Ripe for Murder

Ripe for Murder

by Carlene O'Neil

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From the author of One Foot in the Grape—a new full-bodied Cypress Cove mystery that is certain to delight, even if one wine lover is about to expire…

Penny Lively loves running her family’s winery, but to keep business growing, she needs to find a way to attract more guests. When she’s approached to invest in a new train line through wine country, Penny and her intoxicating winery manager, Connor, hightail it to a lavish resort to hear the details. Unfortunately, her neighbor’s daughter, Chantal, is also there, swirling up trouble by flirting with the married investors—and with Connor too.   

When one of the investors’ wives is murdered, Chantal, who was seen fighting with the woman, is the prime suspect. Chantal may be a sour grape, but she’s no killer. So Penny, who’s become a sleuthing connoisseur, starts sniffing out the real suspect—and discovers that her fellow potential investors have been savoring more than their share of deadly secrets...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698154346
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/01/2016
Series: A Cypress Cove Mystery , #2
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 244,946
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Carlene O’Neil is the national bestselling author of the Cypress Cove Mysteries, including Ripe for Murder and One Foot in the Grape. A former television writer, she is currently a commercial real estate broker in the Los Angeles market. She grew up in the heart of wine country in northern California, and is accredited by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Currently she lives in Valencia, California. The Cypress Cove Mysteries are set along the central California coast, and the similarities between the fictional town of Cypress Cove and the stunning town of Carmel are no accident.

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Ripe for Murder 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It slowly draws you in
nhr3bookcrazyNR More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this story, and will definitely go read the first in the series, and keep an eye out for future books. I thought it dragged a little in the middle, and I sure kept wishing "something" would happen between Penny and Connor. But I did like the true sense of affection between Penny and her aunt, as well as the honest relationship between Penny and her cousin, Chantal. Lots of good things to be said about this cozy mystery.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Dollycas’s Thoughts The author takes a new approach for this second book in the series following One Foot in the Grape. She gives us a version of a locked room mystery, on a moving train. Penny Lively and her neighbor and fellow winery owner, Antonia Martinelli have been asked to invest some land into a project that would have a train traveling through wine country and right pass their vineyards. They along with Chantal, Antonia’s daughter, and Connor, Penny’s winery manager, travel to Monterey County to meet with other investors and get more details about the plan. Penny cringes at the idea of Chantal accompanying them on the trip. It’s not enough that she blatantly flirts with Connor, but she will probably flirt with any man she meets. The pairs decide to travel separately but when they arrive they are forced to spend time together and just as expected Chantal causes trouble almost immediately – A Knock Down Fight – with an investor’s wife. O.K. maybe it was totally her fault but not long after the train leaves the station, it comes to a screeching halt and that investor’s wife is found dead. You guessed it, Chantal, is suspect numero uno. While Penny may not like Chantal she knows Chantal didn’t kill this woman. With Antonia’s gentle shove Penny starts her own little investigation. Someone on that train is a murderer and she needs to figure out who before her caboose it cooked. This mystery was ripe for the picking and a pure pleasure to read. We leave Cypress Cove behind and arrive at the spectacular Silverado Mission Inn and Spa where we meet the other investors. They are quite a bunch. Bill, the chief engineer for the line, a car dealer and his wife, Big Dave and Tara, from Tennessee, and Jim and Kim from Chicago, in California for the first time. Later we meet Vance Dupont, Big Dave son, Olympio Berninni, owner of one of the local vineyards and a friend of Antonia, and Barb and Seth, who work for both the train line and Berninni. A wonderful mix of personalities and all but Olympio were on the train at the time of the murder along with our group from Cypress Cove. My favorite character this time was Antonia. I liked the way her relationship with Penny has grown, but Penny still has the secret from the first story. I wonder if she will ever be able to tell Antonia what she knows. This story moves along at a nice pace as the characters travel the area on train and on foot. In addition to the spa we visit the Berninni Winery. It is much bigger than Antonia’s or Penny’s winery and built in an extraordinary way. Every chance Penny gets she is asking questions and trying to put the clues together. The story was perfectly plotted because I didn’t have a clue whodunit until the final reveal. The twists and turns along the way were so good. I loved the risk Penny took to bring the case to a conclusion. After reading this I wish I could really visit the places in this book. I would check in to the Silverado Mission Inn and Spa and probably never leave, I would have to be rich of course, :) and be friends with all the vineyard owners. Pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy your trip to the California wine country.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Ripe for Murder by Carlene O’Neil is the second book in A Cypress Cover Mystery series. Penelope “Penny” Lively owns Joyeaux Winery in Cypress Cove, California which she inherited from her aunt. Penny and her neighbor (and friend), Antonia Martinelli have been invited to St. Katrina Silverado Mission Inn and Spa by a train line company. The company wants to set up a rail line through the area and it will stop at the local wineries (which will mean more visitors and sales for the wineries). Penny and Antonia will be contributing land instead of money (for the rail line). Connor Lavigne, Penny’s manager, will be attending with Penny. Penny is attracted to Connor but has yet to act on it. Maybe they will have a chance to get closer on this trip. Unfortunately, Chantal Martinelli is attending with her mother. Chantal and Penny do not get along. Chantal is a big flirt as well as annoying. One of the potential investors is Dave Dupont of Dupont Automotive who has brought his new wife, Tara (she is a piece of work). The group then boards a train to experience the companies train tours. They are at the Berninni Winery when Chantal and Tara have a fight (cat fight). Penny actually comes to Chantal’s defense (shocking). The group departs back to the train. Soon the train comes to a sudden halt. Someone pulled the emergency brake cord. Tara Dupont is dead on the tracks and Chantal is the main suspect (found unconscious in the last car). Penny might not be fond of Chantal, but she does like her mother (who wants her daughter cleared). So Penny starts sleuthing to find Tara’s real killer. Ripe for Murder was too much like a romance novel. I read mystery novels for the mystery (shocking I know). There was too much fixation on Connor by Penny (feeling that Chantal was paying him too much attention, Connor spending time with Chantal, admiring his physique, etc.). Penny and Connor are not even dating. I hate to see what Penny would be like if these two were a couple. One thing that did not make sense was Penny’s blood phobia. She faints at the sight of blood (happened more than once). Not a good trait for a sleuth. I think it is supposed to be a quirky trait, but it came across as ridiculous (I think it was just an excuse for her to be caught and carried by Connor). The author did provide good clues and does a credible attempt at misdirection. I did find that the killer was obvious, and I knew who had done the deed as soon as the murder scene was described. Ripe for Murder is the second book in the series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone book (information from the first book is included). I give Ripe for Murder 3 out of 5 stars. I will read the next book in the series to give it another chance (to see if the writer has improved). I received a complimentary copy of Ripe for Murder from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.
MasonCanyon More than 1 year ago
What starts out as an exploratory train tour through wine country ends in murder in Carlene O’Neil’s RIPE FOR MURDER. Looking to draw in more guests to her family’s winery, Penny Lively joins a group of vineyard owners and investors on a proposed train tour. Also along on the trip is her neighbor, Antonia, and her daughter, Chantal. It doesn’t take Chantal long to stir up trouble between her flirting and speaking her mind. When one of the investors’ wives is discovered murdered, everyone remembers her and Chantal having a fight earlier. Penny knows Chantal may be many things, but she’s not a killer. While the police focus on Chantal, Penny searches to find the real killer. There’s a lot of secrets to uncork before Penny comes face to face with the killer. With lush descriptions and vivid details, the author creates an inviting setting for readers to get lost in. As readers become a part of the wine country experience, the author blends in mystery, suspense and intrigue. The characters are well-developed with a good mix of quirky and sensible. Penny is a strong protagonist with weaknesses that makes her likable and laughable at times. The story flows steady and some twists will keep you guessing. The action will hold your attention. RIPE FOR MURDER is the second installment in O’Neil’s Cypress Cove Mystery series, but can be read on its own. This tantalizing tale will have you smiling at times as you try to solve the case before Penny. An entertaining story set against a charming backdrop with a cast of interesting characters you’ll enjoy. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
ReadYourWrites More than 1 year ago
Penny Lively, the winery owner sleuth is back in Ripe for Murder. The second book in Carlene O’Neil’s Cypress Cove Mystery series is a standalone read. Prepare yourself to set back and discover the ins and outs of wine tasting and solve a murder or two. Joyeux Winery (Penny and her Winery Manager Connor) and Martinelli Vineyards (owner Antonia and her daughter Chantal) have been invited to head to Napa and meet with representatives of a train tour company to invest in the line running through Monterey County and their properties. While the other potential investors prove to be real characters, things seem to be going smoothly. In classic Chantal form, she starts to flirt with anyone who has an XY chromosome. Of course, her activities make Penny see redder than the Pinot noir she produces. Chantal’s actions ultimately lead to an altercation with the wife of one of the investors. When Penny discovers the body of the wife, it’s a slam dunk case for the police who are making Chantal their prime suspect. While Penny has never been a friend or fan of Chantal, she can’t let her go down for a murder she knows she didn’t commit. So with the help of Antonia, the two team up to catch a killer. I have to admit that I can't imagine risking my life to prove someone I didn't like and who didn't like me didn't commit murder. Especially, when they seemed to not be concerned with being accused and doesn’t change anything they do or even try to clear their own name. Ripe for Murder is the tale of what happens when money, greed, jealousy, and opportunity converge. While the story was enjoyable and the mystery kept me guessing, I’m disappointed the romance I’ve been waiting for hasn't come to fruition. Penny is a strong-willed, hard-headed woman. She really likes Connor but something is holding her back. It doesn’t seem to be a secret to anyone else how Connor feels about Penny, yet she seems to be blind to his actions. I think Connor is just waiting for Penny to acknowledge how she feels about him. The waiting for this romance is killing me!! Here’s to finding out what other adventures Penny finds herself in, and that she and Connor finally discover how sweet it is to share a bottle of wine together. **Received a copy from Penguin Berkley Prime Crime for an honest and unbiased opinion.**
DaniMaroon14 More than 1 year ago
I was chosen to review Ripe for Murder by Carlene O'Neil. This is the first book in the series that I have read but I still really enjoyed reading the book. It kept me sitting on the edge of my seat until the end of the book. I love Penny’s knack for helping solve the investigation. I am not a big wine drinker and do not know hardly anything about wines. I like how Carlene talks about the wine as id the reader will have the basic knowledge of wine and did not leave me feeling confused. This book is a great cozy mystery that I enjoyed cuddling up on the couch with. I can't wait to read more books by Carlene.
weluvdopey More than 1 year ago
Great Book! This is a great book; this is the second book in the Cypress Cove Mystery series by Carlene O’Neil. Penny Lively loves running her family’s winery, but is always looking for ways to keep the business growing. When she is approached to invest in a new train line through wine country, her and her intoxicating winery manager Conner, can’t wait to hear the details. When her neighbor’s daughter, Chantal comes to the meeting she starts trouble by flirting with the investors. When one of the investors’ wives is murdered, Chantal becomes a prime suspect. Penny puts her sleuthing skills to the test to find out what really happened. If you are looking for a great mystery that will keep you guessing until the end then you need to read this book. I can’t wait until the next book in this series comes out.
vt_loki More than 1 year ago
*I received an ARC through a Facebook giveaway in exchange for a fair and honest review.* Ripe for Murder, the 2nd book in Carlene O'Neil's Cypress Cove Mystery series, finds our leading lady Penny Lively on a "road' trip, exploring a wine country train line with winery manager Connor, neighboring vineyard owner Antonia, and Antonia's daughter, the flirtatious Chantal. Other investors are considering putting money forward to expand the line, and when one of the investor's wives ends up dead, the expedition turns sour. Who is the killer--Chantal, who fought with the victim? Vance, the play-boy stepson with a grudge? Seth, the angry bartender? Penny soon finds herself asking questions in an effort to clear Chantal and unmask the truth. Overall, this is a standard cozy with a curious, truth-seeking protagonist who may like her romantic counterpart but constantly mixes signals. There is minimal location development--we as readers are constantly told how beautiful everything is as Penny takes photographs, but there's not a real full sense of description. The action is lively in places (especially the fight between Chantal and Tara, the victim); the final reveal, however, falls a bit flat. The series does have promise, if the author would flesh out the characters a bit more, give the audience a fuller sense of setting, and not attempt to circumvent expectations with a non-murder.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
Completely Delightful Sequel While I don’t drink, I grew up in the heart of California’s wine country, so the idea of a mystery set at a winery has appealed to me. I’ve found a great winery series with the Cyprus Cove mysteries. While I enjoyed the first one, I found Ripe for Murder, the second in the series, to be even stronger. This book finds winery owner Penny Lively traveling from her central coast town of Cyprus Cove up to Napa County. No, she’s not going to check out the competition. She and Antonia, the owner of the neighboring winery, have been approached about contributing part of their land for a wine train and they are heading to the town of St. Katrina to study how the similar one there runs and what it has done for the local wineries. Penny is thrilled that her winery manager, Connor, is coming along, but she’s significantly less thrilled that Antonia’s daughter and winery manager, Chantal, is also coming along because of their long and rocky past. The group quickly settles into their hotel and gets to know the others who are there to check out the wine train. Most of the others are potential cash investors from all over the country, and they seem like a nice bunch. The exception is Tara, a trophy wife who is spoiled and mean, but especially mean when she is drunk. The weekend takes a deadly turn when Tara is murdered, and Chantal is the only logical suspect. While Penny may not like Chantal, she knows that Chantal is not a killer despite what the police think. Can Penny find the real killer? I was a bit surprised when I figured out that we were leaving behind Cyprus Cove for the second book in the series, but I quickly got over that. It means that a couple of the characters we met in the first book were only mentioned it passing. The four returning characters are absolutely wonderful, and I enjoyed the character growth we got to see in them. I’ve got to say, I especially enjoy Antonia. She is a great sidekick and such a fun character overall. I was a bit worried when we were introduced to the majority of the new characters in just a couple of scenes, but I actually never had a hard time keeping them straight. Their personalities and relationships are strong enough that they make a wonderful cast of suspects. Characters and motives are set up very well without the pace at the beginning lagging, and when the murder takes place, we are off and running. The mystery contains a bit of a locked room element with a twist, and I really enjoyed seeing how that would play out. There is always something happening to advance the story, and I was happily turning pages until the end. That ending is perfectly logical, but I must confess I missed the clues. This is one of the best plots I’ve read in a while. Obviously, any setting can be great with the right author spinning the tales, and that’s what we have with Ripe for Murder. Pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine, sit back, and enjoy this wonderful book. NOTE: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
jlschutts More than 1 year ago
Ripe for Murder is the 2nd book in A Cypress Cove Mystery Series by Carlene O'Neil. Most of this book takes place in a different location than the first book, so it would be easy to read this without having read the first book. The characters on the train were very colorful and made it a fun trip for the reader. Some of the characters seemed a little over the top, but I have run into people like that, so it wasn’t so hard to believe. I’ve been to that area of wine country and Carlene O’Neil did a great job of describing it. I’m ready to go back. I highly recommend this book and I’m looking forward to the next installment. I received this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Abby-F More than 1 year ago
This was the second book in the series, but the first one in the sereis that I have read. The characters all had distinct personalities, but most were likable. Chantal, for example, was the kind of character that you love to hate. While Penny, the main character, was very likable. Before she took over the winery she was a photo jounalist. I liked how that was still a part of her characters life. From the beginning of the book you could tell who was going to be killed. The mystery was very well done, but I wish there had been a few more clues or red herrings. Over all a very good read. I am looking foward to reading future books in this series. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. The opinions in this review are entirely my own.
StephJones More than 1 year ago
Carlene O’Neil presents the second in her Cypress Cove Mystery series, and it does not disappoint. There is a wonderful synopsis of this story presented above, so I won’t spend a lot of time rehashing the storyline here. The railroad trip through northern California wine country, the old world charm of the resort, and the remarkable world of wineries, all combine to create a wonderful setting for the story. And, Carlene O’Neil’s descriptive writing brings it all into focus for the reader. The characters that the reader met in the first book, On Foot in the Grove, are back. Penny Lively, who runs the family’s Joyeux Winery, and her winery manager, Connor Lavigne, the imperious Antonia Martinelli and her irritating daughter Chantal, are further developed throughout the tale. Each is an intriguing character, but they form a unique ensemble that you as a reader really enjoy. Rail employees Seth and Barb bring their spice to the mix. Add in the other potential investors in the railroad line: the very likeable used car salesman, Big Dave, and his obnoxious wife, Tara, railroad lover from Chicago, Jim, and his wife, Kim, and others, and you have the nucleus of a good murder cast. The mystery is very well developed. There are numerous red herrings, and the resolution of the “who done it” is surprising. I read the first book in the series, but it would not be required for full enjoyment of this installment in the series. This book can stand alone quite well. I read this during a Midwestern winter, and it was a wonderful escape to the California coast. I believe that wine lovers, and cozy mystery lovers will also find this to be an entertaining read. In all transparency, I won the opportunity to receive a copy of the book for review from a Facebook group for culinary cozy mystery fans. This did not influence my opinion, and I believe I have provided a fair and honest review.
C_Fowler More than 1 year ago
Ripe for Murder is a wonderful story. It is the second book in the Cypress Cove Mysteries, but can easily stand alone (the first book is One Foot in the Grape). The characters are well-developed, from a determined Penny, to the handsome Connor and the sultry Chantal. I especially enjoyed the growing relationship between Penny and her distant relative, octogenarian Antonia Martinelli, as well as the information on California wine country and its vineyards and wine tastings. The story had me guessing until the very end, and I highly recommend this book, which like some wines, ends with a wonderful strong note. I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for a fair and truthful review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received this book from the author in exchange for a honest review. This book was a glorious mixture of wine valleys, a train, and a hotel. I had so much fun picturing the scenery and locations the author was describing. It was enjoyable to learn about wine and the wine industry. The characters are human, with flaws. The dynamics in some of the relationships between the characters is quite entertaining. This author has a vintage 'who done it' style. I didn't guess who did do it until the end. I highly recommend this book. It is the 2nd book in a series, and, while I now want to get the 1st one, I didn't feel like I needed to read them in order.
ValerieL More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. I found the characters realistic and likable, though a few seemed a bit over the top as far as the exaggeration of their personalities. The plot was well done and the level of suspense was just right. I had no idea who was responsible for the murders until it was revealed in the end. While many of the characters were realistic, Tara and Chantal are a little too over the top for me. I know that they were supposed to be in order for the reader to really not like them, but the exaggerations in their characters seemed a little too much for my taste. It balanced out since the other characters were so realistic and believable. Connor and Penny definitely have some chemistry between them and I'm looking forward to reading more in the series to see if either of them act on it. The descriptions of the settings were adequate; not overly detailed but described enough so that you'd have some idea in your head of what it would look like and where they were. A tad more detail wouldn't have hurt, but the lack thereof didn't detract from the story line. All in all it was definitely an enjoyable book and not only do I look forward to more books in the series, I'd also gladly recommend this book to anyone enjoying cozy mysteries set with food/drink and/or vineyards. *** I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. My review was not in anyway influenced by this. All of my conclusions and opinions are my own. ***
csrsvivr More than 1 year ago
This is the second in the series, “A Cypress Cove Mystery”. This was the first of this series that I have read. I found this book to be very intriguing, easy to read and fast paced. The characters were well defined and the build-up to the ending was great. What to do with land not being used by grapes for wine? You and your neighbor; who happens to be family, are given an opportunity to add a twist to your wineries. Penelope Lively owns Joyeux Winery in Cypress Cove, which is on the central California coast, and Antonia Martinelli of the Martinelli Winery owns the neighboring winery. They agree to meet at a resort for the weekend to discuss a possible venture. The idea of a train running by their wineries and dropping off tourists has so many possibilities. While taking a train ride with some other possible investors, a murder occurs and Antonia’s daughter is speculated to be the murderer. Penelope and Antonia become involved to assist local police; although the police don’t want their help. Who, What, Where and How will this adventure turn out? An awesome read!!!!
momelaine More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. It is the second in the series but one doesn't need to read the first in the series to understand who is who and what the relationships are. Penny definitely has a mind of her own. I like that. Connor is trying to keep her safe but she works hard to get the police chief to look at someone else for the murder, rather than her friend Antonia's daughter. Something suspicious happened early on that made me look at one person for the murder but I couldn't quite connect all the dots. Good job on keeping it mysterious! I received an ARC for free for my honest opinion.
chefdt More than 1 year ago
Ripe for Murder is the second book in the A Cypress Cove Mystery series. A great follow-up to One Foot In The Grape. Penny, Connor, her winery manager, her neighbor Antonia and Chantal her daughter are off to Napa Valley to look into possibly investing in railroad that will bring wine country tourist to their wineries. At the first winery they stop at, Chantal gets into a heated argument with another possible investor, Tara. Shortly after taking off for the next winery on the tour, someone pulls the emergency cord and Penny and Connor go to try and learn what happened, when they realize that Chantal is missing. As they try to enter the caboose, they find the entrance blocked. When they do get in they find Chantal unconscious on the floor, with a cut to the head. When Penny looks down the track, she can see what appears to be Tara's lifeless body. Based on the fight they had earlier, Chantal becomes the prime suspect. Penny knows that Chantal has been a thorn in her side, but doesn't feel that she is a murderer and proceeds to look to see who might have wanted Tara to go to the great winery in the sky. Another wonderful visit with Penny, Connor and Chantal and the beautiful wine country of California. Looking forward to the next visit with Penny and Connor at the Joyeux Winery.
RobynKFLNJ More than 1 year ago
Penny Lively runs Joyeux Winery that she inherited from her aunt. Connor used to run the winery with Penny's aunt and now he runs it with Penny. Penny is asked to look into investing in a train line that runs through wine country hoping to bring more business to her winery. Penny and Connor, along with her neighbor Antonia who has a very large and successful winery and her daughter Chantal, take a trip to listen to what the train line has to offer. Penny and Chantal have had some problems with each other in the past, but her presence won't deter Penny from enjoying her trip. Several other potential investors are invited as well, and they all meet, spend time on the train, and stay at the local hotel. When one of the potential investor's wives meets her untimely death, Chantal is accused of being the murderer. Even though they have a rocky relationship, Penny knows deep down Chantal did not commit the murder. With the help of Connor and Antonia, who wants her daughter's name cleared, Penny seeks to find the real culprit. This is a wonderful book that kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend this series. I received an ARC of this book in exchange of a fair and honest review.