The Viognier Vendetta, A Wine Country Mystery is Ellen Crosby’s sixth novel and the fifth novel in the Wine Country series.

Lucie Montgomery, the series’ likable and very human protagonist, joins her friend, Rebecca, in Washington, D.C. for a reunion.  Though Lucie wonders about Rebecca’s motives in inviting her—she hasn’t seen her friend in twelve years—she allows herself to be convinced to go.  They meet at the Lincoln Memorial, then visit the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial where Rebecca leaves flowers for her real father but doesn’t bother to find his name on the wall.  When Rebecca excuses herself to run an errand, refusing to allow Lucie to accompany her, Lucie searches for the man’s name without success.

Rebecca doesn’t return from the errand.  The next day police contact Lucie and ask her to come to a site on the Potomac River.  She expects the worst, however detectives only ask her to identify Rebecca’s clothing, which was found neatly folded in a rowboat.  Despite intensive efforts, divers can’t locate the young woman’s body.

Rebecca’s employer, Sir Thomas Asher, accuses the missing woman of stealing from him and plotting the downfall of his financial empire.  The circumstances of her disappearance don’t clearly indicate whether it was murder, suicide, or an elaborate game of take the money and run.

Rebecca, perhaps realizing the danger she faced, left clues for Lucie in a bit of eighteenth century verse and arranged for Lucie to meet a man possessing more pieces of the puzzle.  Lucie feels an obligation to her friend to unravel the intertwined vines of the mystery and to discover whether Rebecca is living or dead.

Unlike the Viognier, Crosby’s novel concludes with a bittersweet finish.  She offers a taste of winemaking and an insider’s look at some of Washington, D. C. It’s a must read for every lover of cozy mysteries.

Publication Date:  August, 2010