and murder for dessert
Ellen McKenzie and her fiancÚ, Chief of Police Dan Dunham, are on their way to the very upscale Harvest Festival  Dinner, hosted by Ellen's niece, Sabrina, and her husband, Mark Tortelli. They are seasoned winery professionals. What could go wrong?

New to Silver Springs Winery, the Tortellis have been worried for weeks that their jobs depend on the success of this event, and the reputation of the guest chef hasn't helped calm their nerves. Otto Messinger is noted for his temper tantrums. Ellen is hoping he'll keep himself in check. Dan is hoping the Tortellis, who have been staying with Ellen for a month, will triumph and soon find their own place to live.

Tonight's guest list seems to include everyone who has ever had a feud with Otto, a fact the little chef is thoroughly enjoying. The dinner progresses, a little shaky but without disaster, Then it's time for dessert. But where is Otto?

It is Sabrina who finds him, quite dead, in a wine fermenting tank.  Who helped him into it? Dan seems to think it was Sabrina. Ellen would prefer Dan find another suspect - - and there are plenty . . .
Read A Review:

Ellen McKenzie never thought she’d get remarried. So why is she now engaged? She’s really not sure how it happened. She loves Dan Dunham, Santa Louisa Chief of Police, but marriage?

Her niece, Sabrina Tortelli, and her husband Mark are coming to stay with Ellen. Mark is the new winemaker at Silver Springs Winery, and Sabrina will be managing the tasting room and doing special events. Ellen, a realtor, has been wrangled by her sister Catherine to let them stay with her while Ellen finds them a rental.

At the Harvest Festival Dinner at the winery, guest chef Otto Messinger and Frank Tortelli, Mark’s dad, get into a verbal fight. Soon after Otto is discovered dead in one of the old fashioned wooden fermenting tanks. Sabrina and Mark are both suspects, but Sabrina appears to be their prime suspect.

Ellen doesn’t believe Sabrina did it. She sets out to find out who did, with the help of her Aunt Mary. To complicate life even more, an old high school classmate of Ellen’s is back in town and trying to pick up their “romance” where it left off. Funny thing is, there was no romance!

Can Ellen keep Sabrina out of jail and find the real killer without becoming the next victim?

I really enjoyed this book. Ellen is such a wonderful character. The interaction between the various characters is well written. The story moves at a good pace. The winery is a good setting for this story as well.

I highly recommend this book.

Dawn Dowdle

Hero Real Estate Agent Ellen McKenzie is concerned about her niece and family in this latest Ellen McKenzie mystery. Delaney sets a very fine table leading up to the discovery of the chef’s body in a wine vat during a very important dinner and wine tasting evening. Unfortunately for Ellen and her fiancÚ, the chief of police of their homey California town, the most likely suspect is Ellen’s niece, Sabrina. Sabrina and her husband, Mark, have just taken new jobs at a local winery and stay with Ellen while they find a place of their own. Ellen is supportive of them, although she doesn’t know them very well. An over the top lush of a magazine writer and a delusional wanna-be boyfriend add a quirky element to the cast of suspects when a major theft and a subsequent murder takes place. How could sweet Sabrina get into so much trouble?

Ellen’s personal life is in turmoil as well, as she contemplates marriage for a second time. After the disaster of her first marriage, she’s not certain she wants to repeat the experience, even though Dan, her fiancÚ, is nothing like her former husband. Ellen’s Aunt Mary does all she can to help Ellen and Dan. Sabrina and Mark’s dog and Mark’s famous chef father, Frank, who may or may not have anything to do with his rival chef’s murder, keep the reader in stitches over their antics.

Throughout the tale Delaney teaches her readers about the art of wine-making in California. It’s clear she is comfortable with her story and her characters, which were wonderfully entertaining. This is the third in a series of mysteries, and her debut novel with Poisoned Pen Press.

Lisa Lickel

. . . congenial characters make Delaney's debut an enjoyable addition to the cozy scene.


Delaney's choice of setting, gossipy milieu and colorful . . . suspects help to keep Ellen scrambling and move the action right along.

Publishers Weekly

And Murder For Dessert is a light mystery (as opposed to a gory, scary one) with suspense and a likable herione.

Jane Bowers Romance Reviews Today