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Wildcat Wine    by Claire Matturro order for
Wildcat Wine
by Claire Matturro
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Wildcat Wine is a cozy legal mystery, 2nd in a series starring thirty-something trial attorney Lilly Cleary in Sarasota, Florida. Lily is a junior partner at the Smith, O'Leary, and Stanley law firm. She's also obsessive-compulsive (repeated hand washing takes up a great deal of her time), and a germ-phobic vegetarian. She has overcome a dysfunctional family background to succeed in her profession, but retains her early loyalties.

Lilly is working at home on an appellate argument for her pet psychic/alien-abductee client with her legal secretary Bonita when her old friend and ex-lover, Dave Baggwell, shows up with a U-haul full of organic Florida muscadine wine. Dave and Bonita's son Benny head off to the cypress swamp on a jaguarundi hunt. They turn up a corpse and cash instead, leaving the former in place. Dave hands the sack of money to Lilly for safekeeping, before being arrested for wine theft. The plot continues on in this erratic, exotic fashion, while the body pile mounts.

After Lilly is hit on the head and the loot stolen, her 'blue-haired Nazi' neighbor morphs into a good Samaritan. Lilly dates Philip, the handsome criminal defense lawyer she hired on Dave's behalf. She also gets to know and like the deputy sheriff who arrested him, a young man with the unfortunate name of Tired Johnson and ongoing babysitting problems (he lugs his infant son around on the job). In between breaking and entering, Lilly's suspected of murder, hides key evidence, and survives close encounters with killers, both human and serpentine.

Despite being a lawyer, Lilly has a rather loose relationship with the law, especially when it comes down to protecting those close to her. Wildcat Wine is wild, woolly Florida fun for those who like their cozies on the crazy side.

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