Chardonnayed To Rest by J.C. Eaton

If only Victoria stayed with the other Corgis and didn’t go snooping around, she might not have sniffed out Roy Wilkes’ dead body on the lakefront near her owner’s winery. But she did. And her owner, Rosalee Marbleton, called me of all people to rush to the scene! Rosalee owns the winery across the road from the one I’m babysitting for my sister and brother-in-law while they track down some elusive insect in Costa Rica for Cornell’s entomology department.

I suppose Rosalee thought I had experience with these sorts of things, and in a bizarre way, I do. No sooner did I arrive at Two Witches, our family’s winery, when we had our own dead body crop up in a recently planted Riesling section. Now, I suppose, it’s Rosalee’s turn.

And while I didn’t know Roy Wilkes personally, I knew him by reputation and it wasn’t a good one. The man was a skinflint who recently bought the property that housed Rosalee’s waterline and insisted she pay him a premium for use or he’d cut off her water supply for the vineyards. Naturally, when Rosalee called me, I knew this wouldn’t look good for her. After all, she had a motive for murder, even though it would be the last thing she’d ever do. She’d been running her winery for over fifty years and everyone loved her. Well, maybe not Roy Wilkes…

Naturally, I offered to find the real culprit, even though I’m not exactly on the best terms with our local deputy sheriff who’s told me on numerous occasions that I should keep my ideas to the screenplays I write. Yep, the screenplays. I’m Norrie Ellington and unless you’re one of those people who read the credits on the Hallmark movies, you’ve probably never heard of me. I’m in my mid-twenties and I’m a screenwriter for a major Canadian film company.

I loved writing romance from my apartment in Manhattan, a gift from a late aunt, but now I have to juggle my laptop everywhere in my sister’s house if I expect to get any work done. I also have to contend with her Plott Hound, Charlie, and a very obnoxious Nigerian dwarf goat by the name of Alvin. Watch out for him – he spits.

Rest assured, I won’t be tackling this murder on my own. I’ve got some terrific friends on Seneca Lake, New York, where our wineries are located, and an amazing tasting room crew complete with a Nancy Drew aficionado and a wacky séance-loving free spirit who believes we can get better help sleuthing from “the other side.”

We’ve got to hustle, though, because our annual Federweisser event is coming up soon and for those of you who are curious, it’s the first fermentation of our Chardonnay. There’s nothing worse than having a murder hang over our wineries when all we want to do is dazzle guests with our wines.

So, I’ll be putting down my laptop, making some flimsy excuse to my script analyst because the word “murder” sends her into a tizzy, and starting on this investigation. Someone’s got to get Rosalee off the hook and it looks like it’s going to be me!

Finding a murderer requires 100% proof.

In Seneca Lake, New York, Norrie Ellington’s Two Witches Winery has been selected by the local vintner community to host the annual Federweisser, a celebration of the season’s first fermentation of white Chardonnay grapes. But the festivities are spoiled when Norrie learns that landowner Roy Wilkes has raised her neighbor Rosalee Marbelton’s rent so high, she may have to close her vineyard.

Before the rent hike could go into effect, Wilkes is found dead on Roslaee’s property—stabbed by a flowerpot stake—and she becomes the police’s number one suspect. To clear her friend’s name, Norrie conducts her own investigation. But as she gathers clues, Norrie finds herself targeted by a killer, and if she’s not careful, her desire to see justice done may die on the vine . . .