cover image Sour Grapes

Sour Grapes

Martin Sylvester. Villard Books, $18 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-40442-2

Sylvester's ( Rough Red ) fourth mystery to feature wine merchant William Warner is aglow with the invigorating color of Crete. Called to the Greek island of his long-ago lover Maud to investigate the sudden disappearance of her current amour , con man extraordinaire Nick Cruickshank, Warner is warned by a native that ``nothing is as it seems.'' The engaging oenophile finds the saying all too true as the trail to Nick involves him with a stash of unsold paintings, the illegal antiquities market, the CIA and a NATO missile firing installation. Complicating matters still further are an assortment of Greek families; one includes an absentee landlord and his exiled son, while a second seeks revenge for the grief of a wronged daughter. The island landscape plays as important a role as its people: Warner climbs the White Mountains, encounters goats and shepherds, swims the warm, salty Aegean, suffers the extreme temperatures of coastal heat and cavern cold--all in the name of justice. A labyrinthine conclusion crowns this altogether clever, charming and suspenseful read. (June)