Died On The Vine

Rated 4.43/5 based on 7 reviews
Cissy Rayburn and her husband Jack own a small winery in rural Virginia. One day, MIA chaser Obie Winslow shows up at the winery and tells Cissy that he believes that her first husband, shot down and killed in Viet Nam, is still alive. Three days later, Cissy finds Winslow dead in the vineyard, stabbed with Jack's pruning shears. Can she find the real murderer before the sheriff arrests Jack? More

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Words: 44,960
Language: English
ISBN: 9781465920522
About Joyce Harmon

Joyce Harmon has been from one side of the galaxy to the other (slight exaggeration) and seen a lot of strange stuff (very true). Since retiring from the Navy, she has worked as a winery tour guide, a journalist for a local newspaper, selling collectibles on eBay, and making candles - and always, always, a writer. She shares her rural Virginia home with two haughty and indolent cats and one clever, busy dog, and is haunted by a noisy crowd of characters, all clamoring to be written down and set loose into the world. She accommodates them as quickly as she can. She is the author of the Passatonnack Winery mysteries, Died On The Vine and Bidding On Death. A Feather To Fly With is her first Regency romance, and she is currently working on a sequel.
Joyce blogs occasionally at http://joyceharmon.wordpress.com/ , mostly about her dog.

Also by This Author


Review by: Susan Larsen on May 10, 2013 :
Likeable characters, a believable plot and a great read!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Susan Larsen on May 08, 2013 :
Great read!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Lelia Taylor on July 28, 2012 :
The Passatonnack Winery in rural Virginia is the central setting of this cozy mystery but the Vietnam War and those who were lost are its heart. There have been MIA and KIA soldiers in every conflict but Vietnam stands out for sheer numbers as well as those infrequent touching moments when a family gains confirmation of a loved one’s fate. The idea that someone could use this vulnerability for his own purposes is, of course, horrible but we’ll always have con men, won’t we? I’m not sure whether Ms. Harmon is old enough to have lived through that terrible war (and war it truly was no matter what some may want to call it), but she has handled a still-sensitive subject with grace and real understanding.

It doesn’t hurt that the characters we meet in Died on the Vine are so very likeable. Cissy and Jack Rayburn could be your next door neighbors, caught in a potential trap but ready to meet it head on. Cissy’s friend Julia Barstow, journalist Mary Nguyen and attorney Andrew Billington Smith (great name) round out the sleuthing team and they all snoop quite well without putting themselves in dire situations. And who can resist Polly, Beau and Tough Stuff, canines and a kitten who do exactly what four-footers are supposed to do and no more but with such charm?

I have to admit that I didn’t spot the killer but there was nothing unfair about that—I just didn’t pick up on the hints. Readers should pay special attention to the epilogue which shows that the consequences of a crime are not always what you might expect. Altogether, I have to say that this debut mystery with a bit of history and a dollop of humor is decidedly entertaining and well done and I’m looking forward to the next in the series, Bidding on Death.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: manda-rae reads on July 08, 2012 :
A classic who-dunnit mystery. Set in Virginia, we have a mystery man visiting Cissy and Jack's winery claiming that Cissy's first, late husband is alive. There are quite a few references to the Vietnamese war in this book, so be ready. A few days later, Cissy finds this mystery man dead in her vineyard, and the easiest suspects to pin his murder on would be her and her husband. So what else do you do besides become an amateur detective?

Did I enjoy this read? Yes, there were a lot of twists and turns, a lot of humor, and everything was answered in the end. This is probably the first book that I've read this year that actually has a solid ending without leaving unanswered questions.

Who would I say needs to read this? People who enjoy a good, light-hearted mystery. It's something you can pick up one lazy Sunday afternoon to read.

Sidenote on the cover: After reading the book, I absolutely love the cover. It's perfect!
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: dollycas on May 21, 2012 :
Cecilla (Cissy) Rayburn and husband Jack have retired to their summer place, a winery in rural Virginia. They are settling into their routines and planning for the future when a man, Obadiah Winslow, shows up at their place and tells Cissy he believes her first husband, Jimmy is alive. Jimmy was killed in the Vietnam War when his plane was shot down. "Colonel" Winslow even has a picture of a man that could be Jimmy.

After he leaves Cissy does a little research and find that Winslow is connected with a group that tries to help families find their loved ones that were classified "Missing In Action". Before she has time to decide if she wants to pursue Winslow's claim, he is found dead. He was murdered and left in the Rayburns vineyard with Jack's secateurs in his chest. Jack becomes the prime suspect. They thought they left the rat race to relax in the country. To save their days of wine and roses she must find the real killer before Jack is arrested for a crime he didn't commit.

Dollycas's Thoughts
I really enjoyed this cozy mystery! The clipper culprit was quite a surprise.

Cissy sets out to find the killer with the help of her friend Julie. Then they find a very interesting person with quite a bit of information about Colonel Obadiah Winslow. Together they are a team to be reckoned with. Julie is not one to mince words and Cissy calms the waters, which makes for a few humorous moments.

The setting di"vine" and the mystery is clever.

This is the delightful cozy to read with a nice glass of wine while relaxing on the deck on a Spring afternoon. I am looking forward to Harmon pulling the cork on the next installment of this series.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Jennifer Zuna on April 07, 2012 :
I've never read a "cozy" mystery before. I was hooked by the description. The main characters pesonality shines and is so down to earth you feel like you are hearing the story over a cup of coffee in her kitchen. I loved the amatuer sluething in the story, it was realistic and believable. There was just enough mystery mixed in with some giggles to make this a thouroghly enjoyable book! A truly unique setting and a great cast of characters made me sad when the book ended. I want to see more of Cissy Rayburn!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Mallory Heart Reviews on March 06, 2012 :
Cissy (Cecilia) Rayburn, in 1996, is a happily married (for the second time, and for the past twenty-two years) wife, her husband retired, and she working at home, the former “summer place” in Virginia, where they now live year-round and operate a vineyard, her husband Jack’s new “retirement passion.” Life is good, slow-paced, and full of contentment-until the unexpected arrival of MIA hunter “Colonel” Obadiah Winslow, waving a photograph he claims proves Cissy’s first husband might still be alive, and missing, not killed in action thirty years earlier. Colonel Winslow spews much bluff and bluster, endearing him to conspiracy theorists, but few, if any, are the “missing” soldiers he has actually found and returned. So his approach to Cissy is soon forgotten; until she and her dog Pollyanna find Winslow dead in the vineyard, wearing her husband’s missing secateurs.

A delightfully intriguing novel with an exciting premise, and a perfectly set-up introduction: what’s not to love? I was fascinated from page one, and never lost my interest. Ms. Harmon writes well and delectably, introducing characters and situations (and memories) with which I “fell in love” immediately. On the surface, this mystery is a “cozy,” but below the surface are more levels than one might expect, and justifiably so-rendering even more delight to the lucky reader.
A page-turner for sure, “Died on the Vine” will endear itself to mystery readers and more, and certainly makes me want to find more novels from this author.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

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