ARC Review: A Case of Syrah, Syrah by Nancy J. Parra (A Wine Country Mystery #1)


CaseOfSyrahSyrahCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: Taylor O’Brian is a new businesswoman, founder of “Taylor’s Off The Beaten Path Wine Tours,” who lives on a small winery with her Aunt Jemma. She plans to take small groups around romantic Sonoma County to discover some of the county’s outdoor gardens. It’s all running as smooth as can be until Laura, the leader of the group of yoga instructors she’s leading, is found dead. And it’s Taylor’s corkscrew that’s found buried in Laura’s neck.

She’s not sure who to trust, and everyone around suddenly seems suspect. Only two weeks after the murder, her very own administrative assistant, Amy, marries Laura’s husband, Dan, who doesn’t seem very bereaved about being widowed, and the three yoga masters who were also out on the tour begin to seem shady. Taylor can’t afford to jump ship from her new business endeavor, but just as she begins her investigation, another dead body surfaces. This time, it’s Dan’s sister. And the killer is coming for Taylor next.

Now it’s up to Taylor to uncork this open-bottle mystery, before more blood is spilled. For fans of Laura Childs and Ellen Crosby, A Case of Syrah, Syrah is the charming first in bestselling author Nancy J. Parra’s Wine Country mysteries.

Genre: Cozy mystery
Setting: the city of Sonoma, in Sonoma County, California. Set during current time.

***I received an eARC copy of A Case of Syrah, Syrah from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, via NetGalley***

*** this post contains affiliate links *** 

Review: Even though I found the main character annoying, I still enjoyed this fun cozy mystery set in Wine Country! A Case of Syrah, Syrah is the first book in the new Wine Country Mystery series set in the city of Sonoma, in the heart of California’s Wine Country. I live in Sonoma County, and it turns out that I am very picky about books set in my home area, and I really enjoyed this mystery! I enjoyed the setting; it felt authentic enough, although we really don’t all sit around fire pits drinking wine every night as the characters in the book do. Especially not now as we were hit with terrible wildfires! But the setting was a lot of fun.

The main character is Taylor O’Brian, who returns to her home city of Sonoma after living in San Francisco. She wants to start a wine tour company, and unfortunately on her first tour, someone is killed. I found Taylor quite annoying in that she repeatedly follows the typical cozy mystery heroine antics of not listening to law enforcement, going where she shouldn’t go, and talking to people she shouldn’t talk to. As Taylor becomes the lead suspect in the murder, she stirs up more trouble for her case as she returns to the scene of the crime, handles crime scene evidence, and just basically does everything you aren’t supposed to do when accused of murder. But, even though Taylor’s actions were oh-so-frustrating, I did really enjoy the mystery of the murder. I was able to keep all of the characters straight, I remembered who they were, and fell for some of the red herrings. In so many cozy mysteries I enjoy the setting but not the actual mystery, but in A Case of Syrah, Syrah I enjoyed both the setting and the mystery itself! I just found the main character a tad annoying as she behaved as a typical cozy mystery heroine behaves.

Bottom Line: Annoying main character, but a fun mystery with a great setting.


LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***

Author Website


9 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Case of Syrah, Syrah by Nancy J. Parra (A Wine Country Mystery #1)

    1. Ha ha! Yes! That sitting around firepits & drinking wine is definitely the “tourist version” of Wine Country!
      I do have hopes that the series gets better as time goes on the main character calms down a bit.


    1. It is so frustrating! The annoying main character is one of the biggest reasons that I can’t read too many cozy mysteries in a row. I’m always on the hunt for a main cozy mystery character who doesn’t act in the typical way! I did really enjoy the setting and the actual mystery in this book though, so I’ll continue on with the series once book two comes out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was going to ask, does anyone know why the main character of cozy mystery novels must be annoying? It’s a trope, but why? What do readers (likely women) enjoy about that? I do realize that I love horror, and those characters are ALWAYS doing the wrong thing. However, it’s not always obvious WHY what the character is doing is the wrong thing. Cozy mystery leads seem to do the obviously wrong thing.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great question! And great comparison to horror characters. I don’t know why they are usually so annoying and always do the wrong thing. It’s what really frustrates me about cozy reads, but I know that many readers really enjoy all of those tropes. And another trope with cozy mysteries is that usually the heroine falls in love with someone in law enforcement. It also helps bring them into contact with the mystery if they are involved with law enforcement. The tropes may be enjoyable because they are expected and familiar. ? I’m not really sure why, but it is a subject worthy of further thought!

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Have you ever come across Anne George’s Southern Sisters series? I loved them – the sisters are middle-aged, so there’s not as much romance (though they do have children of the age to provide little romantic sub-plots), and they have totally different personalities so lots of humour in that contrast. They’re just well-written fun… 😀

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s