Title: A Case for the Winemaker
Author: Candace Havens
Series: Ansley McGregor Mysteries #1
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Release Date: January 21, 2020
Pages: 177
Book Source: Trade Paperback

“It’s an exciting time in Sweet River, Texas, and the whole town is talking. Maybe, a little too much. Former English professor Ainsley McGregor has gambled everything on her new business: Bless Your Art, an artisan market where local artists sell their wares and teach classes.
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The bright, white space is filled to the brim with colorful art, yarn, jewelry, pet treats, antiques and even a few medieval weapons. Oh, and there are wine tastings. Everything is better with wine. Ainsley is surprised by how well things are going–right up until the moment her Great Dane finds a dead body. With her friend accused of the murder, it’s up to Ainsley to find the real killer.
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As the suspect list grows longer, Ainsley has her work cut out for her. The task is made more difficult by the fact her brother, the sheriff, doesn’t seem to want her help. If she doesn’t wrap up the case soon, she might be the next wine, um, one to die.” – Amazon

Kim’s Review

In the late 2000’s, (doesn’t that sound so long ago), I read the two books in Candace Havens’ Caruthers Sisters series, The Demon King and I and Dragons Prefer Blondes. I was disappointed when more didn’t come out. So when I saw that Havens had a new cozy mystery series, I knew I wanted to read it.

First off, George Clooney, her Great Dane, steals the show. The way he talks, grunts, and knows what people are saying is so true to that breed.

And I love that the whole town is down to help with the murder board even though it’s supposed to be a secret. It starts off with the book club members, then Ainsley’s college students jump in, and then the rest of the town. I’ve found more cozies incorporating murder boards recently, which I love. I wonder if the authors got the ideas from the various Hallmark Mystery Movies that use them, or from Trial and Error, a two season comedy TV show, that I absolutely loved.

The mystery was done well, but I felt like it could have used a few more suspects, just because to me it was obvious early on who the killer was. But that did not stop me from enjoying A Case for the Winemaker.

With all the characters, the artisanal gallery, and the adorable town in Texas, Havens has tons of potential for future books. I’m looking forward to getting to know the book club members more, and already some of the college students are really pulling their weight when it comes to assisting Ainsley with her investigating.

In most cozies you have some law official who tells the amateur sleuth to stay away from the crime, and in this series it’s her brother. I’m glad he didn’t go overboard with his demands and realized he needed to find ways to help her stay safe.

And there are so many alpha males, who play nicely with each other, in this book that it adds a dollop of deliciousness to the story. It’ll be interesting to see if Ainsley’s attraction for any of them heats up in the future.

A fun start to a new cozy series and I’m looking forward to book two, A Case for the Yarn Maker, which comes out on April 16, 2020.

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