Title: Treachery in Bordeaux
Author: Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen.
Translater:: Anne Trager
Series: Winemaker Detective Mysteries #1
Release Date: Aug 6, 2012
Publisher: Le French Books
Disclaimer: ARC courtesy of Le French and Netgalley.
First, I have to say that I am so p’oed over the fact that MHZ is not, NOT, in my area anymore because apparently the French television version of this series is shown on that channel in the US.
Second, this is not something I would normally pick up, but the first book I read by this publishing house I gave one star to, and they still auto approved me, so I felt I should try something else.
Treachery in Bordeaux is a French cozy mystery; there really is no other way to describe it. Benjamin Cooker is a wine expert. He has a murder on his hands, but more importantly, he has some ruined wine. Sabotage! Mon Dieu!
I don’t mean to sound snarky because it was rather entertaining and a quick read. In short, it was fun.
Benjamin, who I don’t think will ever be called Ben, is actually a fascinating character. He is more than a French version of Jessica Fletcher, which was who I first pegged him as. He is more complex and actually has relationships and interest outside of wine. He is the love child of Wallander (depressive), Fletcher (quirks and cozy), Lovejoy (antiques), and Dagliesh (poetry).
And he has a dog. An Irish Setter.
The drawback to the series is that if you don’t have easily access to the series you will be gashing your teeth. (And no, watching online is not the same. I’m sorry). It has wonderful descriptions of Bordeaux and of wine making. It won’t necessary be to everyone’s taste because it does seem to get technical during wine discussions). This is because Cooker also works as a consultation- he has a lab run by a very intelligent woman. If you are worried about the use of romance, there isn’t any. Cooker is married, happily, and while his wife is more developed than some spouses in other series, the relationship is shown to be solid. Some cozy mysteries the romance idea bugs me, and it was nice to read one where the focus was on the mystery as opposed to whomever’s package.
The book is a short read; it’s only 144 pages, so most readers will be able to polish it off in a day, if not a sitting.
A quick note about translation – I haven’t read the French originals so I can’t speak to the accuracy of translation, however; when reading a book in translation, it can be hard to judge when disliking a book whether that is due to the actual writing or the translation. The translation here is smooth. (If you have read any Nordic writing, you’ve probably heard of Tianna Nunnelly. It’s that type of translation).