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The Merlot Murders

(Wine Country Mysteries #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  2,955 ratings  ·  453 reviews
A phone call at two thirty in the morning is never good news. Lucie Montgomery's semiestranged brother, Eli, calls her in France to tell her their father, Leland, has been killed in a hunting accident on the family's five-hundred-acre Virginia vineyard just as the fall harvest is about to begin. By the time he calls, Eli has already made funeral arrangements with what Luci ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Scribner (first published 2006)
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3 stars to Ellen Crosby's The Merlot Murders. I was very much looking forward to reading this book and in the end, I was glad I did. It was a complex whodunit mystery with a few side stories and a great new series full of interesting characters, settings and possibilities.

Lucie returns home to Virginia from France after her father passes away. Some whispered it was murder, but her siblings just want to sell the family home and winery to be able to move on. With a new vintner, and some
Apr 23, 2022 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 3500-2022
The first book in a series set in a winery in Virginia. The author has really done her research so reading it taught me an awful lot about wine production.

The murder mystery was interesting and the author threw up lots of red herrings to keep the reader guessing. Unfortunately since all of the characters were equally unlikeable I did not really care who the murderer eventually turned out to be.

The ending was very sudden, not really satisfactory and left many questions unanswered. Presumably the
BJ Rose
I didn't realize this is part of a series when I picked it up - in fact, I didn't figure it out until I got to the end of the book and thought there should be more to the story, so I looked up the author's name and discovered more Wine Country Mystery books. Don't get me wrong - the murder mystery in this one is nicely solved, it's the family story that continues on. The author does a very nice job of getting the reader into the mindset of the winery owners, and there's a wine primer of sorts sc ...more
I've been reading good cozies for a while now, and this book is a sort of return to my old history with them. So Lucie's not completely stupid. No, scratch that - she is completely stupid. She gets into accidents that are not her making, sure, but her I'm completely fine reactions are over the top and annoying. Her crutch is that she literally has a crutch to walk with having had an accident that mangled her leg. I would think that would make her more concerned for her well-being after an accide ...more
Dec 18, 2012 rated it liked it
I was going to give this 2 stars, but since I'm planning to read the next book in the series, I guess I must have liked it a little more than that! I listened to this book, and I must say I really enjoyed the descriptive language more than I probably would have had I been reading the book. Plus, I've noticed that the second book in a series is often better than the first, so I'm cautiously optimistic!

Partially crippled in a car accident 2 years ago, Lucie Montgomery has been living in France wit
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was a hard book for me to get through until I decided to gloss over the constant references to Jefferson wanting to start wineries in Virginia.
And I like history but this got to be to much.

For me there were to many characters and the main character seemed to be defined by her disability which occurred in an auto accident and not the fact that she is a strong and determined woman.

I have to admit I would have put the book down by the 3rd chapter but the writing is very good. Will I read any
Jul 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
The main character was so full of shit, I almost quit this book 1/3 of the way in. The boyfriend she allowed to steal from her stole from her again, how unexpected. The vineyard she abandoned has to be saved bc FAAAAMILY. (view spoiler) Add in inconsistencies in her leg injury and an obvious flag to who the murderer was near the end and I just didn't enjoy this book.

PS - If my high school
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Beautiful setting, but seriously how can Lucie, who is supposed to have this native talent and smarts, be so dumb when it comes to men. Every male in this story walks all over her at some point. And don't get me started on her brother Eli. I seriously wondered why he wasn't punched in the throat every time he opened his mouth. I'm not kidding. This guy was the Snap-On/Dewalt/Makita of tooly tools! It was so distracting I barely remember the plot!
Jul 18, 2022 rated it liked it
Tough to rate. My favorite bits were the wine lessons lol. The main character made a lot of really dumb decisions which was frustrating but I may give this series another chance.
Jan 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
I blame my dark eye circles and constant yawning today on this book; I made the mistake of starting The Merlot Murders late last night with the thought that I’d read a few chapters before retiring to bed. That never ended up happening, because it was simply impossible put the book down. I must confess, first of all, that I know virtually nothing about wine and have little interest in it. I don’t even like drinking it. But it speaks to Ellen Crosby’s excellent writing that I enjoyed not only the ...more
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2011
I like mysteries, thrillers, detectives, police procedurals, you name it. And while I have a few favorite authors (Camilleri, Connelly, F. Kellerman, Larsson etc etc), I'm always worried that I soon run out of the cases by my favorite detectives, so I'm constantly searching for new mysteries to fill the future void and to expand the horizons. If I like the author, great, if not, at least I tried. And I would or will try another Wine Country mystery if one will cross my paths in the future...

A murder mystery deftly intertwined with instruction in the basics of wine making as well as a little Virginia winemaking history is the imaginative cocktail offered up by author Ellen Crosby in The Merlot Murders.

Lucie Montgomery is an improbably heroine with an equally unlikely occupation. She is a woman who overcomes obstacles, both physical and emotional as she delves into two mysterious deaths while fending off a former lover, an abrasive vintner with a questionable past, assorted inquisit
Stephanie A. Cain
Jan 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I really enjoyed this one. The main character, Lucie, is an engaging character, and the setting is like a character of its own. You learn a lot about the process of growing grapes and making wine, as well as the history of the Virginia wine country.

Lucie Montgomery has needed cane to walk since the accident that ended her relationship with Greg Knight two years ago. She went to France to recover and only returns to America when her father is found dead in the family vineyard. There she discovers
Lucy Takeda
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked this up partly because I live in a wine area in California, near Napa. I found most of the winery discussions interesting. I did get a bit tired of hearing about Lucile’s damaged leg, but it the mysteries were fairly intriguing.
Lucie ran off to France after a horrendous accident that severely injured her. Her family is mostly contentious rather than warm and cuddly. Then, her brother calls to say their father has died under suspicious circumstances. Lots of possible suspects.
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ahhhhh I LOVED this book! The ending was my favorite as she clearly is going to be smarter about men and moving on. (See my prior updates lol) can't wait to read more in this series ! ...more
Angela Holland
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I know I have said this about cozies before, but I loved this book. I enjoy all cozies that I read but this even more than others. One thing I like is that there was a little history involved in the story telling. Lucie is a person that I liked from page one, I even felt sorry for her at times even though she I think she can be a strong person. Greg made me want to reach in the book and slap him silly as well as Eli. I did not like either of them. Quinn is a person that one minute I liked and th ...more
Apr 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
The Merlot Murders are an excellent start to a series that takes the reader not to Napa Valley, but to Virginia wine country. Who da thunk it? With that being said, Crosby certainly pulls the reader into the location with her vivid descriptions of vineyards, verdant fields, horse farms, and manor houses (being familiar with Middleburg, it certainly made me feel like I was right there!). As far as the story itself, it was decent for a cozy mystery and Crosby has created some very interesting char ...more
Yelena Borisovna
Aug 23, 2021 rated it liked it
This was between a 3 and 4 for me. I enjoyed the inclusion of really specific aspects of wine making and the fact that I'm from a town not from there. This book led me to look up the definition of a cozy mystery and Wiki told me that the violence takes place "off screen". However, there were definitely some thriller scenes in this one! The the mix of thrill and sleuthing was perfect for me although I found it a bit difficult to follow all of the characters and wasn't a big fan of the ending. ...more
This is first in a series about a young woman who returns from France where she has been recovering from a car accident, to try to save the family vineyard from her siblings who are wanting to sell the property after the death of her father. I didn't care much for the siblings and her ex-boyfriend but the parts about the vineyard and the history of Thomas Jefferson's goal of establishing a wine industry in Virginia were interesting. I'll probably read the next in the series and then decide wheth ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it liked it
After living in France for 2 years, Lucie returned to her family's Virginia winery after learning of her father's death, which became more suspicious as the story unfolded. The second death was sadder for me as that character seemed really interesting.
The setting was like a character of its own which I enjoyed as I had just visited that region of Virginia.
The story unfolds telling about the process of growing grapes and making wine, as well as some interesting history of the Virginia wine countr
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
As the first book in a series, it is quite promising. I liked Lucy and with her extended family and friends, it should be a great series.
Anna Bright
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
i didn't want this book to end. ellen crosby is so! talented! ...more
Evelyn Petschek
Apr 01, 2021 rated it it was ok
Superficial characters, implausible plot line even for a murder mystery. Nice descriptions of Virginia countryside. I read this after hearing the author interview another local author.
May 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Okay, yeah sure, I usually prefer more hard-boiled, dark detective fiction with PIs or police procedurals and avoid mysteries with cheesy titles (like this one) and amateur-sleuth-driven plots (fill in here all of the food-related, cat-protagonist, knitting, botany mysteries with the pun-filled titles, and you get what I mean). But having recently moved back to Virginia, I was seduced by the setting in the Virginia wine country and any excuse to think about drinking wine.

While the plot will not
Cathy Cole
Apr 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read and enjoyed Ellen Crosby's Sophie Medina mysteries, I was looking forward to reading this first book in her Wine Country series-- even if I don't like wine. I found The Merlot Murders to be every bit as intelligently written and absorbing as Multiple Exposure and Ghost Image.

Lucie Montgomery is a complex character, and the plot certainly isn't short of family dynamics with her obnoxious brother Eli, his greedy wife, and their gullible little sister. There's also a head vintner on the
#1 in the Wine Country Mysteries. Lucie Montgomery takes over a struggling vineyard in Virginia horse country in this cozy mystery series debut. Interesting wine lore abounds but Lucie's personal interactions do not always ring true. Her brother and sister-in-law are caricatures. Her vintner wants to run the vineyard and winery with a free hand but Lucie argues that she is knowledgeable about the business and demands that he take input from her; the conflict runs through the book but her experti ...more
So yeah, I'm a sucker for these punny amateur detective books, whatever. This one was pretty good, a new one that I didn't get from my mom but instead from my future father-in-law, and my boyfriend and I couldn't stop laughing about him having it. He likes wine and mysteries, but maybe not the punniness so much. He didn't finish it--not his cup of tea--but he knows me so he gave it to me.

Lucie, the main character, is really appealing and the wine country setting is gorgeous. The wine facts and h
Jul 25, 2010 rated it did not like it
Let it be known that if you are in a bookclub with me and you choose a book I will read it. NO MATTER WHAT. (I'm not sure if that counts for anything but there it is.) "The Merlot Murders?" I mean really. And it's a series! You could also read "The Bordeaux Betrayal" and "The Chardonnay Charade." My eyes hurt from rolling so much. What a dumb book. But I already knew that from reading the title so here's a list of good things because I love being positive:

1) I learned some things about wine maki
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
this one made me antsy

Despite some interesting characters, on page 150 I was wondering when the mystery was going to happen. yes, I knew who was dead, yes I knew at lesat one of them was a murder and probbably the other- plus there was something missing, but it didn't really feel like anyone was to figure anything out

In the end it was ok , all the clues added up,but I just didn't feel it
Lesley Looper
After reading a couple other books in this series, I decided to go back and read the first one. I'm glad I did, as it gave me some history for the rest of the series. Each book could probably be read on its own just fine, but it's nice to have some background information sometimes. This book was a little on the dark side (deaths, betrayals, injuries, and such), but still a decent read. ...more
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AlexandriaLibraryVA: August 8, 2017 - Merlot Murders by Ellen Crosby 2 6 Aug 15, 2017 07:31AM  
Play Book Tag: The Merlot Murders - Ellen Crosby - 3 stars 1 13 Jan 12, 2017 04:42PM  
Mystery 6 33 Aug 04, 2016 05:37PM  

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Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia Wine Country mysteries, including BITTER ROOTS (#12) the latest in the series, published in 2022. She also wrote 2 books in the Sophie Medina mysteries—MULTIPLE EXPOSURE and GHOST IMAGE—which have recently been reissued (look for book #3 in 2023) and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone mystery. Previously Crosby was a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, M ...more

Other books in the series

Wine Country Mysteries (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • 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 Champagne Conspiracy (Wine Country Mysteries, #7)
  • 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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“Plato—“No thing more excellent nor more valuable than wine was ever granted mankind by God.” 0 likes
“It got this hot in the south of France, but it was a dry heat, cooled and tempered by the mistral and scented with the powerful fragrances of lavender, thyme, and rosemary. Here the air was so thick I could practically see it and the smell was the dank chemical odor of soil and plants and grass decomposing” 0 likes
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