Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Critic-Peter May

The Critic
Peter May
Poisoned Pen Press, Nov 2007, $24.95
ISBN: 9781590584583

Several years ago renowned wine critic Gil Petty vanished without a trace during a “vino veritas” trip to the Gaillac region of France. A few years later his preserved corpse was found drenched in wine. The case was never solved after he was found hanging like a wet scarecrow in the nearby woods.

Scottish expatriate forensic expert Enzo Macleod decides to solve the cold case. However, the local police do not want the outsider making them look foolish so they refuse to cooperate. Worse, region winemakers prefer the homicide remain unsolved; Enzo assumes because Petty lived up to his name and was universally disliked. However, when another murder victim embalmed in wine appears in the woods, the local vintners become concerned. Meanwhile Petty's daughter Michelle tries to seduce Enzo, who is held accountable by the other women in his life. However even as Enzo digs up dirt on the arrogant odious late critic, he finds many people in the industry and the family who had a motive to kill the Petty expert and would not mind pickling Enzo too.

The second Enzo Macleod French cold case mystery is a superb tale that will send readers seeking his previous starring role (see EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE). Enzo is fabulous as he uses all his forensic skills seeking the motive, which initially might have been personal but begins to believe insider trader information is the key. Breaking Petty’s code that the deceased used to conceal his work adds to the fun of a wonderful whodunit in which wine seems inappropriate way to toast Peter May for this entertaining whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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