Review - A VINTAGE DEATH, Colin King
With tongue firmly in cheek, and only because I live in the Pyrenees wine district, yes, well why on earth WOULD somebody kill for a Heathcote shiraz??? (Kidding!)
There's nothing better than books that are set in your own stomping grounds. Places that are very familiar, environments and industries that are close to the heart. I was really thrilled to win a copy of A VINTAGE DEATH from the good people at the very excellent Bendigo Writers' Festival, particularly as the author, Colin King is a Bendigo local, and Bendigo is one of my favourite places in this region. Not just because of the festival, the great food and wine, but also due to the wonderful bookshops tucked in and around the place.
A VINTAGE DEATH starts out with an interesting clash - DS Rory James is back working for the Victorian Police, handling cold cases after a traumatic shooting. He comes face to face with an old nemesis when he drops into the Lady's Pass Run winery to talk about one cold case, only to find a very current investigation unfolding. The discovery of a second body, again loosely connected to the winery, and to the history of the region, might immediately scream co-incidence, but it's not long before connections start to appear.
Invoking my debut books deserve a bit of slack rule, A VINTAGE DEATH is not without a few minor problems - the glaring one being the ease with which the who was deduced (and not just because I've done a bit of alpaca wrangling in my time). Having said that the why is nicely tucked away in the history of the region, and that takes quite a bit longer to unravel. Rory James, however, has potential as a character, as does the now not unexpected concept of Cold Case Units. His reasons for being there make sense, and he is a character who readers will be able to connect with, enjoy time in his company if you will.
I'm really not sure why it is that the potential for intrigue in the history and white settlement of the Central Goldfields hasn't been more widely mined in crime fiction. There are some really great possible threads here, and A VINTAGE DEATH has found one of them. It's a fun read, educational when it comes to the history of the region without being a textbook, with a bit of a dig at the winemaking "industry" into the bargain. Went down really well with a glass or two of Pyrenees Shiraz as well ... :)
Rory James is fond of a good red, but that's not why he's asking questions in the wineries of Heathcote. The Detective Sergeant is trying to bring a cold case back to life. But another body at Lady's Pass Run sets Rory on a collision course with not just the colleague who almost ruined his career but also history. It looks like the highly-prized vineyards are, once again, full of intrigue and dangerous plots. Why would someone kill for a Heathcote shiraz?