A Woody Robins Mystery by Edward Finstein
Review: Woody Robins's nominal job is a faculty member at a San Francisco college where he teaches a class in wine appreciation. But his knowledge of wine provides him the opportunity to take on assignments like finding a rare double magnum of red wine first bottled by Napoleon Bonaparte and now missing from the vault of a wealthy collector in Pinot Envy, the first mystery in this series by Edward Finstein.
The wine is owned by James McCall and was stored in a specially constructed climate-controlled safe room, complete with 24-hour video coverage. When Woody asks McCall who knew about the safe, he replies "Everyone!" But Woody is able to narrow down the number of suspects by focusing on a dinner party held at McCall's estate the night the bottle went missing: ten or so friends and family plus the staff. Assuming one of these people is the culprit, Woody sets out to identify which.
Pinot Envy follows a fairly predictable manor house mystery formula. A crime has been committed, an investigator is brought in to do a bit of sleuthing, and a resolution is announced to gathering of the suspects at the end. The whodunit element is nicely integrated into the storyline, but would have been more effective had Woody been stranded on the property for some reason and remained steadfast to the matter at hand. As it is, he is able to move about freely and deal with day-to-day issues, not the least of which is, should he agree to allow his current love interest to move in with him. All a bit tiresome. That said, Woody the wine guru is the star here, and readers interested in pairing mystery and wine will likely enjoy all the facts and trivia that are presented, mostly in context to the story but even those that aren't are fascinating all the same.
Acknowledgment: Bancroft Press provided an ARC of Pinot Envy for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Pinot Envy: San Francisco, Napa Valley, California
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Pinot Envy by Edward Finstein — A Woody Robins Mystery
Publisher: Bancroft Press
Publication Date: July 2013
List Price: $21.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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