Roses, Wine & Murder

In the City of Steeples

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
316 Pages
Reviewed on 11/04/2017
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite

I love books with characters that are real, flawed and relatable, and a setting that is, of course, colorful. Roses, Wine & Murder: In the City of Steeples by Rose Young didn’t disappoint me. I must say that I found more than what I bargained for — characters I can’t just brush aside, a plot I couldn’t stop following, and a conflict that grabbed my interest from the very first page. The story combines aspects from different genres — thriller, historical, mystery, and crime fiction — and pulls the reader into an intriguing world where a murder investigation takes place, with wine dinners and many other things in between.

Expert gardener Roxanne Samson has just become one of the primary suspects when a dead man is found in her city garden. Georgi Algarve, who manages the Vinho Verde wine bar, is her friend, and both of them know they are in trouble. Anxious to solve the murder, they undertake an investigation that could have more devastating results than they imagine. Readers are introduced to a no-nonsense man, a skilled New London detective, Dan Morrison, a man who is bent on finding the killer. But the more he digs, the more obscure the path he walks becomes. With an impending Presidential Speech scheduled for the Coast Guard Academy and multiple suspects on the list, can he solve a case that has escalated so quickly?

The precision and economy of prose are among the elements that stand out prominently in this narrative. From the very beginning, the reader is thrust into a world of conflict and wonders who wins at the end. I enjoyed the way Rose Young sustains the reader’s curiosity and how the characters take on a life of their own. Roses, Wine & Murder: In the City of Steeples has a beautiful setting, a gripping plot, and readers can’t resist the wonderful pacing. It’s one of the most entertaining books I have read in this genre this year.

Trudi LoPreto

Roses, Wine & Murder: In the City of Steeples has a little of everything for readers; New England vineyards, gardening, mystery, intrigue, friendship, crazy escapades, and is truly a book worth reading. Roxanne is shocked to find a dead man as she cares for the plants in her city garden. Georgi is the manager of the Vinho Verde Wine Bar. Mitch Stockman is the man found dead and the owner of the Vinho Verde Wine Bar. Detective Morrison is assigned to the case which will go in many directions, and find more people dead, all while he has no idea of any suspect. Roxanne and Georgi decide that they can help solve the murder of their friend Mitch, even though they are asked many times to stay out of it. Roxanne and Georgi have both been victims and know they can find some clues. The story must be read to truly enjoy all of the adventures, close calls, trouble and situations the two amateur detectives find themselves in.

I really enjoyed reading Roses, Wine & Murder very much. I found myself worrying, chuckling and just plain being immersed in the antics and mystery of the book. It is obvious that Rose Young knows her topics of wine and gardening well and she writes with many interesting facts amidst the fiction. I urge readers to pick up Roses, Wine & Murder. Personally I would love to see this book become a made-for-TV movie; it has all the ingredients needed to win awards and lots of viewers. Roses, Wine & Murder: In the City of Steeples is a winner. I loved the book.

Deborah Lloyd

New London, Connecticut is the setting for this intriguing – and sometimes nail-biting – murder mystery. Roxanne Samson, wife of the Fire Chief, finds the dead body of a well-dressed man propped up against the Christopher Columbus statue on Columbus Circle. Roxanne is a member of the New London Beautification Committee, and she tends to many gardens in the town, including the one on Columbus Circle. The body is identified as Mitch Stockman, owner of the Vinho Verde Wine Bar. The manager of the bar, Georgi Algarve, and Roxanne begin an escapade of finding the murderer, although Detective Dan Morrison is on the case. In Roses, Wine & Murder: In the City of Steeples by Rose Young, Georgi and Roxanne are only two among many fascinating characters, who live locally and on Long Island, in this entertaining and exciting adventure. There are many harrowing moments throughout the story.

Besides an engaging plot, this mystery also includes a great deal of information about wines, the wine industry, gardening (including poisonous plants), Connecticut history and New England charm. The author skillfully introduces a number of characters; her descriptions are so vivid it seems as if the reader could identify each one in a crowd. The interactions between Georgi and Roxanne especially are simply fun to read. Author Rose Young has penned a wonderful murder mystery in Roses, Wine & Murder: In the City of Steeples. At the end of the book, she promises that another adventure with Georgi and Roxanne is on the horizon – wonderful news indeed!

Divine Zape

Roses, Wine & Murder: In the City of Steeples by Rose Young is a perfect blend of mystery and murder in the hands of a master storyteller. The picturesque setting, coupled with the gripping plot, with wine dinners, poisonous plants, and a gritty investigation make this story a memorable one. Roxanne Samson is an expert in gardening, a very sweet and adorable woman. When a rich wine connoisseur is found dead in her city garden, she becomes one of the prime suspects. It doesn’t take long for wine aficionado and manager of Vinho Verde wine bar, Georgi Algarve, to realize that he could be in deep trouble, together with Roxanne, his friend. The two set out to uncover the face of the killer, but they don’t know that they are setting themselves up for more trouble. The game changes when the reputable New London detective, Dan Morrison, gets on board. But does he have what it takes to capture a sly and elusive killer before the President’s imminent speech at the Coast Guard Academy?

The reader is thrust into the story right off the bat, captivated by the strong storytelling skills of the author and the awesome pacing. The setting is atmospheric and features elements of New England that will delight the reader’s senses. I will be surprised if the author isn’t a wine connoisseur. The characters are well-explored and developed to perfection, and the reader will feel like they walked the same road with them. I enjoyed the unexpected twists in the plot, the wonderful setting, and Rose Young’s masterful handling of conflict. Roses, Wine & Murder: In the City of Steeples is an exciting read, intelligently plotted and accomplished to a masterly finish. A must-read from one of today’s best storytellers.

Liz Konkel

Roses, Wine & Murder by Rose Young is the first mystery following the sleuthing adventures of Roxanne and Georgi. While Roxanne is tending to her city garden, she discovers the shock of her life: the dead body of Mitch Stockman, owner of Vinho Verde Wine Bar and her friend Georgi's boss. With a toxic plant stuffed in his mouth and no one suspect with a motive, Detective Dan Morrison is desperate to find a lead. When Mitch's will reveals that Georgi inherits the wine bar in the event of his death, Georgi becomes the most likely suspect. Roxanne knows he's innocent and is determined to do whatever it takes to prove it.

Georgi and Roxanne are a dazzling pair, playing well off each other with complementing personalities. They build off one another and make each other more and more likable with each scene they share. They're a bit opposite, but their differences balance out. Roxanne is more independent and serious than Georgi, while he's more naive, passionate, and flamboyant, but they make each other a stronger character. She encourages him to be more independent and tones down some of his dramatic flair, while he supports her and encourages her sleuthing curiosity. They'll be your favorite sleuthing duo, with their sweet humor and dedicated friendship.

The mystery is complex with a lot of threads that slowly come together in a fun and satisfying conclusion. Rose Young offers a wide range of perspectives, from Roxanne to the detective to the killer, allowing for a chance to understand each character's motivation. There's a sharp wit, humor, and intelligence in Young's writing that will easily charm you. Roses, Wine & Murder is a fun ride, funny and compelling, with a complex mystery and a peek inside the world of plants and wine.