Dying on the Vine – REVIEW

4 out of 5 stars.

Dying on the Vine is the second installment in the Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding mystery series by Marla Cooper. It was very well-written, but not quite my cup of tea.

Dying on the Vine book cover - Bride dressed in a white sleeveless bridal gown, holding a wine glass - book cover is edged with grape vines, grapes, bees and wine glasses

Add to Goodreads button

Purchase Links: AmazonB&NKobo

Line of cakes - cakes with blueberries or strawberries, multi-tiered cakes good for weddings, small green cakes with roses, chocolate with vanilla frosting cake with candles
© Graphic Garden

 Brief Synopsis

Spirited wedding planner Kelsey McKenna juggles a sabotaged wedding and a cold-blooded killer in beautiful California wine country in this hilarious follow-up to Terror in Taffeta.

Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna just signed on to a dream gig. She’s going to be the “day-of” coordinator at the beautiful Higgens Estate in California wine country. There’s only one problem: the wedding was originally planned by Babs Norton, the self-proclaimed Queen of Wine Country Weddings, who the father of the bride has fired.

Kelsey decides to clear the air with Babs and make sure there are no hard feelings, but before she can throw herself into executing the perfect wedding, she discovers Babs dead on the floor of his office. David, Babs’ assistant is quick to point the finger very publicly at Kelsey. Even worse, Kelsey learns that with the big day only weeks away, the bitter little man has sabotaged her new clients’ wedding by canceling all the vendor contracts.

With the help of her friend Brody and assistant Laurel, Kelsey must scramble to salvage the wedding while dodging gossipy wedding planners, grumpy winemakers, and a cold-blooded killer in this smart, funny cozy perfect for fans of Carolyn Haines. (Source: Goodreads)



I had a hard time deciding how to score this book. I ended up giving it 4 out of 5 stars because while I had some personal issues with it, it is still a very well-written book and other people may very well enjoy it.  I, unfortunately, didn’t really enjoy it, which I was disappointed with. I wanted to like it. I had enjoyed the first in the series, Terror in Taffeta, a month or so ago.

There were two things about this book that I just really didn’t like.

First of all, while I like Kelsey’s character as a person, she takes WAY too many chances with dangerous situations. Heroines like this are ones that I tend to call “too stupid to live”.  Most cozy mystery heroines take some chances here or there, but Kelsey just doesn’t seem to stop and think about the danger. Even when the danger is pointed out to her, she ignores the warning and goes and does whatever she was thinking of anyway. Not a good way to operate unless you want to end up dead too early in life.

The second reason is that I just found the plot line to be moving along too slowly. I thought the first book also moved along slowly. I was hoping that would change with this second book, but it didn’t. The plot line was interesting, it just moved along too slowly for my taste.

One thing that was an improvement over the first book was that the setting descriptions were better in this book. I was much more able to envision the settings than I was in the first book. That was a wonderful improvement.

It’s a well-written book and if you don’t mind heroines who are always running off into danger with no thoughts of self-preservation, then you might very well enjoy it!

** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions expressed are my own. **

Line of cakes - cakes with blueberries or strawberries, multi-tiered cakes good for weddings, small green cakes with roses, chocolate with vanilla frosting cake with candles
© Graphic Garden

About the Author

Author, Marla Cooper - Middle-aged white woman with reddish brown short hair, oval shaped face, no glasses, wearing a sleeveless navy blouse with white dots

MARLA COOPER is the author of the Kelsey McKenna Destination Wedding Mysteries. As a freelance writer, Marla has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku, and it was while ghostwriting a guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her series. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s