Saturday, April 1, 2017

Dying on the Vine: A Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mystery

Happy April Fool's Day!  This is my least favorite day of the year. My parents delight in playing practical jokes on me!  Do you have a prankster in your life?  If so, you have my deepest sympathies!

Dying on the Vine is the latest novel by Marla Cooper. This is the second book in Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries.  Kelsey McKenna is a destination wedding planner in San Francisco, California.  She is attending the Wine Country Wedding Faire to assist her friend, Brody, a wedding photographer.  He has a booth at the fair and needs extra assistance.  In the afternoon, Brody introduces Kelsey to Haley Bennett and Christopher Riegert.  They are in desperate need of a wedding planner for their event in four weeks at the Higgins Estate.  Kelsey agrees to meet them the next morning.  The day is going well until she runs into the obnoxious Stefan Pierce, assist to Babs Norton of Weddings by Babs. Stefan seems to delight in being rude, condescending and nasty.  Kelsey is glad when she escapes his presence.  The next day she meets with her new clients.  It turns out that they originally had Babs as their wedding planner until Haley’s father fired her.  Kelsey bites the bullet and calls Babs.  Babs agrees to meet Kelsey the next morning and turn over the files on the wedding (the bride knows none of the details regarding her wedding).  Kelsey picks up pastries along the way.  Kelsey hits the buzzer and receives no answer.  She finally sneaks in when someone exits.  The door to the offices is open and Kelsey enters when no one responds.  Kelsey is startled when a phone rings and the pastries go flying around the room.  She gets down on the floor to pick them up and discovers Babs dead behind the couch.  Kelsey manages to call the police despite her fright.  She attends Babs’ funeral with her assistant Laurel and is invited back to Babs house afterward by the deceased sister, Margot.  Stefan is not pleased by Kelsey’s attendance and announces to one and all that she killed Babs.  When this announcement affects her business, Kelsey starts searching for the real killer.  Kelsey will need to be cautious since it seems to be open season on wedding planners.  The killer strikes down another one and, if Kelsey keeps poking around, she could be next.

Dying on the Vine is a humorous cozy mystery that has more of the cozy element.  I found the book to be easy to read with a good flow.  The main character owns her own business, is clumsy, babbles when nervous, and prefers to avoid confrontations (uncomfortable situations, people she does not like, etc.).  I prefer strong female characters who are intelligent and confident (especially when they own their own business).  While this is the second book in the series, it can be read alone.  Terror in Taffeta is the first book in this series.   I give Dying on the Vine 3 out of 5 stars.  It is just not my type of book.  I am not a fan of the inane humor in Dying on the Vine.  It had me rolling my eyes until I gave myself a headache.  The mystery was complex (which is why I gave it a 3) and many readers will not guess the identity of the killer.  The descriptions of the wine country were lovely.  I can see why brides like to have weddings in Napa Valley.  If you enjoy comical cozy mysteries, then I suggest you give Dying on the Vine a try.

Dying on the Vine will be out on April 4.  Thank you for visiting today and reading my latest review.  I will see you when I return tomorrow with my review of The Ebb Tide by Beverly Lewis. Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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