James Ryder has it all. A founding pioneer of the Oregon wine industry, he has, in addition to the stately good looks of a gentleman farmer, the perfect family, an ample bank account, and the prestige of owning one of Oregon’s oldest and most respected wineries. His youngest daughter has taken up the torch to become the second generation winemaker at Ryder Estate.
His only problem is those pesky developers from Nevada who want to put a destination resort/spa right up the hill from his property. What will they do for water? Tap into his well? Ryder won’t have it, as he is quick to tell Max Weatherman, a representative of the developers, during the Salmon Bake at the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville.
It’s a blistering hot night. Tempers flare, and fisticuffs ensue. A short while later, Ryder is found dead, stabbed in a porta-potty at the very festival he helped found.
Enter the not-so-intrepid Emma Golden, who’s a long-time friend and admirer of Ryder. She’s at the Salmon Bake with her Portland buddy Cat Millett, reliving old times. They’re guests of Melody Wyatt, Emma’s friend and sidekick, and owner of the Westerly B&B–a place where all the notables stay while in wine country, including Weatherman and Britisher Florian Craig, a man with a mysterious past who now is wine columnist for the New York Times.
Stir into the mix a widow with cancer, a rumble in the vineyard, two greedy daughters, a blossoming romance, strange characters in a black Humvee, and the disappearance of a prime suspect, and you have The Man Who Wasn’t There–the third novel in the Emma Golden Mystery series.
Right now, gentle readers, I’m slogging toward the home stretch. With any luck, there will be an ebook by the end of May and a paperback to follow soon after. So stay tuned. And please send all your good vibes my way, because right now I all the help I can get! Thanks.