Title: The Bordeaux Betrayal
Author: Ellen Crosby
Release Date: July 28, 2009
Publisher: Pocket Bookx
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
Lucie Montgomery has done her best to put her past behind her and focuses instead on running her family's vineyard in Virginia. She is collecting bottles of wine for a charity auction when a friend gives her a priceless gift - a bottle that Thomas Jefferson ordered for George Washington. Thrilled at the publicity the bottle brings to the charity auction, Lucie doesn't think twice about it. That is, until wine historian Valerie Beauvais hints that the provenance of the bottle might not be as solid as Lucie thinks. But when Valerie is murdered before she can tell Lucie anything, Lucie begins to question whether this bottle of wine might be worth killing for.
The Bordeaux Betrayal is the third of Ellen Crosby's Wine Country mysteries, after The Merlot Murders and The Chardonnay Charade, and it's a worthy addition to the series. Crosby takes the reader back to Lucie's vineyard, and once again, she creates a beautiful and atmospheric backdrop for her series. Vineyards have a certain romanticism about them, and Crosby doesn't spare any details when describing her setting. Readers can close their eyes and feel the warm breeze, smell the vines and fresh earth, taste the delicious wine; this book is really a feast for the senses.
The novel centers around a bottle of wine that Thomas Jefferson, a wine enthusiast, supposedly purchased for George Washington. Crosby includes a good deal of history in her novel, and it's clear that she researched the backstory thoroughly and based this plot point in fact. However, if you are already familiar with the Jefferson wines, the information provided may leave you wanting. While I enjoyed the novel as a whole and was thrilled with the inclusion of this bit of history, I felt like Crosby could have done more with the Jefferson bottle.
Crosby doesn't disappoint when it comes to information on wine in The Bordeaux Betrayal. She relates all kinds of knowledge n the guise of a mystery novel, and it's wonderful to experience. What's more, she does it while keeping the reader completely entertained - the twists and turns of the plot are enough to satisfy the most discerning mystery reader, while all the information about wine is just icing on the cake.
I have enjoyed all of the Wine Country mysteries and am glad that I still have more to read before I'm caught up with the series. Lucie is a wonderful character - smart, yet completely human and flawed - and fans of the series will really devour this installment. If you haven't read the series, The Bordeaux Betrayal is easy enough to dive into as a standalone, though you may be confused about some of the character relationships. Either way, this is a book that's definitely worth reading.