In modern-day Bordeaux, there are few wine estates still within the city limits. The prestigious grand cru Moniales Haut-Brion is one of them. When some barrels turn, world-renowned winemaker turned gentleman detective Benjamin Cooker starts asking questions. Is it negligence or sabotage? Who would want to target this esteemed vintner? Cooker and his assistant Virgile Lanssien search the city and the vineyards for answers, giving readers and inside view of this famous wine region. The start of a 22-book wine-plus-crime mystery series that delves into the underworld of a global luxury industry. The world of wine is no more respectable than the world of finance. There’s money, deceit, death, crime, inheritance, jealousyall the ingredients needed to distill a fine detective series. The series is a hit on TV in France.
About the Author
Jean-Pierre Alaux is a magazine, radio and television journalist when he is not writing novels in southwestern France. He is a genuine wine and food lover, and won the Antonin Carême prize for his cookbook La Truffe sur le Soufflé, which he wrote with the chef Alexis Pélissou. 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.
Coauthor of the Winemaker Detective series, 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 lived in France for over a quarter of a century, working in translation, publishing and communications. In 2011, she woke up one morning and said, “I just can’t stand it anymore. There are way too many good books being written in France not reaching a broader audience.” That’s when she founded Le French Book to translate some of those books into English. The company’s motto is “If we love it, we translate it,” and Anne loves crime fiction, mysteries and detective novels--and wine.
Read an Excerpt
Treachery in Bordeaux
By Jean-Pierre Alaux
Ingram Publisher ServicesCopyright © 2014 Jean-Pierre Alaux
All rights reserved.
The morning was cool and radiant. A west wind had swept the clouds far inland to the gentle hills beyond the city of Bordeaux. Benjamin Cooker gave two whistles, one short, the other drawn out, and Bacchus appeared from the high grass on the riverbank. He had that impertinent look that Irish setters get when you remind them that they are dogs. Cooker liked this clever and deceptively disciplined attitude. He would never roam his childhood landscapes with an animal that was too docile. The Médoc was still wild, despite its well-ordered garden veneer, and it would always be that way. In the distance, a few low wisps of fog were finishing their lazy dance along the Gironde Estuary. It was nearly 11 a.m. and time to go home.
The Grangebelle’s graceful shape rose among the poplar trees. The building would have seemed bulky, were it not for the elegant roof, the lightly draped pergola, the delicate sparkling of the greenhouse and the old varnished vases set out in the vegetation with studied negligence. Elisabeth moved silently among the copper pots in the kitchen. She shivered slightly when her husband kissed her at the base of her neck. He poured himself a cup of Grand Yunnan tea with slow and precise movements. She knew he was tired. She was perfectly aware of his nights of poor sleep, the deleted pages, the files he relentlessly ordered and reordered, the doubts he had when he completed a tasting note, his concern for the smallest detail and the chronic worry that he would deliver his manuscript late and disappoint his publisher. Benjamin had worked in his office until 5 a.m., taking refuge in the green opaline halo of his old Empire-style lamp. Then he had slipped under the covers to join her, his body ice-cold and his breathing short.
Who could have imagined that France’s most famous winemaker, the established authority who caused both grand cru estate owners and unknown young vintners to tremble was, in fact, a man tormented by the meaning of his words, the accuracy of his judgments and an impartiality that he brandished like a religious credo? When it came time to hand over a manuscript, his self-doubts assailed him—the man whom the entire profession thought of as entrenched in certainty and science, which was also a fine art. Benjamin Cooker knew that everyone, without exception, would be waiting for his book to arrive in the stores. They would be weighing his qualifiers and judging his worst and best choices. It was essential that the publication of his guide never blemish his reputation as a winemaker and very sought-after, even secret, advisor in the art of elaborating wines. He made it a point of honor, which he proved with his sometimes scathing criticism of wines he himself had crafted. To him, moral integrity stemmed more often than not from this astonishing faculty of uncompromising self-judgment, even when it was forced and terribly unfair. He sometimes thought it belonged to another century, a faraway time, when self-esteem and a certain sense of honor prevailed over the desire for recognition.
Excerpted from Treachery in Bordeaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux. Copyright © 2014 Jean-Pierre Alaux. Excerpted by permission of Ingram Publisher Services.
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.
"Exploring the universe of wine is a little like taking a long journey. The more you taste, the more you go out and discover wine regions, the more there is to marvel at. We draw our inspiration from immersing ourselves in this world. With each novel, we visit a climate, a type of winemaker, and new natural environment. It’s an adventure, and we discovered that the world of wine has ways of doing things that are not always very orthodoxperfect for a mystery series."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Imagine a French Robert Parker turned into a detective and being sucked into a mystery involving famous great wines in the Bordeaux region in France. I love this very curious, meaning nosy here ;-), character who can't help himself from trying to solve a mystery. All while testing wines for his world famous guide and enjoying life in a very epicurean way. Reading about this book, it seems that more than 20 books were published in France in the same series. And more English translations are coming. Can't wait!
Pretty pedantic.....not even worth the minor attempts at character development. Not worth the space on your library shelf. Glad it was cheap
Part one of a series about detective work in the French wine industry. As a starter it was short and had a very simple plot however this did not spoil my enjoyment of the book and was obviously laying down the groundwork for other more in depth stories to follow. Benjamin Cooper and his sidekick Virgile are well introduced and although new colleagues have struck a mutual respect relationship. An impressive first story and impressive translation from French. Recommend you try it.
Benjamin Cooker is one of France's most famous winemaker, he also has doubts about his notes as he writes them about his wine in the Medoc region.He also interviews and hires an assistant Virgile. His friend and neighbor calls for his help when it is discovered his wine casks have been contaminated. Benjamin has his assistant Virgile take samples to his lab. As the story progresses Benjamin looks for and finds old items connected to wines and purchases them. He also speaks to a medieval professor and learns some helpful things. Anyone who enjoys wine and mystery I would recommend this book to and anyone who wants a short enjoyable book this would be the one. Thanks Net Galley and Le French books