“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 The Czech Republic, an area rich in history, literature and culture that still remains largely unexplored by contemporary crime fiction fans.”
Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for The Tainted Vintage by Clare Blanchard. My thanks to Emma Welton at damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me on to the tour and to the author for allowing me to reproduce the extract from the book for you below.
On an instinctive whim, Dvorska went into silent mode to see what effect it would have on Mrs. Slanska, who she could see from these first few minutes was used to having the upper hand in most conversations. Under certain conditions, silence – especially when unexpected – could be one of the most powerful weapons in the interrogation repertoire. So, she flicked her inner mental switch into freewheel, focused softly on her breathing, in and out, in and out, and waited…
It couldn’t have been more than twenty seconds before she noticed the sharp blue eyes of Magda Slanska darting across at her over the immaculately ironed tablecloth, attempting to gauge her intentions. But Dvorska had arranged her features into a veil of blandness. Quietly, deliberately not meeting Mrs. Slanska’s gaze, she took another sip of her coffee, and waited a little longer. Her silence was starting to make Mrs. Slanska feel uncomfortable, as if she were being wordlessly probed. It was Dvorska’s hope that when the silence became too much for Mrs. Slanska, it would break at the point of greatest weakness in the family façade. So Dvorska waited a little longer.
“Of course Daniel was such a wonderful husband and father,” Slanska eventually blurted out with a proud flourish.
“Bingo!” thought Magda to herself, trying hard not to show her reactions. Mrs. Slanska’s last statement almost certainly meant that Daniel Slansky had been anything but a wonderful husband and father, just as she had suspected. Why else, she had been asking herself for the last twenty-four hours, would the Slansky children have been dispatched to their other grandmother in Brno at the very time when you would most expect a family to want to be together?
“I’m sure he was,” Dvorska answered, putting down her coffee cup and lying through her teeth. She went on, carefully maintaining her blandness: “This must be a terrible time for the children. You must be so worried about them.” Magda Slanska now clutched for all she was worth at the straw she had been offered. “Oh yes! – they’re absolutely devastated! They adored their father!” she effused in relief at restoring the conversation to the track from which she feared it had been derailed. But Dvorska now seriously doubted that the Slansky children had adored their father.
“So Petr and Jirina are staying with their other grandmother in Brno?” she asked cheerfully, putting down her cup and standing up to leave.
“Oh, oh yes. They were so upset!” answered Mrs. Slanska, evidently a little surprised that Dvorska already knew the answer to the question she was asking.
“I can imagine,” said Dvorska. “Well, thank you so much for the delicious coffee. Don’t worry, I can see myself out!” And she was gone before Mrs. Slanska could think of anything more to say.
If this extract has whetted your appetite for the book, you will be pleased to know that The Tainted Vintage is out now and you can buy a copy here.
If you would like to read some reviews of the book, you can follow the blog tour below:
About the Author
Originally from the North Yorkshire coast in England, Clare Blanchard spent half her lifetime in the Czech Republic, where her books are mainly set. Inspired by Nordic noir, where the settings are often like another character in the plot, she writes crime mysteries and other fiction, usually with a historical twist. She loves beautiful landscapes and architecture, cross-country skiing, the wine of South Moravia, and of course Czech beer. When she’s not being literary she knits funky socks.
Connect with Clare:
Facebook: Clare Blanchard Books