Many people might think that wine making is all about growing the right grapes in the right environment. Then sitting back to watch the grapes grow and the money roll in. Not so. Tax evasion, stealing grapes, mislabeling wine, selling cheap wine at higher prices, murder. All of these illegal tidbits make Peter Eichstaedt’s Napa Noir an excellent, thrilling read.
Dante Rath works for the Santa Rosa Sun. He writes “The Grapes of Rath,” the newspaper’s wine column about Northern California’s extensive upscale wine industry. A real come-down for a hot-shot, award-winning investigative journalist. Or so he thinks. Until, that is, two men are shot and killed at a Napa Valley winery. Was it for money? Or is there more involved? Rath jumps in to investigate for the paper rather than the regular newbie crime beat reporter. Told from Rath’s point of view, we get to hear his thoughts on his fact finding and exploration of the murder story. We are also privy to his thoughts about his deceased wife and his withdrawal from dating and a love life after her death.
Wine, Women and Money
From his anxiety-caused indigestion and digestive upset to his renewed interest in women, Rath is a likeable and believable narrator and protagonist. We learn of Rath’s panning of the wines of the largest winery in the area, run by wealthy entrepreneur Riccardo Santos. Also, we watch his courting of Carmen Carelli, an ambitious lawyer representing some of the elite in the California wine industry. Rath is definitely relatable.
Peter Eichstaedt’s Napa Noir is an enjoyable, fast-paced read. In addition to Rath and Carelli, supporting characters are well-rounded. Mei Ling, Marvee McGregor, and an African-American cab driver help bring this murder mystery to life.
I look forward to reading any future books that Eichstaedt adds to this first of his Wine Country Mysteries
I received a copy of this book from www.readersfavorite.com in exchange for an honest review.
by Peter Eichstaedt
Wild Blue Press