Ripe for Murder
A Cypress Cove Mystery
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From the author of One Foot in the Grape—a new full-bodied Cypress Cove mystery that is certain to delight, even if one wine lover is about to expire…
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...
Ripe for Murder
This book is the second one in the Cypress Cove Mystery series, but was the first one that I have read. When starting the book I found the characters and background well-described and didn’t feel like I was missing part of the story starting out.
Penny Lively is the owner of her family winery that she inherited from her Aunt. She is looking to build the family business and is approached to invest in a new train tour through the wine country that will bring more tourists to visit her winery. She agrees to go on a tour of this new venture, along with her winery manager (who she has strong feelings for), her neighbor Antonia who runs a very successful winery and Antonia’s daughter Chantal who, at times, has been Penny’s nemesis.
Things are rolling smoothly down the tracks until a murder takes place on the train and Chantal is the prime suspect. Although Chantal is not Penny’s favorite person-the past history between these two is well described in the book-Penny knows that Chantal would not be capable of murder and sets out to find who the killer is. Secrets are uncovered along the way, and Penny puts herself in peril.
This is a well-written book, although I personally would have liked some additional descriptions of the wine country itself as seen from the train. I found the character interactions to be enjoyable and there was enough suspense throughout the book to keep you guessing. I’m looking forward to going back and reading the first book in the series.
Second book in series!
Ripe for Murder by Carlene O’Neil is the second book in A Cypress Cover Mystery series. Penelope “Penny” Lively owns Joyeaux Winery in Cypress Cove, California which she inherited from her aunt. Penny and her neighbor (and friend), Antonia Martinelli have been invited to St. Katrina Silverado Mission Inn and Spa by a train line company. The company wants to set up a rail line through the area and it will stop at the local wineries (which will mean more visitors and sales for the wineries). Penny and Antonia will be contributing land instead of money (for the rail line). Connor Lavigne, Penny’s manager, will be attending with Penny. Penny is attracted to Connor but has yet to act on it. Maybe they will have a chance to get closer on this trip. Unfortunately, Chantal Martinelli is attending with her mother. Chantal and Penny do not get along. Chantal is a big flirt as well as annoying. One of the potential investors is Dave Dupont of Dupont Automotive who has brought his new wife, Tara (she is a piece of work). The group then boards a train to experience the companies train tours. They are at the Berninni Winery when Chantal and Tara have a fight (cat fight). Penny actually comes to Chantal’s defense (shocking). The group departs back to the train. Soon the train comes to a sudden halt. Someone pulled the emergency brake cord. Tara Dupont is dead on the tracks and Chantal is the main suspect (found unconscious in the last car). Penny might not be fond of Chantal, but she does like her mother (who wants her daughter cleared). So Penny starts sleuthing to find Tara’s real killer.
Ripe for Murder was too much like a romance novel. I read mystery novels for the mystery (shocking I know). There was too much fixation on Connor by Penny (feeling that Chantal was paying him too much attention, Connor spending time with Chantal, admiring his physique, etc.). Penny and Connor are not even dating. I hate to see what Penny would be like if these two were a couple. One thing that did not make sense was Penny’s blood phobia. She faints at the sight of blood (happened more than once). Not a good trait for a sleuth. I think it is supposed to be a quirky trait, but it came across as ridiculous (I think it was just an excuse for her to be caught and carried by Connor). The author did provide good clues and does a credible attempt at misdirection. I did find that the killer was obvious, and I knew who had done the deed as soon as the murder scene was described. Ripe for Murder is the second book in the series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone book (information from the first book is included). I give Ripe for Murder 3 out of 5 stars. I will read the next book in the series to give it another chance (to see if the writer has improved).
I received a complimentary copy of Ripe for Murder from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.