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The Champagne Conspiracy

(Wine Country Mysteries #7)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  674 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Winter has come to the Montgomery Estate Vineyard in Atoka, Virginia. Lucie Montgomery and winemaker Quinn Santori have decided to make champagne, a first for the vineyard.

But then Gino Tomassi, Quinn’s uncle, turns up on their doorstep one afternoon, demanding help in solving the mystery of what happened to Zara Tomassi, the first wife of his grandfather, who died in a Sa
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Minotaur Books
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Average rating 3.85  · 
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 ·  674 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby is the 7th book in the 'Wine Country Mysteries' series that takes place in Virginia. So far, this is my favorite and earns 4.5 star. What a roller coast ride for an avid genealogist, historian, wine-lover, and cozy fan.

Three families, all connected to Lucie Montgomery, the main character in the series. A secret affair with President Harding in the early 20th century. A famous California winery with a potential change in ownership. A death from a century a
Briar's Reviews
The Champagne Conspiracy is now one of my top 2020 reads!

I love a good cozy mystery to snuggle under the covers and read some tea with. This book fit the bill and was a wonderful distraction from the bad weather in my town.

This is the seventh book in the Wine Country Mysteries series by Ellen Crosby, but don't be discouraged by that number. I found this book super easy to jump into. It would have been nice having all of the background relationships and mysteries to fall back on, but I had zero i
Charles Finch
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
My review from USA Today


The cozy mystery often gets tagged as lightweight, when in fact the best cozies are frequently about the redemption we find in community and friendship, a serious subject indeed. In The Champagne Conspiracy, her charming, funny seventh novel set in Virginia’s wine country – I didn’t know it was there either – Ellen Crosby has written a superior cozy, narrated by winemaker Lucie Montgomery. She has two mysteries to solve, when she’s not contemplating tannins – a death, po
Sue Em
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Consistently well-written entertaining series set in the wine country of Virginia.
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this series! Unfortunately, I didn't read it in the proper order, but it didn't make any difference. As with all of Ms. Crosby's novels that I've read, the plot and characters are intriguing and interesting. And the plot was one that grabbed me from the start and didn't let me go until the very end.

I highly recommend this series. The combination of mystery and history has caught me again!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press - Minotaur Books for the opportunity to read and review
Cathy Cole
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't care what Ellen Crosby is writing-- if it's one of her Sophie Medina mysteries or one of her Wine Country mysteries-- I can count on her for fast-paced, exciting stories, fascinating historical tidbits, well-developed characters, and all-around intelligent writing. After reading two "Sophie" novels and two Wine Country mysteries, Crosby has become one of my favorite authors.

In The Champagne Conspiracy, I learned about Prohibition-Era Washington, DC; why all "champagne" is French; and had
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Confusing family tree but otherwise a winner
Avid Series Reader
The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby is book 7 of the Wine Country mystery series set in contemporary Virginia. I was first drawn to the series because I didn't realize Virginia had a wine-making region. I continue the series because I enjoy the sympathetic character of the protagonist, Lucie Montgomery. For full enjoyment of this book, read the prior books in the series. Otherwise the many relationships and eccentric personalities that are key to the solution would be confusing.

When Lucie d
Never having read this series before, I was curious to see if this book would work on its own, and whether information would be presented in a way to keep the major players in the story identifiable. The relationship with Lucie and Quinn did take some adjustment to understand their dynamic, but the characterizations are so present that it wasn’t long before that dynamic was presented. Plenty of other secondary characters, sure to be familiar with those who have read the series, presented themsel ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This series is set in a small town in Virginia outside of D.C. and centers around a small family run vineyard. Lucie has taken her family business that her father almost ran into the ground and turned it around. Her vineyard manager Quinn has been with her throughout the process. They work well together in the business but their personal relationship is anything but smooth.

This book centers around an event that happened in the 1920's. All of the primary players are dead but their descendants fin
Julie H.
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
The Champagne Conspiracy, set in Atoka, Virginia, took the quirky small-town charm of Rita Mae Brown's Crozet (setting for the Sneaky Pie Brown mysteries) and made it claustrophobically stifling. I strongly suspect that where Crozet or even the Gilmore Girls' Star's Hollow worked and for me Atoka and its residents were vastly less successful is that the story's heroine, vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery, is utterly unable to enforce any sort of boundaries between herself and her intrusive neighbor ...more
Oct 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**I voluntarily reviewed this ARC**

I really enjoyed this book, but I felt there were too many threads to the story. In the end, they were all tied up in a neat little bow, but during the story it just felt a bit confusing. I haven't read any of the other books in this series, so I felt a little lost when it came to some of the characters and relationships, but I was still able to follow the story.
Melissa Billingslea
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Honestly? I got 5 chapters in and couldn’t go any farther. I wasn’t emotionally invested enough in the few characters introduced by this point, but more kept being introduced and I couldn’t even remember the names of the main two. And the author kept info- dumping stuff that I didn’t care about.
#7 in the Wine Country mystery series. I enjoy this series but thought this entry had two drawbacks. First, set in February there is not as much vineyard action as usual, though there is a section on bottling wine at small vineyards. Second, in order to handle three intersecting mysteries and a Valentines Day gala, too much is put on Lucie's plate. I felt vindicated with my suspicions, although with a mysterious death going back to 1923 and the Harding administration and coming is a convoluted f ...more
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This may be the best yet in this series. There are multiple good guys and bad guys as well as plot lines to keep you on your toes while reading. Virginia winery owner Lucie Montgomery learned that Quinn, her winemaker, had not told her that he was part of a prestigious Napa Valley wine family when his cousin Gino showed up at the winery and the bad blood between them revealed itself. Gino first accused Quinn of blackmail but then demanded that he and Lucie help in solving what happened to his th ...more
Jonathan Shell
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review contains *** S P O I L E R S ***

The Champagne Conspiracy by Ellen Crosby is book #7 in her Lucie Montgomery Wine Country mystery. The Champagne Conspiracy is a stand-alone work by Crosby makes the assumption that the reader has a somewhat understanding of her characters and doesn’t spend a lot of time filling the reader in on their backstory. As such a new reader to the series may not quickly pick up how all of the characters fit together but it does nothing to distract from the plot
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Winter has come to the Montgomery Estate Vineyard in Atoka, Virginia. Lucie Montgomery and winemaker Quinn Santori have decided to make champagne, a first for the vineyard.

But then Gino Tomassi, Quinn’s uncle, turns up on their doorstep one afternoon, demanding help in solving the mystery of what happened to Zara Tomassi, the first wife of his grandfather, who died in a San Francisco hotel in 1923 under suspicious circumstances. And it seems there’s no coincidence that her death came the day aft
Lynn Neilson
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a Wine Country book in three years, and was happy to discover this one, like finding old friends after a lapse. It's a little convoluted so you have to pay attention to the relationships. And it's a track-back in time for the main characters to figure out "whodunnit" and why. Lots of references to Warren Harding and his scandal-ridden presidency that figure into the plot, a bit of duplicity from surprising places, and the usual, steadfast, trusting persona of the main character. T ...more
Barbara VA
I love reading mysteries, Agatha Christie, local tie-in stories, wine, vineyard hopping, good eating, and history. Everything that makes a Wine Country Mystery come together for me. I can see Atoka and Middleburg, visit Barrel Oak (although I prefer the Meadery next door), and wish I could visit some of the wonderful homes that host the fox hunts. It is all so real. There are shops like Thelma's around, and antique dealers that have you in a whirl before you know what is happening! They have you ...more
Abigail Sucup
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
The Champagne Conspiracy, by Ellen Crosby is overall a good book with a great plot full of mystery. It starts when Quinn's cousin, Gino, and the main character, Lucie Montgomery, who are very fine winemakers, are presented with a murder mystery. Gino, being the owner of a fine vineyard in California, travels all the way to Virginia to ask for help in order to find out what happened to Zara Tomassi, his grandfather's first wife who had died in 1923. However, she was pregnant and it is rumored th ...more
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lucie Montgomery is preparing for a charity party on Valentine's Day at her winery, when she and her winemaker, Quinn, are challenged by his second cousin to find a blackmailer. Before long, eighty-year- old deaths, President Warren G. Harding, Lucie's flapper relative, a couple of World War II women pilots, two illegitimate children and various dead bodies confuse and distress everyone. As usual, intrepid Lucie sees the mystery through. I thought one of the villains was telegraphed this time, b ...more
This wasn't a great book, but it was a good one, and a comfortable read. It wove in and out of history, wrapping the long story of Quinn and his family into the family of President Harding, who was supposedly involved with several family members. Female ones.

The story spun around and through the tales that border on libelous, as the tales of the President's escapades wove through the story of the great-something grandparents and Prohibition, flappers and other interesting historical events.

Linda Smatzny
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is all about families and their secrets present and past. Lucie Montgomery finds a dress that belonged to her great aunt and then sees a picture of the great aunt with President Warren Harding. The picture includes other young women some of whom are related to Quinn Santori and Mac . Danger comes to Lucie who is asking questions and trying to put the answers together to get a picture of the past. The book was an easy read.
Amy Jones
Oct 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty good book. Part of series but it was fine being a stand alone for me. It takes place in VA wine country which makes it interesting to have as part of book, but I had issues with the characters. Mostly due to lack of depth and process of feelings. There was a pretty heavy incident but not one character spoke off it or said how they felt about it, which is odd. I may read a few more in series but not in any rush.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I had almost given up on this series because the characters did not seem to grow at all. Then, in Book 6, Lucie stops commenting on her friend Kit's eating habits which was a big step forward!

In this book, the characters also act in more mature manners. Quinn continues to drag his feet about making a commitment. This is problematic because no sound reason is ever given. However, there is some character growth in this book and the mystery is interesting.
Aug 12, 2019 added it
This was number 7 in the audiobook series. Gino Tomassi, Quinn's uncle comes to the winery because he's being blackmailed about a secret involving his grandfather's first wife, Zara. So Lucy tries to find out more about her and becomes involved in the coverup surrounding her affair with president Warren Harding as Lucy's getting ready for another fundraiser at the winery with a roaring 20's theme. ...more
Bill Cissna
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Perhaps it helps that I am interested in wine and wineries, but I continue to enjoy this series set in the Virginia wine country. As is often the case with murder mystery series set in one location, people seem to die here at a large per-capita rate, but getting to the bottom of the case is interesting, as are the characters. I will continue to move on with these people!
Matthew Galloway
It really felt more like an exploration of small time life than much of a mystery until the end. I can't say I particularly enjoyed either of the leafs either. Additionally, the Southern accent of the narrator didn't match any Virginian accent I've yet heard. ...more
Jersey Joe
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another fine entry in this series. Ms Crosby's writing has the ability to draw the reader into the narrative in a seamless manner. The 'historical background connections' in this one are truly original and entertaining. ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent adventure in wine country.
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Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia Wine Country mysteries, including THE FRENCH PARADOX (Book #11), which will be published in the UK on January 29, 2021, as an ebook on March 1, 2021, and in the US on April 6, 2021. She is also the author of the Sophie Medina mysteries and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone mystery. Before writing fiction, Crosby was a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, ...more

Other books in the series

Wine Country Mysteries (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Merlot Murders (Wine Country Mysteries #1)
  • The Chardonnay Charade (Wine Country Mysteries #2)
  • 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 Vineyard Victims (Wine Country Mysteries, #8)
  • Harvest of Secrets (Wine Country Mysteries, #9)
  • The Angels' Share (Wine Country Mysteries, #10)
  • The French Paradox (Wine Country Mysteries, #11)

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