Sour Grapes (A Shakespeare in the Vineyard Mystery)
by Carole Price
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432829209
Date: 22 October 2014 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Sour Grapes follows Cait Pepper, a former police analyst and now owner of a Shakespearean theater complex, as Wally Dillon, the brother of a man she shot and killed when she was police officer in Columbus wants revenge. He will stop at nothing to eliminate the white officer who killed his brother.
In Twisted Vines, her debut novel in the Shakespeare in the Vineyard mystery series, she foiled the person who wanted to take over the Shakespearean theater complex her aunt Tasha had built. She expected only to focus on building the theater program and raising grapes in the surrounding vineyards. However, in Sour Grapes, number two in the series, she must catch a killer and stop him from murdering the actors, her employees, and her.
When a security alarm in her home goes off, she has no idea who or what caused the disturbance. When the security firm investigates, their agent finds a knife in the flower bed under one of the windows. The knife looks like one used by the man she killed. She contacts her friend and colleague, a police officer in Columbus, and learns the knife is no longer held by the police. It soon becomes apparent that one or more relatives of the dead man are out for revenge.
Events escalate and an actor is found dead in the vineyard. Cait fears Actors Equity will shut down the production for the actors' safety. The production manager Ray Stolz agrees to work with Cait despite the problems. June and Jim Hart, retired actors also help out with the actors and security. The Livermore police with Detective Rook provide protection to Cait and the theaters.
Cait's boyfriend, Royal "RT" Tanner, a special ops guy, is called away unexpectedly, but leaves a dog with Cait for protection. He also keeps in touch with Detective Rook.
Matters grow more complicated when Calder Manning, a foreign correspondent and foster brother to Hank Dillon, shows up and claims he came to stop Wally. Mercurial in nature, Manning doesn't have much success initially, and Cait begins to wonder if he too wants her dead.
Unlike a more traditional mystery, the problem isn't so much who, as it is where is the would-be killer hiding. Price provides plenty of action with a little romance. The overarching series mysteries relate to Cait's aunt Tasha Bening, a possible child, and the romance with RT. It is unlikely these will be solved soon. Meanwhile, readers can look forward to Cait's next adventure as she strives to make the Tasha Bening Shakespearean Theater complex a success and learn how to manage the vineyard.