Dying on the Vine

Dying on the Vine

Book - 2012
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Edgar® Award-winning author Aaron Elkins's creation--forensics professor Gideon Oliver--has been hailed by the Chicago Tribune as "a likable, down-to-earth, cerebral sleuth." Now, the celebrated Skeleton Detective is visiting friends at a vineyard in Tuscany when murder leaves a bitter aftertaste...

It was the unwavering custom of Pietro Cubbiddu, patriarch of Tuscany's Villa Antica wine empire, to take a solitary month-long sabbatical at the end of the early grape harvest, leaving the winery in the trusted hands of his three sons. His wife, Nola, would drive him to an isolated mountain cabin in the Apennines and return for him a month later, bringing him back to his family and business.

So it went for almost a decade--until the year came when neither of them returned. Months later, a hiker in the Apennines stumbles on their skeletal remains. The carabinieri investigate and release their findings: they are dealing with a murder-suicide. The evidence makes it clear that Pietro Cubbiddu shot and killed his wife and then himself. The likely motive: his discovery that Nola had been having an affair.

Not long afterwards, Gideon Oliver and his wife, Julie, are in Tuscany visiting their friends, the Cubbiddu offspring. The renowned Skeleton Detective is asked to reexamine the bones. When he does, he reluctantly concludes that the carabinieri, competent though they may be, have gotten almost everything wrong. Whatever it was that happened in the mountains, a murder-suicide it was not.

Soon Gideon finds himself in a morass of family antipathies, conflicts, and mistrust, to say nothing of the local carabinieri's resentment. And when yet another Cubbiddu relation meets an unlikely end, it becomes bone-chillingly clear that the killer is far from finished...
Publisher: New York : Berkley Prime Crime, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780425247884
Branch Call Number: M ELK
Characteristics: vi, 294 p. ;,24 cm


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Apr 07, 2017

My first reading of this author and I really enjoyed it. Mystery and a feeling of Italy with the food and wine. It was nice to read a mystery where only 3 people were murdered instead of multiple deaths. The forensic science background was very interesting. I have to read some more of his books.

Jun 19, 2013

Aaron Elkins is enjoyable to read. He is one of my favorites. This particular book has lots of descriptions of Italy and its culture, cuisine, as well. It is nice to read a good mystery book that can be counted on to be interesting.

May 28, 2013

A satisfying read, very glad that the author returned to this series as it is one of my favorites. The story itself could have been stronger, but the ending did catch me off guard and it's been a long time since a book did that. All in all I enjoyed spending time with Gideon, Julie and John again.

Feb 18, 2013

[Excerpted from my full review on The Bookwyrm's Hoard blog.]

Dying on the Vine is the newest and somewhat uninspired entry in this usually satisfying series. The crime and the solution have some interesting twists, including one I really didn’t see coming (as well as one or two which I did). It held my attention while I was reading it, and it was, as I expected, a light and enjoyable read. My only real problem with Dying on the Vine is that the plot seems at times almost secondary to the setting. Several days after reading the book, what lingers in my mind is neither the crime nor the characters (though I rather liked the laid-back Italian carabiniere in charge of the investigation.) Elkins is always good at evoking the setting of his mysteries, usually without overdoing it, but here his descriptions of buildings and towns read almost like a travel guide, and he spends almost as much time detailing his characters’ frequent meals and coffee breaks as he does on the crime investigation. As a result, the book feels a bit out of balance. Overall, I’d have to say that I liked Dying on the Vine, but not as much as some of the other books in the series.

Jan 08, 2013

Dr. Gideon Oliver aka The Bone Detective has been one of my favorite series. But, if this had been the first of the series I read, it would have also been the last. It ain't bad, it ain't good. It's (I suppose) good enough. It brings back characters we know and love, but they lack the vitality we've seen in them in the past.

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