cover image Harvest of Secrets: A Wine Country Mystery

Harvest of Secrets: A Wine Country Mystery

Ellen Crosby. Minotaur, $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-250-16483-4

The discovery of a skull on the property of vintner Lucie Montgomery in Atoka, Va., kick-starts Crosby’s well-crafted seventh Wine Country mystery (after 2017’s The Vineyard Victims). Besides trying to determine the origin of human remains on her family land, Lucie must deal with the emotional impact of the appearance of a previously unknown half-brother. Meanwhile, French winemaker Jean-Claude de Marignac, to whom she was attracted 20 years earlier in France, arrives to take over as head winemaker at a neighboring winery. De Marignac’s subsequent murder once again puts Lucie on the sleuthing trail. The action is complemented by thoughtful, nuanced considerations of Virginia’s history of rocky race relations, modern agriculture’s dependence on immigrant farm labor, and fascinating digressions into the history of slavery-era textile design. Crosby is a steady hand in unraveling the tangled subplots, and she populates Lucie’s world with sympathetic secondary characters who come fully alive. Fans of contemporary regional mysteries will be well satisfied. Agent: Dominick Abel, Dominick Abel Literary. (Nov.)