This is a hard book for me to review. I really liked Flinn's first three books featuring Molly Doyle, the antiques dealer who lives in Carmel, California. Molly had an exciting life in New York before her husband left her and destroyed her reputation. Now she's trying to start a new life in California, building up her own business and raising her niece Emma.
The reason it's hard for me to review is because I'm not sure this is a cozy mystery. Molly is a good character and I usually like her a lot -- even if she does smoke and swear, two things that I don't really like to see in a book. This book seemed to have more violence than the others and just a harder edge overall. That's why I'm not sure if Flinn is still writing in the cozy genre. It seems like she's trying to be more hardboiled. And I think that's fine, but I'm not sure if that's what her fans will be expecting when they pick up Deadly Vintage.
In this book Molly is helping redecorate one of the local wineries. The owner of the winery is married to a real jerk, an abusive husband who Molly hates right away. (I hated him, too! I don't like seeing characters like him too much.) Things get really bad when Molly is at a party at the winery and the husband is shot dead right in front of her! That was an unexpected scene of violence, that's for sure.
Molly is a suspect in the murder for a while and...Well, I don't want to give away any of the story! (Like I said before I hate spoilers.) But I will say that Molly does her usual smart job of helping the police chief solve the crime.
I like Molly (even if she does smoke) and I like her niece Emma, a real cute kid. The police chief is okay, too, but he shouldn't always be cussing. (People don't have to cuss to be tough in books.) So while I liked the book, and it's a good story, I wasn't sure if Flinn was trying to write a cozy or something else. If it's something else, I think she should tell her fans that so we know what to expect.