"Marriage, Merlot & Murder" By Gemma Halliday: Review/Giveaway

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook set of the first three
books in the series: A Sip Before Dying – book #1, Chocolate Covered Death – book #2, Victim in the Vineyard – book #3 and a link to purchase this book from Amazon.

A Vintage Cozy Mystery!
Sonoma wine country is Mecca for foodies and wine connoisseurs and home to the Oak Valley Vineyard, a family winery currently owned by Emmeline Oak. Although her talents and training in the culinary arts have added a new dimension to the winery, when she took possession, she discovered the bottom line was in a desperate state. She began hosting various public events and a Wine and Food Festival to highlight her wines and display her winery as the perfect venue for conferences, galas, and milestone celebrations. Her efforts are supported by a delightful group of friends turned family: vineyard manager Hector Villarreal and wife Conchita, sommelier Jean Luc Gasteon, winery manager Eddie Bliss, and of course, BFF/local jewelry designer Ava Barnett. This group, along with the handsome Detective Christopher Grant with whom there may be “something,” is also an invaluable part in her amateur efforts investigating a few murders that unfortunately have put the winery on the front pages for all the wrong reasons. Wine, dine, and a cozy murder...entertaining fun!

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Image Source Gemma Halliday Publishing
Marriage, Merlot & Murder earns 5/5 Vintage Libations...Delightfully Entertaining!
Many of Emmy’s efforts to bring in additional and consistent revenue necessary to keep the winery afloat have not been as successful as she hoped, but as she prepares for the winery’s first wedding event in a decade, she is cautiously optimistic. Well, that’s what she keeps telling herself. The difficulties making a floral fairy tale decor in winter and pairing the wrong wine with the lobster because the groom wants it and figuring what to do with an accident-prone winery manager have been a nail-biting challenge. Emmy desperately needs this wedding to go off without a hitch, a broken glass, or dare I say, a dead body! Spoken too soon... Socialite Juliet Somersby is marrying Alfred “call me Freddy” Campbell, and although she is the daughter of a hotel magnate, she chose to have her wedding at the winery. However, the bride’s father doesn’t like the groom, Juliet’s ex-boyfriend physically confronted the groom, the bride’s maid/groom’s cousin won’t stop taking about the groom’s wayward ways, the groom’s finances seem to have suspicious origins, and the groom is witnessed ogling Ava. So, who killed the groom? Anybody.

Cheers! I eagerly got myself comfy with a nice glass of Merlot and didn’t move, greatly enjoying the fourth book from the Wine and Dine series by my “Your the Top! Best of 2019” author Gemma Halliday. Gemma’s writing style is very entertaining with language clear and descriptive, clever and informative, smooth and easy to read. Her dialogue does well to illustrate the tone and emotions along with the various personalities from level-headed to emotional, from aloof to intense, from forthright to suspicious. I greatly enjoyed the drama as it followed the traditional cozy formula that has made me a fan: intriguing setting, fascinating occupation, informative introductions, early on murder, personal imperative to solve the crime, a bit of peril, a bit of romance, a “Wow!” ending, and recipes...all here! However, I’ve invested my interest in Emmy and her endeavors, so I wish the murders, however deserved and karmic, were set somewhere other than her winery: in town? at Ava’s shop? a bordering vineyard? on a trip to a vender conference? She’s gonna to be unfairly known as Murder Central Vineyards...how can she survive that moniker! I can’t wait to enjoy more! I highly recommend the series and starting with book four is fine, no spoilers. You’ll be hooked no matter where you start.

BONUS! Gemma always includes a marvelous set of easy-to-follow recipes. I greatly enjoy the added Tips! for exchanges or techniques, Shortcuts!, and of course, the perfect Wine Pairings to make you the best sommelier you can be. Enjoy the Lobster Tails Thermidor set to be served at the wedding, Brie and Baby Spinach Omelet with Toasted Ciabatta Bread, Crustless Vegetable Quiche, Roasted Eggplant Mozzarella with Homemade Basil Marinara Sauce, French Onion Soup with Sherry, Maple Bacon Pancakes, and Brunch Sangria. Beyond yum! I see the need for a Wine & Dine Cookbook!

Alert! Coming April 14, the fifth book, Death in Wine Country, will be released. “One of [Emmy’s] past clients [as a personal chef]—soap opera star Carrie Cross—purchases a vacation home in Wine Country, Emmy is happy to cater her housewarming party. Only, what starts as a Hollywood-worthy affair ends in tragedy, as one of Carrie's costar guests is killed, and everyone is a suspect.” Whew, that must mean Emmy and the winery are still in business!

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

To enter to win an ebook set of the first three books in the series, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "wine,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 8, 2020. 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 went 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. Three books! Very generous! Count me in!

  2. Love this cover! Legallyblonde1961@yahoo.com

  3. Sounds like a great series. Thanks for the chance.

  4. What a great giveaway. I haven't had the opportunity to read Gemma Halliday's Wine and Dine series. It looks very inviting. robeader53(at)yahoo(dot)com

  5. This series looks awesome! I have book #1, might have to start reading it today. Thanks for the giveaway! Fingers crossed!
    Stacieamelotte (at) yahoo (dot) com

  6. Awesome giveaway. I'll look into this series. kckendler at gmail dot com

  7. These books sound awesome. Thanks for the blog and contest. Hugbug_24@yahoo.com

  8. Count me in! I love all of the books by Gemma - lauriecrome@gmail.com

  9. This sounds like a wonderful series! Count me in. Thank you for the chance. (and I love the covers!!) lilyanngill56(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. Thank you and please enter me.
    Marilyn ewatvess@yahoo.com

  11. I’d absolutely be thrilled to win and read these. Thanks so much for the chance!


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