A business magnate calls on wine expert Benjamin Cooker to kickstart his new wine business in Beaujolais, sparking bitter rivalries. Can the Winemaker Detective and his assistant keep calculating real estate agents, taciturn winegrowers, dubious wine merchants and suspicious deaths from delaying delivery of the world-famous Beaujolais Nouveau?
About the Author
Jean-Pierre Alaux is a magazine, radio and TV journalist when he is not writing novels in southwestern France. He is the grandson of a winemaker and exhibits a real passion for wine and winemaking. For him, there is no greater common denominator than wine.
Noël Balen lives in Paris, where he shares his time between writing, making records, and lecturing on music. He plays bass, is a music critic and has authored a number of books about musicians in addition to his novel and short-story writing.
Anne Trager has a passion for crime fiction that equals her love of France. After years working in translation, publishing and communications, she founded Le French Book to bring French mysteries and thrillers to more readers across the English-speaking world.
Read an Excerpt
Backstabbing in Beaujolais
A Winemaker Detective Mystery
By Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen, Anne Trager
Le French BookCopyright © 2005 Librairie Arthème Fayard
All rights reserved.
The guests were mingling on the lawn of the eighteenth-century manor house as the setting sun cloaked the sky in hues of orange and purple. A mild breeze rustled the leaves of the hornbeams lining the driveway.
"We could almost be in Versailles, Virgile," Benjamin Cooker said. "The place is quite splendid, isn't it?" He waved his glass toward the buffet. Covered in fine white linen, the table was topped with silver platters of hors-d'oeuvres: mouthfuls of puff pastry, panna cotta au parmesan, seafood delicacies, and sundry other finger foods. To the right of the platters were fine crystal glasses and a selection of wines.
"I suspect that's where Bérangère Périthiard would rather be, boss, not here in Beaujolais, even if she is enjoying a regional cru." Benjamin, one of France's most notable wine experts, swirled and sipped the cherry-red Régnié and looked out over the lush vine-covered hills.
"You know the Aesop fable about town and country mice: better beans and bacon in peace —"
A piercing scream interrupted him. Everyone stopped talking and looked toward the winery. Benjamin and Virgile set down their glasses and started jogging in that direction, the gravel crunching under their feet.
Entering the half-lit building, they found Annabelle Malisset throwing up near a concrete tank. They rushed to help her, and she pointed to a maceration vat. Benjamin and Virgile climbed up the stainless-steel steps and peered into the open tank.
"There goes that vintage, boss."
"Virgile, I believe we have more important things to worry about right now."
When the rescue squad arrived and pulled out the body, it was bloated like a goatskin of stagnant wine, its limbs a deep purple, and its hair pasted like a viscous mask over a deformed face.CHAPTER 2
Three months earlier
Guillaume Périthiard admired himself in the Venetian mirror. With the satisfied smirk of a silver fox, he smoothed his gray sideburns. He studied the noble-looking wrinkles time had left on his forehead, around his eyes, and at the corners of his mouth — signs of his experience and accomplishments, he liked to think. But narcissistic moments like this were utterly private. He was too cunning to dwell on his looks or gloat about his money in public. He knew how jealous underlings were, how those without his standing harbored bitter feelings, and how the poor bore pathological hatred. He gave these people a ration of understanding smiles and occasional winks of solidarity. And in return, those he dealt with regularly appeared to hold him in esteem.
In fact, more than a year after the much-publicized sale of his empire to a Swedish group, Guillaume Périthiard's former employees were still talking about him. The workers missed his good-natured approach, the managers his high standards, and the secretaries his gentle teasing. He never fooled anyone, but a paternalist taskmaster at the helm was better than a troop of spreadsheet-driven businessmen bent on ramming quarterly objectives down everyone's throat.
Périthiard was patting his belly, which had grown rounder with the passing of each profitable year, when the phone rang, echoing in the living room of his mansion. He tightened the sash of his Daniel Hanson Italian silk dressing gown and hurried down the hallway. He found his cell on the beige leather sofa and picked it up. He recognized the voice at the other end and straightened his shoulders.
"I'll be in your office at two," he said, his voice hoarse and his cheeks flushed.
Périthiard said good-bye and entered a number on his phone. As he waited for a response, he looked out the window and frowned at the sight of his neatly trimmed hedges and the postcard-perfect neighborhood beyond them. When he ended the call, he turned around to find his wife, Bérangère, glaring at him in the doorway.
Benjamin Cooker glanced at the rearview mirror and noted the dark circles under his bloodshot eyes. He'd been sleeping poorly.
"Boss! Watch out!" Virgile shouted.
The convertible swerved, barely avoiding the tanker that had failed to put on its turning signal before changing lanes.
"You can say that again," Benjamin said, tightening his grip on the steering wheel.
"Boss, I think perhaps ... Well ..."
"Spit it out, Virgile."
"You're driving a bit fast, if you ask me."
"I didn't ask you. We have an appointment at two p.m. on the nose. Punctuality is the politeness of kings, Virgile. You know I don't like to be late."
Benjamin's assistant scowled and slid down in his leather seat. "Then you should let me drive, boss."
From the look in her eyes, Guillaume Périthiard knew their second honeymoon was over. After thirty years on the battlefields of business, he had finally won the opportunity to spend more time with Bérangère, thanks to the three-billion-euro sale of his company. In reality, that meant more of her perfectly orchestrated dinners with stiff guests in exchange for satisfactory sex afterward. He had also taken up golf and made several unreasonable purchases of grand cru wines, collectable art, and rare watches, along with a top-of-the-line Italian coupe. He had built himself a new world composed of enjoyment, pleasure seeking, and a weekly meeting with his tax adviser.
He was seeing a bit more of his children, Thomas and Clarisse, enough to note that Bérangère had ensured their first-class education. Life could have been peaceful, harmonious, and enviable in their Versailles home, but after a few months, boredom had set in. Versailles, the wealthy suburb of Paris, had its greenery, fine residences, and famed tourist attractions. In truth, however, he had chosen to live there only because he was building his business. As grand as it was, Versailles didn't satisfy him. In fact, it annoyed him. It was too orderly and conventional.
Périthiard missed the rolling hillsides of his childhood in Beaujolais, where his family had lived in a modest house in the village of Saint Amour Bellevue — a few hours from the city of Lyon. He recalled long winding bike rides, the gentle breeze coming down from the hills, and meandering walks in the vineyards that spread to the horizon. He would zigzag through the look-alike plots that stretched from Charnay to Saint Vérand and from Theizé to Jarnioux. He would hike from Lacenas to Arnas and from Quincié to Romanèche-Thorins and stroll past the gingerbread-hued stone buildings in the Pierres Dorées area — Beaujolais's Tuscany, the land of the golden stones.
He missed the gruff faces of the wine growers, the rosy cheeks of the grape-picking girls, the cool calm of the cellars, the smell of the humus, and the buzzing of bees in the vines.
Feeling too young and rich to retire, Périthiard had ignored the warnings of his bankers and invested in a new venture. He was going to snub his nose at the all-powerful François Dujaray, Beaujolais's top wine merchant, by buying out a competing wine négociant's business. With Maison Coultard, he had no doubt that he would one day reign in the region's wine trade.
Virgile was enjoying himself behind the wheel of his boss's old 280SL, which was tuned like a Swiss watch. After the Montpellier tollbooth, he stopped at a service station to fill up on gas, down some overly sweet coffee from a plastic cup, and stretch his legs. When he returned to the car, Benjamin was waking up. The winemaker yawned and shifted in his seat, still looking fatigued.
"What time is it?" Benjamin asked, scratching his head.
"Don't worry, boss. We've got plenty of time. And, really, the client can wait."
"It's not good policy to arrive on stage after the curtain rises —"
"I know you think he's important, considering the way you cleared your schedule at a moment's notice."
"It's a slow period anyway," Benjamin said. "We don't have much work in the lab, and Alexandrine can handle what little we have. She'll call if she needs us."
"And Jacqueline likes to have the office to herself," Virgile added. "I'm sure Cooker & Co. will be just fine."
"You're right, and it's a good opportunity to get away from Bordeaux."
"Could you be feeling a bit lonely, boss, with Mrs. Cooker visiting Margaux in New York?"
"Is that because you miss your wife or because I mentioned your daughter?" Virgile asked.
Benjamin didn't respond.
Picking up his boss's silent cue, Virgile changed the subject. "What's this Périthiard guy like?" he asked, turning the key to the ignition.
"To be honest, I've never met him. We exchanged a few e-mails, and I spoke to him on the phone this morning, when he asked us to meet with him. Other than that, I only know what I read in the papers."
"He's the one who founded that DIY chain, right?"
"Yes, Guillaume Périthiard is a self-made man. According to his PR people, he came from a modest family in Lyon. He didn't even graduate from high school. He took a job in a tile factory as a teenager and worked his way up to general foreman in just three years. Afterward, he landed the coveted job of inventory manager, then acquisitions, and then sales. When the plant manager had some cash-flow problems and considered closing, Périthiard presented him with a plan to save the company. The bankers liked it. Périthiard took over management of the company and then bought a majority share."
"He must be some kind of business genius."
"That or charming, shrewd, and not much of a stickler for scruples. In any case, he was soon perceived as a visionary and natural leader. Once the business was his, it prospered, and at the age of twenty-five, he sold the tile factory to open a large-scale DIY store outside Villefranche-sur-Saône. From there, he built his own brand."
"Do you think he was the one who came up with that kitsch logo — red letters on the yellow background?"
"Maybe. In any case, you see it all across France. The chain has ninety-three stores, and last year Les Échos named him entrepreneur of the year."
"I will not leave Versailles," Bérangère said in a tone closed to appeal.
Périthiard slipped his phone into the pocket of his dressing gown and gave his wife a cold look. She had shrugged when he bought the Maison Coultard négociant business and even smiled in a pinched-lip upper-class way that said: "A whim, my darling, not unlike the other whims you've entertained since your retirement."
Now she was standing in the doorway, wearing her cream-colored skirt, light blue blouse, double-strand pearl necklace, and no smile.
He knew he should try to appease her. "You liked my cousin Sylvain when we'd go there on holiday, before the kids were born. I was almost jealous of him. Remember how we hiked up Mount Saint Rigaud? The country was so gorgeous, and the view was spectacular. We attended that village dance in Sarmentelles de Beaujeu and ate so much grilled sausage and local cheese on that rustic bread, you complained that you'd gain ten pounds."
She looked away and began to walk slowly across the room. Bérangère was a master of the silent treatment.
"You didn't think I would just play around with the business, did you?" Périthiard said, fully aware that this was going to be a hard sell — if not impossible. "I'd never be happy running it from a distance. And I'm going to be more than a négociant. It's not enough to buy other people's grapes and wine and bottle it for sale, as if it were my own. I'm planning to buy a wine estate in the Côte de Vaux or perhaps Saint Amour. I'll be a real winemaker."
"You know nothing about grape growing."
"I couldn't hammer a nail into a slab of butter, and yet look at the business I built."
"Spare me the lines you used at your annual meetings. Whatever you do, I will never — do you hear me? — never bury myself in some muck-filled outback."
They stared at each other. After a few minutes of this, he turned his back on her and left the room. He intended to quench his new thirst. The Périthiard name had never meant much with those who counted in the Beaujolais region, but it would. He had every intention of returning as the prodigal son and proving himself.
"This is the first time I've visited Beaujolais, boss."
"Is that so? I'm surprised by the gaps in your education, Virgile. In any case, you'll like it, I'm sure."
"I hope so. We didn't cover Beaujolais wines very much in school. They've got that shit-wine reputation."
"Ah yes, the vin de merde scandal. You are surprisingly behind the times, son. The critic who called them that was sued for defamation. Beaujolais is working hard to redefine its identity, and the region produces some interesting wines. They're actually a bit like you."
"What do you mean by that, boss?"
"You assume they'll be rustic, but in reality, they have a certain finesse."
Virgile didn't respond. He slipped into the left lane, accelerated, and passed three cars before gliding back to the right and returning to cruising speed.
"What's this Périthiard after? You still haven't told me what he expects from Cooker & Co."
"For now, he wants an opinion. That's all."
"Considering the bill I intend to send him, he'll get an expert opinion." Benjamin was, after all, France's most reputed winemaking consultant and author of the well-known Cooker Guide.
It took Guillaume Périthiard only a few seconds to choose from the fifty or so suits hanging in a neat row under the recessed lights of his dressing room: a dark blue Kiton cashmere was ideal for the event. He liked the understated refinement of classically tailored suits made from luxurious fabrics. They were meticulous yet comfortable enough to look falsely casual. For him, luxury meant discretion. He then consulted his collection of 468 watches and selected a 1940 Patek. It worked impeccably, but he still made sure its gold and steel-blue hands moved smoothly over the cream-colored dial.
Perfectly attired, he left the mansion and walked over to his 400-horsepower Maserati GranSport. It had a hot temperament and racy lines, yet the overall look was refined. This coupe was sexy and sophisticated, just what he was going for.
It would take him less than two and a half hours to reach Lyon, a drive with no music or news on the radio, just the purr of the engine cradling his plans of conquest.
Benjamin and Virgile scowled as they bit into their sandwiches. They were unappealing — chicken, mayo, and wilted lettuce on a soft baguette — but the winemaker and his assistant were hungry. Benjamin played with the radio until he reached a news channel, but he quickly switched it back to a classical-music station. His stomach couldn't handle both the sandwich and the news: higher prices for public transportation, heating, and electricity; an air-traffic controllers strike in Paris; doping in a major European soccer club; a new record from some anorexic singer from Quebec. He asked Virgile to step on it.
"We just passed Avignon, boss. We'll be there in less than two hours."
"Maybe I should have taken Périthiard up on his offer," Benjamin said, gazing absently at the countryside.
"What offer was that?"
"He wanted to send his private jet for us."
Virgile turned and looked at Benjamin. "And you refused?"
"Eyes on the road, son. I don't like playing to the whims of a rich man. And, as I told you before, this trip will be worth our while."
"You see, boss. No need to freak out. We have five minutes to spare," Virgile said as he turned onto the quays that ran along the Saône River, where the Chavannes Real Estate Agency was located. The firm specialized in high-end properties. Virgile parallel parked behind a Maserati GranSport and in front of two Audis.
"Look at that, boss. His and hers cars."
"Let me guess what you're thinking. The dark gray A3 probably belongs to an older man looking for a balance of comfort and control, and the red A1 must be a woman's — but a woman to watch out for, as that's a grown-up, fun-to-drive car."
The winemaker got out of the Mercedes, put on his Loden, and started heading toward Guillaume Périthiard. The two men were well enough known to recognize each other.
Benjamin shook Périthiard's hand and introduced his assistant. Périthiard then led Benjamin and Virgile into the agency. Eric Chavannes, who looked well beyond forty, approached them with unfeigned cordiality, and soon his wife, Solène, arrived. She was wearing a raw-silk suit with a nipped-in waist.
Excerpted from Backstabbing in Beaujolais by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen, Anne Trager. Copyright © 2005 Librairie Arthème Fayard. Excerpted by permission of Le French Book.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I enjoy this series. This is a quick light mystery. In this one the Winemaker Detective, Benjamin and his assistant are hired by a new owner of a vineyard in Beaujolais to insure that his new business venture will be successful. Other winemakers are not happy to have to have the outsider move in or to have the competition. There is an accidental death, vandalism, and murder. Benjamin along with making sure the wine is good also solves the crimes. The authors include a lot of wine background and do a very good job with French Wine Country Background. The mystery was OK, there are only a few suspects. This series does not have to be read in order. It is a quick enjoyable read.
Title: Backstabbing In Beaujolais - Winemaker Detective Mystery 9 Author: Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noel Balen Translator: Anne Trager Published: 11-19-2015 Publisher: Le French Book Pages: 163 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine ISBN: 9781939474537 ASIN: B016J0NXKI Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley My Rating: 4 1/2 Stars . Traveling to the Beaujolais region to meet with Guillame Perithiard A wealthy business man who has decided he wishes to buy a vineyard in Beaujolais where he grew up. He is pushy and wants to become a premier Vintner immediately without taking time to build the property back up. There is also the pesky saboteur who is trying to get him out before he even opens. Add in a murder or two and you have a cozy mystery to fall into. With so much going on this is a busy Winemaker Detective book. Again Virgile takes center stage with the investigation while Benjamin is away. His character continues to grow. Benjamin is trying to learn patience which he needs when dealing with Perithiard, a car accident and the vandalism. As always the writing of Alaux & Balen leaves you feeling you are able envision the scenic beauty of Beaujolais. So much so that you can almost reach out to sample the sweetness of the grapes. I look forward to reading more in this series and hope that Le French Book has plans to publish the remaining eleven books in the Winemaker Detective series. Beaujolais is the ninth book in the series, but can easily be read as a stand-alone. I can tell you though that these are addictive and you will be looking to read the other books in the series. On the positive side you will get to watch the growth of the characters from one book to the other. My rating is 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
[ I received this book free from the publisher through NetGalley. I thank them for their generousity. In exchange, I was simply asked to write an honest review, and post it. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising] "An ancient Buddhist monk’s quote came to Benjamin. “‘ The human mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions, and evils, is rooted in the three poisons: greed, anger, and delusion.’” Benjamin Cooker and his wife Elizabeth are preparing for a trip to Hungary with their publisher to explore and savor Tokaji wines in their habitat. [We in the west call it Tokay]. However, Claude has brought his latest paramour, a woman of dubious background and a key to this adventure. Meanwhile, Virgile is in charge of the office and Alexandrine, the lab tech has been beaten bloody and in hospital, and being very tight-lipped over the perpetrator. He and a former school acquaintance whom Virgile believes is up to no good are forced to work together as Cooker has hired Dider to help with the office backlog. However, Dider has another agenda. The Hungarian trip has not been as wonderful as they had all felt it would be. The current Syrian immigration situation looms large in the story, and touches all the travelers. Everyone seems relieved at the end of the story, including the reader. I have read a number of this series, and have found the fast paced culinary cozies very entertaining. However, this particular story tries too hard. It also reads very much like a script: choppy and alternating between Virgile and the Cookers with little transition. This is a distraction to a regular reader. The wine region of Hungary has not been written of much in contemporary fiction. I learned a lot about that in here, even with the distractions of the other storylines. However, I give this book 4 stars over my usual 5 for this series.
My day-job includes coverage of current events around the world. I had just finished reading Backstabbing in Beaujolais when I got to watch an in-depth report on the Chinese wine market, the high-end buying frenzy and the corruption crackdown. It was so cool to get a deeper perspective on topics that had just been introduced through the book! A new aspect for the authors this time was to incorporate time-skip and flashbacks, as one often comes across in today’s crime dramas. They started with the murder, and then jumped back in time to all the events leading up to the death. It added a layer of depth to my reading. I felt like I was actually a part of the action, looking at each character through an investigative lens, trying to figure out the answer before the reveal. And in my own personal standard for a great mystery tale, I was completely surprised by the twist! It was NOT the body I was expecting. I get a deep satisfaction out of works that I can’t immediately tell the ending, and this book – indeed, this series – has never let me down. Layers upon layers of intrigue! Murder on top of murder, crimes on top of crimes. I would think I had an idea of what would happen next, only to be upended by great twists. One other detail stood out to me in this work, the authors’ lovely defense of the police force and all they do, through the words of their characters. Even in their criticisms, they were understanding and praised the police for all they do for the communities they live in. This resonated with me deeply, as many of the aforementioned current events I deal with every day have recently been much less kind to the men and women putting themselves on the line for their communities. A great work! Excited for the next! I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley
“Beaujolais is a lighthearted wine that makes people happy.”
We simply cannot ever have too many novels from France here in the U.S. and the publisher Le French Book is trying to bring those novels, translated, to market. Especially popular among the “cozy” mystery set is this series of novels set in the wine regions of France by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen. We learn a great deal about wine production in each one, and the stories revolve around the great passions that wine evokes in producers and buyers…
This episode in the long-running mystery series manages to end before the body count exceeds two, and at the end everyone still alive is moving towards a fulfilling career or marriage. It is meant to be as lighthearted and refreshing as the wine it describes, and, for those with an interest in viticulture, it succeeds admirably.
“…moderate consumption [of red wine]—one glass a day for women and two for men—can be good for the health: reducing your risk of depression as well as your risk of developing colon cancer… Wine has anti-aging properties. While consumption of other alcoholic drinks can increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer, red wine in moderate amounts can actually lower that risk. One study has even found that a chemical found in wine can improve your sensitivity to insulin. That means you’re not as vulnerable to diabetes…”
While I am not convinced by the one study that suggests red wine might make one less vulnerable to diabetes, I believe the other claims have more solid scientific results. But I was surprised, I admit, to learn ”You can drink Beaujolais early on, but the wines frequently open up three to five years after being bottled. They are precocious and aromatic, but round enough to have a lingering taste.
The story had the requisite homegrown local who harbored resentments against everyone, the millionaire businessman who wanted to bottle wine but knew nothing of the process, the gorgeously-dressed, slim, blond marketing wizard…you get the picture. One intriguing character, Benjamin, was a French wine expert who I could have sworn was British.
Beaujolais wines have a unique winemaking process call ‘whole-berry fermentation.’ The technique preserves the fruity quality without extracting tannins from the skins. The vintners in this novel considered “drawing out the vatting time and submerging the cap of grape skins during the maceration to enhance flavor and intensity, thinking it would preserve the fruity aromas and flavors while enhancing color and tannins. Who knows if it would have worked? They never got to try it, sadly.
“From time immemorial, [Beaujolais Nouveau] has been celebrated when it’s young, at the start of fermentation. Centuries ago winemakers traded early in the year, and the yeast would complete its job while the barrels were in transit, moving slowly by carriage or boat along the Saône and Rhône rivers or up the Loire.”Beaujolais Nouveau commonly goes on sale in November and is meant to be enjoyed before May the following year.
Benjamin Cooker and his assistant Virgile are back in another installment of the Winemaker Detective series. They have been commissioned by Guillaume Périthiard to help restore a wine estate in Beaujolais. Mr. Périthiard wants to become a major force in the region where he grew up. But not everyone is happy about his plans. Things take a turn for the worse when one of his new employees dies while out hunting. While overseeing the restoration of the vines and wine making equipment Benjamin and Virgile must find out who is behind the murderous attempts to sabotage Mr. Périthiard's business interests. Once again the authors have written an interesting mystery full of beguiling characters, descriptions of delicious food, wine and scenery from the French countryside. I can't imagine a better way to spend a lazy afternoon, than with Benjamin and Virgile traveling around Beaujolais looking for answers to Mr. Périthiard's problems. All you need to accompany this book is a good glass of wine. Thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Winemaker Detective is truly in his element as he is summoned to assist a querulous rich man in buying a winery and land, and developing a successful new wine. As usual, the reader is treated to lots of good information on the manufacture of fine wine. Sex and violence add intrigue to the plot, and more than one murder occurs along the way. If you've never read any of the books in this series, you will still enjoy this well-told tale. I have read all of the many books in this series, and I am astounded at how fresh the stories are and how the quality never slips.
This is the 4th book I’ve read in this series and I loved it as much as the others. It’s a quick read that transports you to the wine country in France. As usual, the characters are well developed and I thought it had a nice even flow. There are roadblocks in the journey to get the wine business going, some of the townspeople don’t want them to succeed. There is a lot of drama and a murder, and it all makes this book worth the time spent reading it. This is the 9th book in the series but it can be read as a stand alone. If you like books that take place in France, about wine or murder, this is a book for you.
Benjamin Cooker and Virgile Lanssien are called in to help a business magnet to kickstart his new wine business in Beaujolais. But this is easier said than done. And, soon someone is shot to death...is it murder? Seductive women, jealousy, and murder are the ingredients in this book. It starts with a murder and then the book takes us 3 months earlier and we get to know the history behind everyone involved as Benjamin and Virgile work with Guillaume Périthiard to get his winery working. Unfortunately, it seems that not everyone is happy with Périthiard entering the wine business and when he steals an employee from a rival the real trouble begins. I found this book actually to be very much different from the previous books I've read in this series. First it starts with the murder and then it goes back in time and we move to present time to have Benjamin revealing who the murderer is. Usually, there aren't that many suspects to choose from, but this time the book had several personal that could have done it, also the identity of the body is not revealed in the beginning so either one in the book could be it. And, the one that was killed was not the one that I had expected. This is a cozy french mystery book, so it's not much blood and gore. I find these books very nice to read between heavier and darker books. And, it's quite fun to read cozy mystery books set in France instead of England. A change of scenery is never wrong. I received a copy from the publisher and france book tours in return for an honest review!
I am so happy that I got to visit the Winemaker Detective series again. In this book you will not find a lot of bloody graphics but what you will find is great characters, a murder, suspense and a whole list of suspects. You may also learn a little about wine and the area where it comes with, as with each of these books they are titled after a wine. It is nice to enjoy the descriptions these authors use in their story as it really makes the book come alive. I also like that they are shorter and quicker to read. In fact you could read this book in one sitting. This book is a part of a series but you should have no problems reading it as a stand alone. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.
I love more and more this series, the books are short but very funny and interesting with intriguing mysteries to solve, lovable characters, many notions about wines and their production and a wonderful region of France to visit. In this new episode we know another beautiful area, Beaujolais. Benjamin and Virgile leave Bordeaux to help Guillaume Périthiard, a self-made billionaire who has decided to invest his money in the production of wine. He wants to become one of the largest winemaker, although his wife would have preferred him to do a quiet retreat. He has visited a beautiful estate with some hectares of vineyards in Beaujolais and wants the advice of Benjamin to verify if it can be a good deal. This is the ninth book in the series but can also be read as a stand alone. I would love to see even the TV series, I'd love to see those wonderful places that Virgile and Benjamin have visited in the various episodes. It's the ideal reading for a relaxing afternoon, perhaps with a glass of wine.