Saturday, April 2, 2016

Ripe for Murder

Author:  Carlene O'Neil
Series:  A Cypress Cove Mystery  #2
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Berkley
Pulbished:  March 2016

Description:  Penny Lively loves running her family’s winery, but to keep business growing, she needs to find a way to attract more guests. When she’s approached to invest in a new train line through wine country, Penny and her intoxicating winery manager, Connor, hightail it to a lavish resort to hear the details. Unfortunately, her neighbor’s daughter, Chantal, is also there, swirling up trouble by flirting with the married investors—and with Connor too.   

When one of the investors’ wives is murdered, Chantal, who was seen fighting with the woman, is the prime suspect. Chantal may be a sour grape, but she’s no killer. So Penny, who’s become a sleuthing connoisseur, starts sniffing out the real suspect—and discovers that her fellow potential investors have been savoring more than their share of deadly secrets.

My Review

This is the second book in this series and I found it to be just as good as the first.  Ms. O'Neal has a wonderful writing style that is descriptive and flows at a nice pace.  This book had me engaged from the begining and I didn't stop turning the pages until I knew the identity of the culprit.

In this second installment, the author does a great job of setting up the new characters that are relevant to this story while continuing to develop the main characters.  I like Penny Lively as the protagonist.  She is smart, independent, a little sarcastic and has a really good sense of humor. I really enjoy the character of Antonia as well.  She is a strong woman with her own opinions and isn't afraid to voice them.  The relationship between Antonia and Penny is developing nicely despite the age difference and they are becoming better friends. They are thrown together in this story as they work to clear Antonia's daughter Chantal, who is suspected of murder.  I also like the way the relationship is developing between Penny and Connor.  I am interested to see how it develops in future installments.

The mystery is perfectly plotted with several plausible suspects and plenty of clues, twists and turns.  I like that the mystery still involved the winery business, but this time we leave Cypress Cove behind and are introduced to a whole new cast of characters.  There is plenty of tension as Penny tries to clear Chantal's name and the story line has a wonderful pace. The author has done a wonderful job staging the murders in this story.  There is a lot of suspense and I was kept guessing as to the identity of the killer until the very end.

This was a wonderully written book, full of suspense, tension, a well plotted murder and wonderful characters.  I am really enjoying this series and can't wait to return to Cypress Cove to see what trouble Penny can get herself into in the next installment.

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