When Diane asks her friend, Jean Applequist, to help investigate the murder of her spouse, Jean does so with gusto, consulting with friends and stopping to savor food, wine, and sex up and down California’s coast, in and out of San Francisco’s restaurants.
The pace of DEATH IN A WINE DARK SEA by Lisa King is fast; the plot, pleasingly intricate, the storyline surprising from the start, the suspects numerous and humorous. Reading the book, I could feel, see, and smell the damp San Francisco fog rolling in over the hills.
The descriptions of food and wine are sumptuous; the sketches of characters are often spare, always unique. In addition to the main characters, Jean and Zeppo, I especially liked Roman and won’t soon forget the spinning image of Ivan as he makes his first appearance:
“He pulled his shirt up over his barrel chest, showing weathered, hairy skin as he turned in a circle. Generous love handles spilled over his belt.”
DEATH IN A WINE DARK SEA by Lisa King is for mystery lovers who choose a book because it conforms to the conventions of classic mystery but who want something more than a great puzzle. It is for readers who like surprises, who delight in characters well drawn, who relish stories told in transparent prose with a consistent style. If you are one, you won’t want to miss this book, Ms. King’s debut novel.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of DEATH IN A WINE DARK SEA by Lisa King from the publisher and enjoyed it so much, I bought my own copy.
My Rating: 5 Stars
About the Author
Lisa King graduated from U.C. Berkley. She has written for San Francisco magazine and among other notable celebrities interviewed Julia Child, who made her lunch (a delicious open-faced omelet browned with a blow torch). Lisa was Wine Spectator’s first copy editor and wrote a cover story for the magazine on Thomas Jefferson’s love affair with fine wine.
As senior editor of Wine Country Living magazine in Sonoma, she determined conclusively, after exhaustive research, that California produces better wine than Virginia. Lisa is currently a magazine editor in Southern California. She has three children, four cats and a bad dog.
DEATH IN A WINE DARK SEA
Copyright © 2012 by Lisa King
The Permanent Press