Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Angel's Share by Ellen Crosby

ISBN-13 : 978-1250164858 - Hardcover $26.99
Publisher : Minotaur Books (November 5, 2019), 369 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley.

The blurb: When Lucie Montgomery attends a Thanksgiving weekend party for friends and neighbors at Hawthorne Castle, an honest-to-goodness castle owned by the Avery family, the last great newspaper dynasty in America and owner of the Washington Tribune, she doesn’t expect the festive occasion to end in death.

During the party, Prescott Avery, the 95-year old family patriarch, invites Lucie to his fabulous wine cellar where he offers to pay any price for a cache of 200-year-old Madeira that her great-great-uncle, a Prohibition bootlegger, discovered hidden in the US Capitol in the 1920s. Lucie knows nothing about the valuable wine, believing her late father, a notorious gambler and spendthrift, probably sold or drank it. By the end of the party Lucie and her fiancé, winemaker Quinn Santori, discover Prescott’s body lying in his wine cellar. Is one of the guests a murderer?
As Lucie searches for the lost Madeira, which she believes links Prescott’s death to a cryptic letter her father owned, she learns about Prescott’s affiliation with the Freemasons. More investigating hints at a mysterious vault supposedly containing documents hidden by the Founding Fathers and a possible tie to William Shakespeare. If Lucie finds the long-lost documents, the explosive revelations could change history. But will she uncover a three hundred-year-old secret before a determined killer finds her?

My Review:
This is the first Lucie Montgomery book that I've read and I plan to read the 9 that came before it!
The book is set in a small wealthy Virginia town full of the first vineyards of America and families that have held their farms/land since before the US was a nation. The Montgomery family and the Averys (billionaire relatives by affinity) and many of their longtime neighbors have had their homes and estates in this town for over 300 years.
Honestly, I'm just counting the years until we've paid off our mortgage, so this sort of longtime ownership of huge fertile tracts of land is exotic and fascinating to me.
The mystery in this case involves a murder but also the rumored existence of papers taken from the White House hundreds of years ago. There is a tie to the freemasons and to President Madison and a hidden treasure. The characters are easy to like and the mystery is fascinating. Overall, The Angel's Share is a delight of a read with the bonus that it makes you want to explore small towns in Virginia.

About the Author: Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone. THE ANGELS' SHARE, her latest book, is #10 in the wine country series. Look for two more books in that series in early 2021 and 2022. Before writing fiction, Crosby--who has lived in England, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union--worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at and follow her occasionally on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, sometimes on Twitter at @ellencrosby--but mostly on Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor. She also writes a very occasional (but interesting) newsletter.

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