The story behind The Tainted Vintage
by Clare Blanchard
As most of my readers already know, I was born in England, but my permanent home is in the wine-growing region of Moravia, in Czechia. Wines from this country are less well-known than wines from other parts of Europe, partly because the Czechs produce less wine per capita than other countries, and they like to drink it themselves! And if you try them yourself, you'll see why!
Czech wines are breaking records at international wine festivals, such as the International Wine and Spirits Competition in San Francisco:
The most famous and most important of the US wine competitions, the traditional San Francisco International Wine and Spirits Competition, last year became the scene of the stunt. Moravian wines from the Czech Republic won in six categories of this competition. The great "taste of Moravia*) in bottles" stunned the US and the six highest awards in the form of large gold medals in almost forty years for one country do not remember here. In addition to the most prestigious titles, winemakers from the Czech Republic can boast another 83 medals (8 Double Gold, 20 gold and 55 silver medals). 157 wines from the Czech Republic took part in the competition, the results of which attracted the deserved attention. The founder, owner and director of the competition Anthony Dias Blue said that nothing like this has been done in 39 years of any participating countries from abroad. At another US competition Texas International Wine Competition 2019, Czech winemakers won an impressive 48 medals, including 6 large gold, 8 gold and 34 silver.
This wine-making industry is the backdrop to my crime fiction novel The Tainted Vintage:
In the small Czech town of Vinice the mayor has been found dead in his wine cellar.
Detectives Jana Dvorska and Ivan Dambersky are called to the scene and soon realise that despite appearances, Mayor Slansky’s death was most definitely not from natural causes.
Almost immediately, the close-knit community closes ranks to try and brush the unexplained death under the carpet with the minimum of fuss.
Dvorska & Dambersky are drawn deeper and deeper into secrets that many hoped would remain buried forever and they’re forced into pursuing an investigation where their own lives are put in danger.
The Tainted Vintage is the first book in a wonderful new series set in and around Czechia, a country rich in history, literature and culture that still remains largely unexplored by contemporary crime fiction fans.
“Readers are going to have to hang on because they are going to be taken on a twisted ride that connects atrocities of history with horrific dealings in the present…”
“Set in the prestigious wine growing district of the Czech Republic, The Tainted Vintage delves into the realms of both the Nazi occupation and the Communist regime, giving the reader a spine chilling insight into best forgotten history…”
“The plot twists were truly surprising, and I can’t say I guessed at all, who did it or why until it was explicitly laid out in the big reveal at the end…”
“A very good crime read, perfect for fans of Forbrydelsen or Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano…”
“Absolutely brilliant. I was hooked from the very beginning. I couldn't put it down…”