Martin Beaumont is the uncompromising owner of a successful vineyard that lies in the peaceful Gloucestershire countryside. He has built the company steadily over the years, with a small but dedicated team by his side. However, he is forceful with his views on the business, much to the resentment of his more senior members of staff. So when he is found dead in his car, DS Hook and the rest of the team don't have to look very far to find their suspects. An embittered accountant, a disturbed and ill-treated wife, a former mistress, a glamorous research and development director, a genial shop manager and an ambitious chef - which one of them was driven to commit murder?
©2010 J. M. Gregson (P)2011 Soundings
The author puts in a lot of effort into introducing and developing the characters, creating many suspects all of whom have good resons to commit murder. But all this is wasted in an ending which comes as a rather contrived piece of chance. It's a shame because it could easily have been much better.
"Plods along...but gets there"
Chief superintendent Lambert and constable Hook are back, in this story that involves a number of people who all had great stores of reasons to hate Martin Beaumont--who has hinted at, or said to some that eventually they might share his wine business--only to learn that he conveniently cannot recall those promises. Or a wife who married him believing he would take care of her, but now has reason to hate him because of his pushing her away due to her illness. He has been an awful person all around. Yet most agree that they owe a lot to him, as well, so they are all conflicted in how to address their discontent and growing hatred of the man.
However, the viewer has ample time to take in the various ways he has cheated and hurt everyone, and how they would like to get back at him. Then--it happens. There are plenty of suspects here and the story unfolds as a classic detective mystery. Fun as always.
Only problem with this book is that the beginning is painfully slow--actually, I hate to say it, but the start of the book is so flat and boring, I almost turned it off. You have to listen quite a while before things begin to get more interesting. I think this is a good series--and I wish that one did not have to plow so far into this book to get to the "good stuff." But, it is worth it after it gets going. Recommend with that caveat.
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