Dead in the Dregs: A Babe Stern Mystery by Peter Lewis

By Peter Lewis

Admired wine critic Richard Wilson makes a residing raising and destroying winemakers’ reputations with the stroke of his pen. while he disappears after a tasting at Napa Valley’s Norton vineyard, his sister Janie appears to be like to her ex-husband Babe Stern for aid. but if Wilson’s physique is located floating in a vat at Norton, Stern’s seek becomes a hunt for the killer.Working with the Napa Valley police, Stern speedy unearths a string of suspects, all with something in universal: their wish to get revenge for the reports that shattered their wines and livelihoods. yet because the police paintings to quick transparent the case, those self same suspects have a string of alibis and the path starts off to fade.Stern digs extra into the conditions of Wilson’s loss of life and unearths himself following his simply lead, to Burgundy, France. In cellars and tasting rooms from Beaune to Nuits-Saint-Georges, Stern tracks the stricken son of a family members of vignerons, one of many few humans within the vineyard the evening Wilson died. however the wine households of the C?te d’Or are secretive and entangled, and the additional Stern is going to find the reality, the extra he turns into the final word objective. In a beautiful debut secret filled with revenge and homicide, Stern’s merely selection is to discover the reality.

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Miraculously, I landed at the one last place in Calistoga that possessed a modicum of grit. It was a real bar with a community of regulars who’d been beating a path there for years to escape the tourists and tasters and collectors, the second-career winery owners and real estate developers who’d descended on Napa and spoiled it since I first knew it as a Berkeley undergrad. Then Pancho, who hired me, took off one night, proclaiming that he’d had it with gringos and was returning home to spend the rest of his life with his wife and kids, his brothers and sisters, his ailing grandmother.

I know it’s you. My phone tells me who’s calling. ” Her voice was quiet and lovely, and all I wanted was to look up and see her sitting across the picnic table from me. “I’m okay,” I said. ” “Yeah. ” “That’s what boys do,” she said. ” I laughed. “Not that kind of gizmo. At least, not yet. ” “Of course not. ” “Yes, I did. ” She stifled a yawn. ” “Fine. The fruit is superripe. Twenty-nine degrees. ” “Bravo,” I said, trilling my r. ” “Missing. Disappeared. No one’s seen him. He was supposed to have dinner with her in the city, then didn’t show.

There were moments when he’d look at me as if he barely knew who I was. My guilt over my child was only exacerbated by the example of Frank Mulligan, whom I’d worked with in Seattle. We were an odd couple. His mom lived in Santa Rosa with his stepfather, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A few months after I left Seattle, his stepfather died, and Frank called. He wanted to move down to keep an eye on his mother, and asked if I could find him work in the area. I told him he could split shifts with me at Pancho’s and that we’d figure it out.

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