Title: Pasta Pinot & Murder
Series: Willa Friday Food & Wine Mystery
By: Jamie Lee Scott
Author’s Website: http://www.jamieleescott.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Love food? Enjoy a nice glass of wine? How about a murder mystery?
Food blogger Willa Friday is excited to start training her new assistant to make recipes and style food. And she’s excited that A Dish in Thyme is finally making enough money to hire an assistant. But she has other obligations too, like the food photography for the annual Whine & Roses Benefit poster.
Dreading her meeting for the poster, Willa gets a surprise when she arrives for the meeting and the vineyard owner is dead.
With her mother-in-law as the prime suspect, Willa reluctantly gets involved in the investigation. In the process, she learns of the many secrets the vineyard owners of Pear, California are hiding, which puts her directly in the killer’s line of fire.
I felt right at home with Willa in wine country. And now that I have finished the book – I ask myself – why have I never read a book by Jamie Lee Scott before? Pasta Pinot & Murder is the first in the new series “Willa Friday Food & Wine Mystery” by Jamie Lee Scott. I must say, right from the beginning I was comfortable with the storytelling and writing style as well as the flow of the story. The characters were also relatable – though I must say – who actually lives with their ex? I am interested in seeing where (if at all) that goes.
This book (and I suspect entire series, as it gets written) will embody several things I enjoy – wine, food and photography. I was kept in the dark as to ‘whodunit’ for most of the story – which is exactly how I like my mysteries.
The whole town and surrounding wine country brought back memories of a wine tour in California I took a number of years ago. I could visualize the wineries, the town and this made the story so relatable (well, except for the murder part, of course).
Willa Friday is the main writer and owner of A Dish in Time food blog. Her blog is more than just about food; it is also about wine. She lives in the Sonoma Valley on a family owned winery along the Russian river (her ex-husbands family to be exact). The way Willa describes her work certainly makes me want to be food blogger and photographer:
“…This was the fun of food styling and photography for me. The magic of making a mouthwatering plate of food, then taking pictures of my creation in all of its glory; the perpetual beautiful food or drink.”
Willa has committed herself to the annual Whine and Roses benefit; a task it seems she is not too keen on:
“I had to admit, I even got a sour taste in my mouth when W&R was mentioned.”
Willa dreaded the meeting with Alice (organizer of the benefit), but it was a necessary evil, after all she did get paid well for this event. This is when the murder mystery begins for when Willa approaches Alice’s house, she notices that the door is slightly ajar. Hmmm…Willa enters the home, walking slowly into the kitchen area…and then she notices the shattered crystal pitcher and…. Alice dead on the floor.
The list of potential suspects is long enough and includes Willa’s mother-in-law (oh…ex-mother-in-law actually). Since Willa is living at the winery, she feels a responsibility to figure out who killed Alice. From there the fun begins as Willa sleuths away. And of course there is the requisite police department – but it seems that they just can’t figure it out. Good thing Willa is giving them a hand ☺.
I quite enjoyed Willa’s sarcastic wit and banter:
“Hattie’s husband had died long ago, right after I married Peter. Alice’s poor husband was dying a long, slow death. That was mean. I didn’t mean it like that. Aw heck, I guess I did.”
To reiterate, while I had suspicions about “whodunit”, I was pleased that my suspicions were not confirmed until the end. The author introduced the characters with just enough information and past history to make them part of the story, yet leaving us wanting more. I suspect (but will have to confirm this) that these characters will be featured more prominently in the books to come? A mystery for me to solve ☺
As hoped, there are a number of recipes at the back and I can’t wait to try the Cucumber Avocado sandwich with Pomegranate mayo…sounds delicious!
I found this mystery a delight to read and I will certainly seek out more titles by Jamie Lee Scott. My first foray into her writing was a success.