Taylor O'Brian has started a
new business conducting “Off the Beaten Path”
Wine Country Tours. She is living with her Aunt Jemma in Sonoma
Country. During her first tour one of the members of the group,
Laura Scott is murdered, and Taylor becomes a person of interest
in the killing.
Taylor knows only one thing for certain – that she
did NOT kill Laura Scott. With the press hounding her and
the police not seeming to actively seek another suspect, Taylor
takes Aunt Jemma's advice and launches her own investigation.
Thank goodness she has her newly found puppy, Millie, to help
her cope with the stress! Someone abandoned the poor pup in
Aunt Jemma's vineyard and that in itself is another mystery
in search of an answer. The dog was microchipped, but the
owner can't be found, and Taylor hopes that the person never
is found so she can keep Millie forever.
This is an interesting debut and for the most part, I enjoyed
it. The characters and plot are well thought out and none
of the clues too obvious. The cast of characters is fairly
large, though, and I think that for future books a list of
characters at the front of the book might be helpful. Also,
Taylor's unwillingness to listen to her lawyer and not talk
to anyone about the case became annoying. She talked to anyone
and everyone, including the police without benefit of counsel.
Taylor also put herself in harm’s way even when she
knew the police would be arriving to deal with a particularly
dangerous situation. I'd love to see the author give her a
better sense of putting her own safety ahead of acquaintances
and potential suspects.
The ID theft ring is a timely part of the plot, and I found
that just as interesting as trying to figure out who the killer
Overall, the story is a good one, I love that there are animals
included and I see the potential for a hit series with a few
character tweaks and some added romance and humor.
Reviewers Note: Nancy J. Parra also writes the Perfect
Proposals mysteries and the Baker's Treat mysteries.