Reading order for The Wine Country Mysteries.
The books in the Virginia wine country series do not have to be read in order, but if you start from the beginning you’ll know more about the history of the characters and understand a few references to past events. If you’re like my husband, you need to start with book one, The Merlot Murders. If you’re like me, feel free to jump in anywhere and read backward and forward in the series.
Pocket Books, the publisher for the paperback series, decided to change the title to The Vintage Vendetta when they brought The Viognier Vendetta out in paperback because of a concern that the word “Viognier” (VEE-ohn-yay) was too difficult to pronounce and was a wine most people had never heard of. A few years ago Scribner re-published the first six books in the series as trade paperbacks and the book is once again called The Viognier Vendetta.
My publishers—Scribner, Pocket Books, and St. Martin's/Minotaur—decide on the cover art for my books, which is designed in their art department; the cover "reveal" is always one of my favorite parts of the publishing process. However as part of my contract, I have the opportunity to review each jacket and make comments: the woman in an earlier version of Multiple Exposure was a blonde, for example, and Sophie Medina, who is half-Spanish, has dark brown hair so it was changed.
One interesting footnote: the covers for the first six Virginia wine country mystery mass market paperbacks (now out of print), which were published by Pocket Books, were designed by Wendell Minor, who has done the original artwork for books by such authors as Rad Bradbury, Mary Higgins Clark, Pat Conroy, James Michener, Garrison Keillor, Larry McMurtry, David McCullough and dozens of others. A few years ago when I was in Charlottesville for the Virginia Book Festival, I found a book he published called Art for the Written Word: Twenty-five Years of Book Cover Art in an antiquarian book store—which I bought, of course—and learned Wendell was also responsible for many iconic book jackets such as Catch-22 and To Kill A Mockingbird, among others. We are now Facebook friends and you can find him here.
There is a map of Lucie’s wine country (rather primitive and drawn by me) in the front of the first six books; many of the places I write about are real places. The Goose Creek Inn is actually based on a restaurant in Great Falls, Virginia called L’Auberge Chez François. Thelma, who owns the General Store, is based on a wonderful old ice cream parlor called “Thelma’s,” which was also in Great Falls, and is now the site of an assisted living home..
Lucie’s vineyard is based on Swedenburg Estate Vineyard in Middleburg, VA, which is now known as Greenhill Winery and Vineyards; Rick Tagg, winemaker at Delaplane Cellars in Delaplane, VA, who became my wine advisor after Juanita Swedenburg passed away in 2007, reminds me a lot of Quinn—especially after he started wearing Hawaiian shirts!
In 2016 Moscow Nights was finally published in the US in print and as an e-book from Speaking Volumes. The original edition, published in the UK, is increasingly becoming a “rare” book—you will need to look on used bookstore sites, probably in the UK or Australia. Many copies now available are former library copies and, occasionally, a new copy will be available, though I’ve heard the price can be as much as $1,000 for a hardcover in pristine condition. If you are a collector looking for one of those copies, you can contact one of the independent bookstores where I do book events as many booksellers are happy to track down hard-to-find books for their customers.
At this time, I don’t have book club questions. However there is a lot of background information about the books on my website.
All my books are available as e-books and as audio books with the exception of Moscow Nights, which is only available as an e-book.