Death in a Wine Dark Sea by Lisa King. Publisher: The Permanent Press (June 22, 2012). Mystery/suspense. Hardcover. 352 pages. ISBN 978-1-57962-282-4.
After her best friend’s much older and rather shady husband, millionaire Martin Wingo, goes missing [and shortly turns up dead] aboard a yacht immediately following the wedding, wine columnist Jean Ahlquist becomes engulfed in the mystery despite her dislike for the groom. She’s doing it for her friend and to satiate her own curiosity. She didn’t particularly care for the arrogant Wingo and his less than legitimate business dealings. The opinionated, independent Jean joins up with Wingo’s former techie, the very young and super geeky Zeppo. The two are a strange pair but it works. As they connect the pieces, their own lives become imperiled.
The best aspect of Death in a Wine Dark Sea is that Jean is strong and unconventional. She’s Mad Men’s Peggy in Joan’s body. I really enjoyed the main characters. The mystery revolved around too many subjects—business associates, ex-wives, mistresses and then once the reader finds out about Zeppo’s past that gets brought in– and it became confusing at times.
I just kept reading and it all worked out in the end without having to flip back and forth too often. Luckily I wanted to know what happened. I wanted Jean to get to the truth. I wanted to see how she’d fare in the end. I became invested in Jean’s journey from the beginning which is part of the secret to creating a quality character. I’ve found that if I don’t stress too much then it all unravels if there’s a skilled writer behind the story. Author Lisa King certainly holds a lot of promise in the mystery genre. If you’re a wine connoisseur or enjoy the occasional glass of wine, you’ll find it ludicrous or delightful as everything Jean eats gets paired with wine illuminated with commentary.
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