Book Review of Harvest of Secrets by Ellen Crosby

I’ve just returned from a virtual visit to the lovely area of Atoka/Middleburg, Virginia. From a visit to my friend Lucie Montgomery, owner of Montgomery Estate Vineyards. It was a lovely, inspirational experience, in spite of the murder which occurred on a neighboring vineyard, uncertainty concerning the approach of a potentially harvest devastating hurricane, a somewhat disturbing historic discovery and the appearance of a new family member.

Sorry for the run-on sentence, but Harvest of Secrets, a Wine Country Mystery, contains a lot of plots in a concise package. Oh, to possess the smooth writing ability of author Ellen Crosby. Her worldly knowledge from life experience pairs so well with her love of history and nature, her accurate portrayal of the trials of life we all must face, accept, rationalize in our own way.

Lucie and Quinn, her winemaker/fiancee have few secrets from each other, but Lucie takes her time in telling him and the rest of her family of the discovery she makes after a DNA test. Ever the investigator, Lucie is compelled to unravel the mystery behind the discovery unearthed by her vineyard staff and the murderer who may turn out to be a friend, relative, neighbor, valued employee.

This is, I believe, the ninth installment of the Wine Country Mystery series. How can I come close to describing the spirit of these stories? They are a bit melancholy, yet uplifting, educational, entertaining. The series began shortly after Leland, Lucie’s father’s passing. Twenty-something Lucie was burdened with the task of renewing the estate and the wine business.

She has fulfilled that role efficiently over the years and the relationship we readers hoped would form between Lucie and winemaker Quinn has come to fruition. The latest in the series will be one of my next reads. I haven’t yet found a story in this series which wasn’t superlative. They’re not your typical modern, lighthearted cozy. Still, they never fail to leave me feeling better.

Book Review of Furmidable Foes by Rita Mae Brown

Furmidable Foes is yet another well-crafted story in this long running mystery series by Rita Mae and feline friend, Sneaky Pie.

Complex due to the inclusion of a side story that takes place in the eighteenth century, based in the same territory as the modern times tale—this one featuring springtime peonies, matching lipsticks, church events that include pets, seasonal farming and horse breeding facts, the more intelligent than humans discussions and antics of main character Mary Minor (Harry) Haristeen’s pets, Pewter, Tucker, Pirate, Mrs. Murphy.

As the fourth of July approaches, expect fireworks of all kinds in this wonderful classic installment of the tales I never tire of, the Mrs. Murphy Mysteries.

Our mature indoor tabby reminds me of Mrs. Murphy. Our younger tabby who forced her way into our home between one and two years ago behaves oddly, and not always politely, in a similar manner to Pewter. Have I been reading too many of these tales? Examining the behavior of animals too closely? Impossible.

A highly recommended read for lovers of dogs, cats, horses, wildlife, whimsy, and history