A phone call at two thirty in the morning is never good news. Lucie Montgomery's semiestranged brother, Eli, calls her in France to tell her their father, Leland, has been killed in a hunting accident on the family's five-hundred-acre Virginia vineyard just as the fall harvest is about to begin. By the time he calls, Eli has already made funeral ...
A phone call at two thirty in the morning is never good news. Lucie Montgomery's semiestranged brother, Eli, calls her in France to tell her their father, Leland, has been killed in a hunting accident on the family's five-hundred-acre Virginia vineyard just as the fall harvest is about to begin. By the time he calls, Eli has already made funeral arrangements with what Lucie argues is indecent haste. It is an emotional trip home -- the first since an automobile accident two years ago, which left Lucie disabled and dependent on a cane. Her family's once elegant home and winery are now shabby and run-down, thanks to her father's penchant for fringy business deals. Eli, also cash-strapped and desperate to support his new wife's extravagant lifestyle, has already convinced their rebellious younger sister, Mia, to sell the debt-ridden estate and reap the profits from the valuable land it sits on, overruling Lucie's protests. On the eve of the funeral Lucie's godfather, Fitz, a partner in the family business, tells her Leland's death was no accident. Whoever killed him was motivated by the potential sale of the vineyard. It is the last conversation she will have with Fitz. Now the lone holdout preventing the vineyard sale, Lucie realizes she's next in line for another "accident." With her greedy brother, hell-raising sister, and a seemingly cut-rate vintner hired by Leland just before he died, all the suspects are disturbingly close to home. Unsure whom she can trust, Lucie must uncover the truth about the deaths of her father and godfather -- and oversee a successful harvest to save the vineyard she loves. Set in the historic heart of Virginia's horse and hunt country, "The Merlot Murders" is filled with fascinating detail about the science and alchemy of wine making.
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an unexpected treasure
a book you'll want to keep for a re-read
a book you'll want friends to read so you can discuss it
a book you won't want to finish
Mar 27, 2008
Best of Baldacci
I have read all of David Baldacci's novels and while I love his murder/mystery novels, this simple story is his best effort of all. The story, set in the 1940's in Southwest Virginia, is a realistic account of the hard life in Appalachia. It is factually descriptive and touching in a way that most writers can not achieve.
I never read books a second time, but this one is so good that I may just do that!
May 30, 2007
Well-written, Engrossing story
I have never before read a David Baldacci book, so I did not have any notion of what to expect from his writing. From the info on the book jacket, it's clear that this story is a deviation from his norm. I was drawn to the book for it's location, in the mountains of Virginia. Mr. Baldacci has an obvious way with words, and develops both his storyline and characters with depth. I thought he perhaps gave his main character, a young 13-year-old girl named Lou, a bit too much maturity. She seemed to act much older and with much more maturity than someone her age. But you couldn't help but like her, as well as the rest of her extended family. The time (1930's) and place added an additional layer to the story, and one could feel the connection the author has to the area. Although it is not necessarily the genre I would choose to read, I didn't often put the book down, and was satisfied with the overall experience. I would say if given the opportunity to read another Baldacci book I would. I struggled with the Star Rating here -- I would have liked to give it a 3 1/2 stars. But an enjoyable read overall.
Publishers Weekly, 2000-07-17 HBaldacci is writing what? That waspish question buzzed around publishing circles when Warner announced that the bestselling author of The Simple Truth, Absolute Power and other turbo-thrillersDan author generally esteemed more for his plots than for his characters or proseDwas trying his hand at mainstream fiction, with a mid-century period novel set in the rural South, no less. Shades of John Grisham and A Painted House. But guess what? Clearly inspired by his subjectDhis maternal ancestors, he reveals in a foreword, hail from the mountain area he writes about here with such strengthDBaldacci triumphs with his best novel yet, an utterly captivating drama centered on the difficult adjustment to rural life faced by two children when their New York City existence shatters in an auto accident. That tragedy, which opens the book with a flourish, sees acclaimed but impecunious riter Jack Cardinal dead, his wife in a coma and their daughter, Lou, 12, and son, Oz, seven, forced to move to the southwestern Virginia farm of their aged great-grandmother, Louisa. Several questions propel the subsequent story with vigor. Will the siblings learn to accept, even to love, their new life? Will their mother regain consciousness? AndDin a development that takes the narrative into familiar Baldacci territory for a gripping legal showdownDwill Louisa lose her land to industrial interests? Baldacci exults in high melodrama here, and it doesn't always work: the death of one major character will wring tears from the stoniest eyes, but the reappearance of another, though equally hanky-friendly, is outright manipulative. Even so, what the novel offers above all is bone-deep emotional truth, as its myriad charactersDeach, except for one cartoonish villain, as real as readers' own kinDgrapple not just with issues of life and death but with the sufferings and joys of daily existence in a setting detailed with finely attuned attention and a warm sense of wonder. This novel has a huge heartDand millions of readers are going to love it. Agent, Aaron Priest. 600,000 first printing; 3-city author tour; simultaneous Time Warner Audiobook; foreign rights sold in the U.K., Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Turkey; world Spanish rights sold. (One-day laydown, Oct. 24) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2006-06-12 Like a fine wine, Crosby's debut is complex and intricate. Lucie Montgomery, an American ex-pat who's been holed up in France for two years, returns to her family's vineyard in the Virginia countryside after the death of her father in a supposed hunting accident. Once home, Lucie discovers that the vineyard is collapsing under huge debt; her brother, Eli, has turned into a materialistic jerk; her little sister has taken up with Lucie's ex; and her godfather, Fitz, has become a lush. When, on the heels of papa Montgomery's funeral, Fitz is found dead, Lucie's suspicions are stoked. These deaths were no accident, and suspects abound. Crosby, a freelance reporter for the Washington Post, has seamlessly woven in details about wine making and interesting historical tidbits about Thomas Jefferson's (unsuccessful) efforts to establish a wine industry in early Virginia. This is a terrific kickoff to what promises to be a highly satisfying new series. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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