Of Merlot and Murder: A Tangled Vines Mystery

Joni Folger. Midnight Ink (www.midnightink.com), $14.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-7387-4076-8

There’s more foul play in the South Texas wine region in Folger’s lively and entertaining follow-up to her 2013 debut, Grapes of Death. It’s the Lost Pines Food and Wine Festival, and horticulturist Elise Beckett is not about to sit still when Miss Abby, her beloved grandmother, becomes a suspect in the death of Divia Larson, the vindictive wife of Miss Abby’s ex-boyfriend Garrett Larson. The death of chef Grace Vanderhouse, who had hidden ties to Divia, follows. Despite warnings from her boyfriend, hunky Deputy Jackson “Jax” Landry, Elise dives headfirst into the case, corralling her sister, brother, and best friend into snooping with her. The Beckett family is close despite their frequent bickering, and their dialogue rings true. The wine background is also handled well—enough for verisimilitude without overwhelming Folger’s well wrought whodunit. Agent: Christine Wittholm, Book Cents Literary Agency. (Sept.)