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The Chardonnay Charade (Wine Country Mysteries #2)

3.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  969 Ratings  ·  116 Reviews
Mixing fine wine and murder produces "another hit" (Kirkus Reviews) in Ellen Crosby's second mystery as Virginia vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery discovers that uncovering a killer can bring a harvest of dilemma and danger.

Lucie Montgomery thinks she has troubles enough with a freak spring frost that is threatening to kill her tender young Chardonnay grapes, but when the
Paperback, 330 pages
Published July 29th 2008 by Pocket Books (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,534)
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Laura W
Aug 22, 2010 Laura W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As Chardonnay Charade begins it is about nine months after the events of the previous novel. Lucie and her winemaker Quinn have managed, despite their differences, to keep the vineyard going. Unfortunately the Virginia spring has turned unseasonably cold forcing them to drastic measures to keep the vines from freezing. Even more unfortunately after two sleepless nights of battling the weather a guest from a reception held at the vineyard is found dead among vines that had just been sprayed with ...more
Jul 31, 2016 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't entirely certain I wanted to continue the series after I wrote my last review but I somehow figured that the later books would be much easier to follow and more interesting. Turns out I was right about that. I like this book significantly more than the last. I liked how the ending turned out, and of course I'm not going to elaborate because I don't want to spoil it, but it was kind of a surprise. I enjoyed getting to know Lucy and Quinn a lot better in this novel as well as getting to s ...more
Nov 21, 2015 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Having lived in a wine region myself, I was amused at the scene where the vineyard owner and protagonist, Lucy Montgomery, is questioned because she was drinking another wine than her own. Lucy responds that they don’t want to get a “cellar palate,” taste so focused on their own style that they can’t distinguish subtleties and even problems. I know that there was a winery where the winemaker and his family would only drink their own wine. It changed very little from year to year and, in spite of ...more
Jan 16, 2016 Kari rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2016-read
The second book in this series was also enjoyable. Lucie has decided to keep the family vineyard, and, though a bit strained, her relationship with her wine expert Quinn continues to develop. The book begins with the threat of a late-May freeze and the effect it will have on the grapes. After a night with a helicopter flying low over the fields to prevent frost, Lucie discovers the body of local politician Georgia, her face disfigured with the chemicals being used on a recently-planted vine. Dom ...more
Tyrannosaurus regina
I still like this series more than most other cozies I've read, but this second book took some steps in directions that aren't really my cuppa. The love triangle (or quadrangle, or maybe some other geometric shape) felt strange and forced, and when it comes to Lucie and Quinn's relationship I'm being told that it's entirely antagonistic but I'm being shown a much stronger friendship than that. And the repeated focus on Kit's weight and eating habits was uncomfortable at best. But again I liked t ...more
I'm very glad I read the article in Culture Map written by a local food critic. She suggested several "culinary" mystery series including the Wine Country Mysteries. I'm becoming quite fond of Lucie Montgomery and her friends. In THE CHARDONNAY CHARADE the wife of Lucie's doctor is murdered in a very grotesque way. This book is a cozy and while not hard-boiled, it's a little "heavy" so let's call it soft-boiled! Well written, lots of information about wine and wine making in Virginia. Beautiful ...more
Good read...great historical backing of old Virginia families as well as info on Virginia vitaculture of wine. And we all know I lovvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeeeee wine.
Ginger Weirich
Feb 15, 2016 Ginger Weirich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another story of murder and betrayal. I wish I had been able to read these in order as the recurring character development is part of what “rounds” them all out, but each story does stand well on its own. A particularly grisly murder takes place on Lucy’s property following a charity event, and Lucy, of course, is the one who finds the body. It is followed by a “suicide” and a vehicular homicide. Then, naturally, there is the blame game, and Lucy is off and running. Another very well wri ...more
So this book was good, but also frustrating. The biggest complaint I have is that there was almost no mention of what happened in the first book--the main character contributes to the accidental death of her uncle--in any kind of lasting way. Also, her former fling killed her godfather. But no lasting scars.
The silly struggle I had--the narrator gave this woman--a native and resident of the Leesburg area--a southern accent like someone from the Deep South. It was incredibly annoying and just no
Nov 17, 2015 C. rated it liked it
When this series opened in France, I was impressed with Ellen Crosby’s writing. Alas, Lucie’s brother made enjoyment impossible. Eli was as wretched as their sister was inexplicably awkward. In this book too, Mia resisted her. Lucie was gone only a year. Their back story wasn’t accounted for properly; that those three relied on each other following their Mom’s death. I should have enjoyed “The Chardonnay Charade” much more. Eli turned around without the motive of the former novel and is loving. ...more
Cindy Huffman
Apr 29, 2012 Cindy Huffman rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So after some real heavy books. in volume and in subject matter, I thought it would be nice to read something more 'light-hearted'. Instead of a Harlequin Romance, which were by far a favorite light read for me as a young girl (and I'm now 40!). So I thought a mystery series set in wine country would do the job.

The one I actually had saved in my wake county library book list was titled The Merlot Murders but since that wasn't available, I picked this one. The titles were tickling my fancy so how
Falling into a genre somewhere between "beach read" and "cozy", The Chardonnay Charade is a pleasant little tome that will keep you entertained. While it does not have the complexity of great vintage, it does have the sparkling effervescence of a mid-priced champagne.

Lucie Montgomery, our vineyard owner who made her first appearance in The Merlot Murders, returns with yet another murder to solve, more threats to the survival of her winery, created by both Mother Nature, toxic chemicals, and the
Bobbie N
SUMMARY: In this second of the series, with a frost threatening her grapevines, Lucie Montgomery hires a helicopter to fly over the vines, blowing warm air on them, in the hope of averting a disaster. When the next morning's inspection turns up the dead body of a local political candidate, and two of Lucie's friends fall under suspicion, she sets out to discover the truth - which turns out to be more than she bargained for. COMMENTS: has the makings of a pretty good series
Jun 18, 2015 Lois rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting information about chardonnay and the difference between Virginia and California wines but the book had too many threads running through. Any one of them could have been a good focus but the EPA involvement in a chemical use but not with the burning of tires to keep the vineyards from freezing and an underage drinker coupled with political overtones left me feeling as if I had read a shaggy dog story. I'm still reading more in the series but don't think this is the best.
Jun 29, 2013 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#2 in the Wine Country Mysteries. This entry sparkles with wine lore and Virginia history of the civil war era. Lucie continues the tension with vintner, Quinn Santori, from the prior series entry The Merlot Murders (2006), but the reader wishes he could shake her and tell her to stop dithering and talk to the man.

Wine Country mystery - A bizarre May frost threatens Lucie Montgomery's Virginia winery operation. After spending the night keeping her vines from freezing, the easily peeved Lucie is
Massanutten Regional Library
Patsy, Village patron, June 2015, 5 stars:

This was a very good mystery book with well written characters. It takes place in the northern Virginia area along the Blue Ridge mountains. There are only 6 books in the series and this is the second. If you like a good murder mystery without too much gore, you will enjoy this.
Derek  Erb
Dec 30, 2009 Derek Erb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, ebook
I read this, the second in the series, immediately after reading the first in the series: The Merlot Murders.

It was enjoyable, predictable and easy to read. I had become only slightly annoyed by the gimmicky formula of a constant sudden occurence of a vital event at the end of each chapter in the first book. Unfortunately this continued in this book and got on my nerves after a while. It's sometimes like reading a cheap old radio script. I can even imagine the organ chiming in as we learn "he's
Nov 27, 2009 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
A good follow-up to the first book in this series, especially in terms of character development. The author uses the setting of a winery to good effect, especially how day-to-day business challenges affect personal relationships.

I'd quibble with the way she presents the Civil War, but I think perhaps the author doesn't feel the need to challenge the typical white Southerner's viewpoint. Too bad, but maybe she feels it's too much of a digression from the mystery.

Picky editor's note: Still too man
If you are OK with the general premise of 'some person who has nothing to do with it gets herself mixed up in a murder investigation and despite having no actual skills or knowledge related to crime solving is able to find and confront the murderer before the police do' then this is a perfectly fine novel. I am finding that this model of mystery novel is irritating me (it didn't used to, but seems to be doing so now).
That said, the extensive information about the history of the Commonwealth of V
Lively, suspenseful, lots going on, and I enjoy all the activity happening at the winery, from winemaking to election parties. Although you have to wonder if all these murders at Lucie's winery aren't going to be good for business, lol.
Judy Iliff
Often times, the second book in a series is not as well done as the first and those that follow the second. Such is not the case with this series.

Lucie now owns the vineyard and is trying to bring it back to what it was when her mother was alive. After hosting a benefit for the free clinic, and after trying to save the vines from a freeze, Lucie discovers the body of the doctor's wife on the road. This is the same many who "saved" her after the car crash that crippled her. Now she is determined
Dec 12, 2015 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery. At first I wasn't too sure, as I was listening to an audiobook from the library. I thought the narrator was using a more Southern accent than true of Virginia, but soon I didn't notice. I will continue this series.
Karen Lindh
The plot was a little predictable, but the elements of the story: the Virginia history; winemaking techniques; and the tension between Lucie and Quinn kept the story interesting to me.
I liked this one, but not quite as much as the first one in the Wine Country series. However, that is likely because I read about a third of it at the beginning of the year and didn't have access to it again until November to read the rest. I do enjoy the way she weaves wine information throughout the book, and I love the Virginia setting. I also like the fact that the main character uses a cane - she writes about people with disabilities in a matter-of-fact way that, as a person who also uses a ...more
Jocelyn Montalvo Cullum
Aug 06, 2016 Jocelyn Montalvo Cullum marked it as to-read
I registered a book at!
Feb 28, 2016 Kathleen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Have read 2 (the series all have wine names) and not fantastic mysteries but interesting what you learn about the challenges of running a winery.
Beth H
A local politician is murdered at Lucie Montgomery's vineyard following a party. There is a killer frost and Lucie's sister is accused of vehicular manslaughter.
Gerri Balter
Jul 02, 2014 Gerri Balter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c-authors
I really like this series and I'm not a big wine drinker. The author does a fantastic job of weaving history, mystery, and information about growing grapes and making wine into a fascinating book. I enjoy a book where the killer isn't so obvious that I know who did it by chapter 2. This is one of those books. I read while I ride LRT and I couldn't quite finish the book before I got home. I had to sit down and finish it.
Patricia Kay
May 29, 2014 Patricia Kay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ms. Crosby's experience as a journalist unfolds with her descriptive writing, her plot, her geographical history and introduction to wine.
Wendy Eckel
May 10, 2016 Wendy Eckel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love Ellen Crosby's wine country series and this one does not disappoint. Looking forward to the next in the series!
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Ellen Crosby is the author of 2 mysteries featuring photojournalist Sophie Medina: MULTIPLE EXPOSURE and GHOST IMAGE (Scribner, April, 2015). She has also written six books in the Virginia wine country mystery series featuring winemaker Lucie Montgomery, and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone mystery published in the UK. Before writing fiction, Crosby was a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, Mos ...more
More about Ellen Crosby...

Other Books in the Series

Wine Country Mysteries (7 books)
  • The Merlot Murders (Wine Country Mysteries #1)
  • The Bordeaux Betrayal (Wine Country Mysteries #3)
  • The Riesling Retribution (Wine Country Mysteries #4)
  • The Viognier Vendetta (Wine Country Mysteries #5)
  • The Sauvignon Secret (Wine Country Mysteries, #6)
  • The Champagne Conspiracy (Wine Country Mysteries #7)

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