Scott's debut mystery, set in the
picturesque Napa Valley, heats up
when a winemaker is found murdered. Actress-waitress Nikki Sands meets hunky
vineyard owner Derek Malveaux while working at a restaurant near L.A. Impressed by her knowledge of wine, Derek offers her
a job as a sales manager at his Napa Valley winery.
When Nikki gets there, she discovers
the body of Gabriel Asanti, Derek's
winemaker, and soon, she's amateur-sleuthing. (Nikki's had a brief experience as a TV detective, after all.) She discovers that the suspects are many and include Derek's ex-wife and his stepmother. Nikki is surprisingly competent at investigating the murder and soon it appears that she's next on the killer's list.
Edgy and suspenseful, Scott's novel offers a twist on the traditional cozy--the vindictive nature of the initial murder gives the novel a more sinister feel than many cozies. Sleek, smart characters add realism to a mystery made more colorful by the fabulous Napa Valley setting. (Oct., 224 pp., $6.99)