"Victim in the Vineyard" A Wine & Dine Mystery By Gemma Halliday: Review/Giveaway/Recipe

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

A Vintage Delight!

I can attest to the fact that the Sonoma wine country is a beautiful destination for tourists and also the home to Oak Valley Vineyard in Gemma Halliday’s marvelous Wine & Dine Mystery series. The delightful Emmy Oak has taken ownership of the family’s vineyard and winery after her father’s death and her mother entering a home, and although she has “wine” in her DNA, it’s her culinary talents that have added a new dimension to the ten-acres of vines, lovely Spanish-style estate, and a “cave” full of delicious varietals. She continues to create various events to highlight the wines and the winery as a lovely destination to host cooperate events, family celebrations, and festivals. She is supported by a delightful surrogate family of vineyard manager Hector Villarreal and wife Conchita, sommelier Jean Luc, and of course, BFF Ava Barnett. Improving the business’s bottom line is essential since she doesn’t want to lose the winery on her watch, but it’s the pesky murders that keep Emmy on her toes, in contact with the handsome Detective Christopher Grant, and me eager to read more!

A Sip Before Dying (May)
Chocolate Covered Death (July)
Victim in the Vineyard (September)
Marriage, Merlot & Murder (Preorder Now! January, 2020)
Death in Wine Country (Coming in 2020)
Fashion, Rosé and Foul Play (Coming in 2020)

➡ switch to KingsRiverLife.com for more articles ⬅

Image Source Gemma Halliday Publishing
Victim in the Vineyard earns 5/5 Groomed Vines...Engaging Fun!
Emmy is preparing to host the four-day Sonoma Wine and Food Festival transforming the vineyard into a lovely array of booths to showcase area restaurants, budding chefs, and local artisans like her BFF Ava and her handmade silver jewelry. It is the perfect opportunity for Emmy to highlight the best wines her winery has produced as well as a few of her culinary treats...if the oven doesn’t conk out. The biggest coup was getting Tyler Daniels, TV celebrity chef and owner of a popular restaurant chain Tyler’s Place, to act as MC for the event. However, he turns out to be quite a demanding diva (Is it divo if it’s a guy?), and along with the arrival of his hair and make up entourage, his TV partner complaining about the weather, and an ex-wife complaining about Tyler, this event is going to be a challenge. But, the demos go extremely well, the wine tasting is a hit, and Emmy is optimistic, until...oh karma, Tyler’s body is found in the vineyard, and witnesses report an argument between Tyler and Jean Luc. No, not Jean Luc! Emmy needs to look more closely into this!

CHEERS! Gemma Halliday’s Wine & Dine series has become a personal favorite, and this third book checks all the boxes to make it very entertaining. First, I greatly enjoy the lovely Sonoma wine country made to come alive with her vivid descriptions. The characters are very well-developed, relate as family, respond realistically, and through Gemma’s dialogue their emotions, humor, and personalities are illustrated well. The murder mystery always has a bit of karma to enjoy, but the motive isn’t always obvious, hidden by the jealousies, greed, and disfunction of the various suspects. Partners? Exes? Lawyers? Critics? And in this case, the close-to-home “person of interest” needs Emmy’s help even when the evidence is hard to refute. All-in-all Gemma provides an entertaining challenge for any inner Sherlock all the way to the end. Romance is hinted between Emmy and the detective. Emmy doesn’t always circumvent the detective’s authority, but she is strong-willed and protective of friends and that causes delightfully conflict...but I see good things ahead. Finally, the big reveal always includes some nail-biting peril for Emmy, bop on the head or gun in the face, but someone always goes to jail. Cozy fans can’t pass up this one!

BONUS! Gemma has included easy-to-follow recipes that are incorporated in the story with direct links to the recipes in the eBook version. I greatly enjoy the added Tips for exchanges or techniques, and of course, the best wine pairing. In this book enjoy Easy Mediterranean Chicken, Fettuccini Pomodoro (See Below), “Turn Up the Heat” Burger, Summer Fruit Flambé, Caprese Panzanella Salad, and Champagne Mules. Yum!

Be a Big Gemma Halliday Fan!
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling Author Gemma Halliday pens other popular and entertaining series cozy fans will enjoy. My favorite series is this Wine & Dine Mysteries, but I greatly enjoy her other series that combine full-length books and some entertaining short stories. Check out her exciting cozy series: High Heels Mystery with #13 Suspect in High Heels due in October, Hollywood Headlines with #6 Hollywood Revenge out this year, Jamie Bond, Marty Hudson, and Tahoe Tessie Mysteries. Coming this year is her thriller Dead to Rights from her Anna Smith & Nick Dade series.

Like, Visit, Follow!
Facebook–Gemma Halliday
 Website–Gemma Halliday
Twitter @gemmahallidayca

Fresh Fettuccini Pomodoro

1 cup "00" flour
1 cup semolina flour
3 large eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 can (28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes, peeled
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
fresh basil to taste
pepper to taste
grated Parmesan cheese

Mix the flour using a sifter onto a clean work surface or large cutting board. Make a well in the center (using your measuring cup works well!). Add the eggs into the well, along with the 2 Tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp sea salt. Using your fingers, mix the ingredients together until you have smooth, firm dough. If the dough is too dry, add a little water. If it's too wet or sticky, add a little more semolina flour. You will want to mix until you have an elastic consistency.

Wrap the dough in plastic or set in a covered bowl for at least 30 min. to rest.

Once rested, divide the dough into small balls (roughly 6–8), and run each ball through the pasta machine. Then fold the pasta into thirds and run it through the machine again. Continue this process until you reach the desired thickness. (See the Tips for rolling without a machine!) Once you have achieved the desired thickness, run the pasta through the fettuccine cutter. Dredge the pasta lightly in flour to prevent sticking and set aside on a baking sheet or drying rack.

In a large pot, boil roughly 3 quarts of water, well salted. Add pasta and cook just until tender and al dente, about 3–5 minutes.

In the meantime, make the pomodoro sauce by adding 2 Tbsp olive oil to a pan, and over medium heat sauté the onion, garlic, and oregano until onion is translucent. Chop or crush the tomatoes and add to pan, along with red pepper flakes, torn or chopped basil leaves, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook 8–10 minutes.

Drain pasta and add directly to the pomodoro saucepan, mixing well before serving. Add Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Makes 4 servings!

You can substitute all-purpose flour for the "00" flour and still use semolina or substitute all-purpose flour for both! You may just a need to add a bit more oil or water to keep it from getting dry. "00" flour is finer and gives pasta the more silky quality. Semolina flour is a coarser, high-protein flour that helps the dough achieve the elasticity. However, you can still make delicious pasta with all-purpose flour, if that's what is in your cupboard!

Don't have a pasta machine? You can roll the dough out by hand on a floured surface. Try to roll as thin as possible without breaking it. Then cut the dough to desired pasta length and roll it up like a jellyroll. Cut the roll into thin pieces. Unroll each strand and cook as above.

Wine Pairings

Best served with red wines that are aromatic and high enough in acidity to compete with the acidic tomatoes, like a Merlot or Zinfandel. Some of Emmy's suggestions: Zinfandelic Sierra Foothills Old Vine Zinfandel, 7 Deadly Zins, Provenance Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot.

To enter to win an ebook copy of Victim in the Vineyard, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "victim,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 28, 2019. If entering via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting. Maybe she can go on the Placer Wine Trail in the next book. Count me in!

  2. Thanks for the chance! JL_Minter@Hotmail.com

  3. Would really like to read. Thanks for the chance.

  4. Thank you for the opportunity.


  5. I live along the shore of Lake Erie and we have many, many wineries in our area. It continues
    though the northwest corner of Pennsylvania and on into New York state. In the early fall, after the
    first frost, it is so delicious to ride with the windows open and smell the sweet odor of the grapes.
    Thanks for the chance to enter this giveaway. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  6. Thank you for this chance to win. 1cow0993(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. I would love to read this book. I have not seen this series before. Thanks for the chance.

  8. Thanks for the chance! cgstratman(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. I would love to read the book! Thanks for the chance! rjspratlen@gmail.com

  10. Even though this author is new to me, I sure would like to read the book and this series sounds very interesting and sounds like a fantastic read, Sure like to win, read and review this book. These are my types of books. Thanks for the chance to win. Hope I win. email is is: don(dot)stewart(at)zoominternet(dot)net

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  12. Looks like a great read and I like that recipes are included!


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