knows is a bit thin, but once you get past that, this is a fun mystery. Presley has a great sense of humor, and I like the observations she makes about her event-planning experiences. One distraction in the otherwise excellent writing is the awkward inclusion of product brands. Depending on how they are used, adding a brand can add realism to a book, but when misused, it can take the reader out of a scene. Some of the dialogue seems more like product placement than a way to help the reader visualize the scene, but luckily this didn't occur too frequently.
I like this quick and fun to read book, even though I don't always find Presley likeable! It is admirable the way she takes care of her mother Veronica, who is battling early-onset Alzheimer's disease, and she is a wonderful boss to the employees of her party-planning business. The scenes between Presley and her mother are both amusing and touching and are some of my favorite moments in the book. I hope Veronica's condition stays stable for several books to come.
However, Presley often comes across too immature for someone who owns and manages her own business. She is invited to stay in the winery owners' home, but then she sneaks her boyfriend Brad in for a late-night rendezvous, which seems extremely unprofessional. I would like Presley more if she could manage her life as well as she does her business. I would have also liked to see more everyday interaction between Presley and Brad as well as between Presley and her assistants, who are interesting characters when they do appear. The victim and the suspects are all hiding things which make the investigation harder for Presley, but more exciting for the reader. Overall, the combination of planning a party and solving a murder are more compatible than they seem and Presley is determined to overcome any obstacle to uncover the true murderer.
If you like the Coffee House mysteries by Cleo Coyle, then you should enjoy this new party-planning mystery by Penny Warner. The plot isn't complex, but the interesting characters and humorous dialog make this a book worth reading. Tips are included at the beginning of each chapter and at the end of the book to help you host a wine and cheese-tasting party of your own. Cheers!
This review was originally written for The Season EZine. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
Presley Parker's event planning business is the toast of San Francisco. In this installment she takes her business on the road to Napa Valley for a wine tasting event for the Purple Grape, a boutique winery.
JoAnne Douglas, the head of the Green Grape Association, an environmental group, believes the small local wineries are ruining the local environment and she is determined to shut down the event.
But the corks are popped, the amuse-bouches have been served, and a good time was had by all. Well almost everyone. While Presley and her crew was doing the clean up chores, they were shocked by what they found under one of the tables. The what was a who, and none other than JoAnne Douglas and she was quite dead.
Of course all the evidence points to the hosts of the party, but the victim had several individuals that wouldn't mind seeing her corked. Presley is on the case to find the real culprit even if she has to take some time and taste a lot of wine in the process.
I love this series and all the reoccurring characters. Meeting the winery owners this time was quite a treat, they are as unique as their homes. The wineries are marvelous, picture a medieval castle complete with suits of armor or a Tuscan style mansion. Penny Warner is so descriptive in her writing you almost feel like you are right there in Napa Valley.
Presley just can't stop herself, she just has to do her own investigating and takes her mother along for the ride. Thankfully Brad is there to clean up most the messes she gets herself into. My favorite character in this edition was definitely Presley's mom. She is battling early Alzheimer's but she doesn't let it slow her down.
Warner also includes some Party Planning Tips for wine tasting parties or those of us just wanting to learn more about wine. We also learn what about another great pastime in the Valley. No spoilers here you will have to read the book.
Pure pleasure to read. Pour yourself a nice glass of wine. Sit back and enjoy this perfect party mystery. It is most definitely A Perfect Escape!
I also had a problem with not only sneaking her boyfriend into the house she was staying in during a work event (and getting caught doing it), but the repeated snooping...even though she kept getting caught at that too. This is just not an intelligent character.
Hope she matures in the next one because I'm getting tired of her.
Even Presley's boyfriend, Brad Matthews, looked more sophisticated driving his SUV with the crime scene cleaner logo on the side, but by the time she showed up at the Christopher's Tuscany-style mansion, she'd be a pro. They owned the Purple Grape and were throwing a party to introduce their new line. Independent Napa growers were being trounced on by Napology, who was trying to buy them out and then there was that "wine pest," JoAnne Douglas. Everything had to be "green" or she was going to throw a hissy fit. She was known for threatening people, the type of person who wasn't exactly known for winning friends and influencing others.
Victoria, Presley's mother who had early-onset Alzheimers, was hot to trot and appeared to be falling for Larry, her bingo buddy, but the party must go on. And it did. Sleazeball lawyer Kyle Bennett was hitting on Presley, the new merlot was a hit, and the Grape-Stomping River Dancers were gonna stomp. The guests were raving that the party was "off the hook," but everyone had overlooked one little problem. "Oh no. Presley. Not another dead body," Victoria exclaimed to her daughter. Someone had bludgeoned Ms. Douglas with a bottle of merlot and for good measure stabbed her with a corkscrew. Had they been frolicking all the time with a corpse under the table? And then there was the floater. Would Presley be able to figure out whodunit before she became the third one?
Presley Parker has once again planned a killer party, a real corker. The lighthearted nature of the plot and daffy way Presley went about solving this whodunit made the tale very relaxing and popcorn popping fun. Of course her partner, her mother Victoria, pointed her to the bingo hall where "a wealth of information" was awaiting them. This is one of those perfect beach books where Presley, a wannabe Jessica Fletcher, bumbles and stumbles onto clues that lead her right to the culprit (and almost to her own demise). This tale is as delectable as a fine Napa wine and as amusing as a bottle of "Two-Buck Chuck" on sale. If you like your cozy mysteries a tad on the silly side, you'll love this one!
This book courtesy of the publisher.