Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pinot Envy-Edward Finstein

Pinot Envy

Edward Finstein

Bancroft, Jul 16 2013, $21.95

ISBN: 9781610880893

San Francisco resident Woody Robins teaches a Wine Appreciation class at Rosewell College where the fortyish professor is on faculty. He also writes a column on wine for Haute Living and has published a book Wine Is A Four Letter Word. Woody even met his girlfriend Julia Harper when he provided consulting work for her firm the Wine Emporium and found his cat Mouton in a back alley next to empty wine bottles.

Having solved a wine fraud case, Woody meets with UC Davis Professor Walter Pendry to discuss a rare double magnum, the last bottle remaining from an exclusive Napoleon-commissioned label. Last year, James McCall purchased the wine valued at 2.5 million, but recently the bottle was stolen from his secure vault in the Los Carneros area that straddles Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Woody goes straight from Davis to the McCall estate where he agrees to investigate the theft because he believes his client is not committing insurance fraud. With Julia, his Aunt Sadie and others, he begins his inquiry.

By focusing on a stolen valuable bottle of wine, this fascinating cozy enables readers to learn about the engaging history and present day vineyards. Though paid and with an SFPD detective amongst his team, Woody acts like an amateur sleuth as he fumbles his way from one scenario to another. The protagonist’s reflections on relationships in his life are overdone and detract from the case. Still readers will toast Edward Finstein with a less costly pinot for an engaging character-driven whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

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