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One Foot In The Grape by Carlene O'Neil
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One Foot In The Grape

by Carlene O'Neil

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I really enjoyed this new series. What's not to like? - Wine, California wine country, photography and a wonderful new batch of characters? The book is set in the California wine country, and the main charater, Penelope Lively has recently returned to take over the small winery that her aunt has left her. She has left a high-powered job in San Francisco as a photo journalist, and not under very good terms, but she knows she up for this new challenge. When her neighbour who was a friend of her aunt's, and the owner of a very prestigious winery, comes to her for help she doesn't feel she can refuse as Antonia Martineli was a very good friend of her aunt. Antonia thinks that someone is sabatoging some of her wine and she wants Penny's help to find out who from her household is doing it. Penny finds herself in a big family mess when she discovers a body one of the buildings on Martinelli Vineyards. She soon realizes that she may even become a target as someone tries to keep her from discovering the truth. This is a book that very much sticks to the cozy mystery format, but it is fast-paced with plenty of plot twists and red herrings. I like Penny and I love all the allusions to wine making in the book. This part of California is noted for the excellent vintages they produce. The area is described so well that it makes me want to go to visit this area even more than I did before. ( )
  Romonko | Mar 21, 2016 |
Penny has return from her career as a photojournalist to take over the family vineyard. Settling in, she is persuaded by an elderly neighbor to look into the possibility of sabotage. However, discovering a dead body in the grape crusher was not on her to do list. Feeling an urgency to discover the truth, Penny uncovers facts about the neighbors family that make her wonder if the neighbor is ready to find out the truth.

Excellent first mystery with characters I am looking forward to seeing more of. The vineyard/wine references were great. ( )
  cyderry | Oct 6, 2015 |
One Foot in the Grape is the first book in the A Cypress Cove Mystery series.

A wonderful new series, full of mystery and also giving the reader an insight to the wine industry.

Penny Lively, after losing her job as a photojournalist has to decided to come back to Cypress Cove to take ownership of the winery she has inherited from her Aunt Monique. The winery has been running under the capable direction of her winery manager, Connor and her niece, Haley. About six months after Penny arrived, the owner of the neighboring winery, Antonia Martinelli pays a visit. Antonia feels that someone is trying to damage the winery's reputation and asks Penny for her help in finding who is doing the sabotage. Antonia feels that it might be someone within the family or her manager. Penny is reluctant at first, knowing how demanding a person Antonia can be, but feels she owes her for having been such a good neighbor to her aunt in her final days.

When Todd Ryan, who works in the Martinelli's wine tasting room, comes to ask Penny to take photos at is upcoming wedding, Penny takes the opportunity to ask how things are at the winery. He begins to say how great it is to work there, but then seems hesitant to say much more. That evening, Penny, Haley and Connor go the Martinelli's for a Wine Growers Association meeting. While there she sees the eldest of the children, Francesca, can be as strong and as unnerving as her mother and is upset with her mother who has given her brother control of winery. There is doubt that he is capable of handling the job, even though his mother says he has come up with some great improvements to the winery. Then there is Chantal who hasn't met a man she doesn't want to love and Penny feels she is paying too much attention to Connor. As Penny is getting ready to leave the meeting, where she was elected vice-president, much to chagrin of Francesca, she hears a scream coming from the fermentation building. Upon entering the building she can hear one of the crusher running and when she looks into the crusher she finds the body of Todd. With Haley being the last person, other than the killer to see Todd alive, Penny begins to look into Todd's death to see if it might be related to sabotaging that Antonia feels is going on.

With the help of the “town gossips”, Ross Sterling owner/chef of Sterling and Thomas who owns the gift shop, Beauty and Bean, next door, is off to try and learn who and what is behind the attempt to discredit Martinelli Winery.

Penny soon learns of Francesca's shading land dealing, the philandering of Francesca's husband Brice and gambling problems of winery manager Marvin Karp, and is Stephen really as talented as people say he is at running the winery. Penny needs to sort through the facts and find the killer so see can see the next grape harvest.

I really enjoyed this new series, a wonderful cast of characters, and just the right amount of looking into a winery's operation. Looking forward to the next book to see what is up next in the wine country and if Penny and Connor will be willing to admit that there might be mutual feelings for each other. ( )
  FredYoder | May 7, 2015 |
ONE FOOT IN THE GRAPE was a good start for the new Cypress Cove Mystery series.

Although I’m not a wine drinker (not a drinker at all for that matter), the beauty of vineyards are undeniable. While reading this story, it was easy to picture myself among the rows of ripening grapes, with the sun shining on a quiet, peaceful day. Well, you know, if there hadn’t been a murder. ;-)

Author Carlene O’Neil has done a wonderful job on this first book. Well thought out characters, like protagonist Penny Lively, make for an entertaining read. I look forward to watching the growth of these characters in upcoming installments.

Brava to the author for a death I haven’t seen in a cozy before . . . a grape crusher! Once the body is found, the mystery continues to ripen as the book draws to a conclusion I didn’t come close to guessing.

A robust bouquet of well written mystery, ONE FOOT IN THE GRAPE is sure to be a new favorite among cozy fans. ( )
  LisaKsBookReviews | Apr 28, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0425274012, Mass Market Paperback)

In California wine country, the town of Cypress Cove may seem peaceful. But someone’s about to pop their cork…

After losing her job as a photojournalist, Penny Lively is trying to get her life back in focus. Inheriting the family winery from her late aunt may be the fresh start she needs. Thankfully she’s got her niece Hayley and her handsome winery manager Connor to help. But the person in need of more urgent assistance is Antonia Martinelli, the owner of the neighboring winery, who has her own barrel full of problems. Someone’s spoiling her wine, and with the upcoming Autumn Festival, she needs Penny’s nose for clues to sniff out the culprit.

But Penny’s search for answers sours after the body of a staff member is found in a grape crusher. Since Hayley was the last to see him alive, she’s the prime suspect in the case. Now Penny must hurry to find the real killer before Hayley withers on the vine…

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:30:26 -0400)

"In California wine country, the town of Cypress Cove may seem peaceful. But someone's about to pop their cork...After losing her job as a photojournalist, Penny Lively is trying to get her life back in focus. Inheriting the family winery from her late aunt may be the fresh start she needs. Thankfully she's got her niece Hayley and her handsome winery manager Connor to help. But the person in need of more urgent assistance is Antonia Martinelli, the owner of the neighboring winery, who has her own barrel full of problems. Someone's spoiling her wine, and with the upcoming Autumn Festival, she needs Penny's nose for clues to sniff out the culprit. But Penny's search for answers sours after the body of a staff member is found in a grape crusher. Since Hayley was the last to see him alive, she's the prime suspect in the case. Now Penny must hurry to find the real killer before Hayley withers on the vine"--Page [4] of cover.… (more)

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