Title: The Riesling Retribution
Author: Ellen Crosby
Release Date: July 27, 2010
Publisher: Pocket Books
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
When Lucie's Gator breaks down in a remote part of her vineyard, she's mildly annoyed. After all, it's just the latest in a series of mishaps and accidents that have been plaguing her operation. But this latest problem turns potentially deadly when Lucie sees a tornado forming and has no way to escape. Luckily, Lucie emerges unscathed from the storm, but the vineyard suffers damage. The tornado also unearths a skeleton, buried for many years, which prompts a police investigation. Their main suspect? Lucie's dead father. As Lucie struggles to protect her father's good name, she most also deal with difficulties around her vineyard.
The fourth novel in Ellen Crosby's Wine Country Mystery series finds Lucie plagued with problems, so much so that this novel isn't really a mystery. Instead, it's a grouping of disparate storylines, some mysterious and others not. Though the dead body is important to the novel, it's these strange "accidents" that are really the core of the novel. When people begin pointing fingers at one another, who should Lucie believe? Does she truly trust her head winemaker Quinn, whom she's had personal and professional issues with since he came to work at the vineyard? It's very important for Lucie and Quinn's ongoing and tempestuous relationship that this question is finally dealt with, and it's happily tackled in this novel.
The Riesling Retributon is certainly interesting - there's a Civil War reenactment happening on Lucie's lands while all these other issues are ongoing, which gives the novel a historical flavor. Lucie's personal life also takes center stage, as her brother must finally face how bad his financial situation is, a storyline that has been developing over the past three books. All in all, it's enjoyable and worth reading, but it probably won’t be very appealing if you haven't read the previous books in the series. This is definitely a follow-up, a continuation, rather than a standalone novel. If a reader were to treat it as such, they would likely be disappointed and confused, as there is a lot that carries over from previous books.
For fans of this mystery series, though, The Riesling Retribution is a welcome addition to this group of books. Lingering questions are answered and new overarching storylines are developed, paving the way for exciting future books. It's very satisfying for those who follow the series, though it is a quieter installment than the novels that have come before it.
Other books by Ellen Crosby: