Thursday, May 11, 2017

Uncorking a Lie: A Sommelier Mystery

Uncorking a Lie by Nadine Nettmann is the second book in A Sommelier Mystery series.  It is January in San Francisco, California.  Katie Stillwell is a sommelier at Trentino.  Katie is surprised when she receives a dinner invitation from frequent customer, Paul Rafferty.  Paul has recently purchased a 1975 Chateau Clair Bleu, and he will be opening it at the dinner.  Katie arrives and is greeted by Paul’s assistant, Cooper Maxwell.  Cooper has been flirting with Katie, but she does not have time for a relationship.  Other attendees are Leanor Langley, Simon Watkins, Roberto Marini, and Alicia Trager along with her husband, Martin.  The group sits down to eat and Paul has Katie open the wine (which has special meaning to Paul).  One sip and Katie knows that the wine is a forgery.  She does not want to ruin Paul’s night by telling him, but Cooper can tell something is wrong.  Katie tells Cooper who then starts asking the other guests rather pointed questions.  Cooper disappears after dinner into the wine cellar.  When he does not return, Katie goes looking for him and finds him at the bottom of the steps.  Cooper is rushed to the hospital, but he does not survive.  The next day Paul arrives at Trentino and Katie tells him about the fake wine.  Paul purchased the wine at an auction from a private seller.  He hires Katie to find the seller for him.  But Cooper’s killer is less than thrilled with Katie’s nosy questions. Will Katie be able to unmask the killer before he strikes out at her?

Uncorking a Lie follows the traditional formula for a cozy mystery.  There is a dinner (the event), a victim, investigation, and reveal.  The mystery was simple, and the identity of the culprit is easy to decipher.  Katie Stillwell is an awkward character (and hard to like).  Katie lacks discretion when sleuthing. She is unable to pull off her own cover story (it is obvious she is lying).  Katie continually mentions she has no time in her life for dating.  She is too busy working and studying for the next level of the sommelier exam (she always has wine on the brain).  But she can spend countless hour running around San Francisco and Sonoma Valley asking her pointless questions?  Katie is a character who lacks self-esteem and is not willing to let anyone get close to her (she also has daddy issues).  I found several bits of information repeated frequently throughout the book (Katie and her exam for instance).  I did not feel that the characters were completely fleshed out (very flat) nor was the story. I give Uncorking a Lie 2 out of 5 stars (it was predictable and boring).  Uncorking a Lie is just right the length and can be finished in a couple of hours. It is the second book in the series and can be read as a stand-alone.  Each chapter has wine pairing suggestions for those who like to imbibe.  A Sommelier Mystery series is just not the right cozy mystery series for me.  I prefer more engaging characters with a complex mystery.  Decanting a Murder is the first book in the series.

Thank you for visiting today.  I will be reviewing Silent Rain by Karin Salvalaggio on Friday.  May you have a very special day. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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