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The Angel's Share: A Wine Country Mystery    by Ellen Crosby order for
Angel's Share
by Ellen Crosby
Order:  USA  Can
Minotaur, 2019 (2019)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Angel's Share is the tenth in Ellen Crosby's Wine Country mysteries, starring Lucie Montgomery, owner of Montgomery Estate Vineyard in Atoka, Virginia. Lucie is now engaged to her winemaker, Quinn Santori. As in previous episodes, the author deftly combines Virginia viticulture with US history and wine lore into a mellow blend.

The mystery opens 'Vintage Madeira is the color of old blood' - and elderly blood darkens its pages soon after Lucie and Quinn attend a Thanksgiving party at the Avery's Hawthorne Castle. The Avery family owns the Washington Tribune and (shades of Succession) is the last great newspaper dynasty in America.

Before he ends up dead, 95-year old Prescott Avery takes Lucie aside (in his incredible wine cellar) to interrogate her about a cache of 200-year-old Madeira. Prescott is convinced Lucie's great-great-uncle Ian found it in the 1920s, hidden in the US Capitol. Ian was a Prohibition bootlegger.

Lucie knows nothing about this, but naturally becomes curious enough to launch a quest to find the cache, along with priceless historical documents. Throw in Freemasons, Knights Templar, links to William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon and Thomas Jefferson, and it's an intriguing mix.

Of course, Lucie solves all the puzzles presented to her, but almost comes to grief in so doing. Yet 'all's well that ends well', especially with a wedding on the horizon.

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