Treachery in Bordeaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen; translated by Anne Trager—$7.99—published by Le French Book—ISBN: 978-0-9853206-2-1 (Kindle)/ 978-0-9853206-3-8 (epub)—First published in French (Mission à Haut-Brion, Librairie Arthème Fayard, Paris)—Direct-to-digital translation; ebook exclusive; available on all major ebook platforms
Treachery in Bordeaux is the first book in what is, so far, a twenty book mystery series. It is the first to be translated into English. Last year the book series was made into a television series for French TV. The publisher sent me this book for a fair and impartial review which you can find at the bottom of the post.
The authors of Treachery in Bordeaux are Epicures. 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 recently 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. He gets a sparkle in his eye when he talks about the Winemaker Detective series, which he coauthors with Noël Balen. Noël 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.
Barrels at the prestigious grand cru Moniales Haut-Brion wine estate in Bordeaux have been contaminated. Is it negligence or sabotage? Cooker and his assistant Virgile Lanssien search the city and the vineyards for answers, giving readers and inside view of this famous wine region. Treachery in Bordeaux is the first of the 20-book Winemaker Detective series that delves into the underworld of a global luxury industry.
ABOUT THE TV SERIES (Blood Of The Vine)
Treachery in Bordeaux establishes the characters for the series. The protagonist, Benjamin Cooker, is in his fifties, at the top of his career and has a distinguished English gentleman veneer. His sidekick, Virgile, is the young, handsome, sexy one representing the younger generation. Benjamin is the winemaker par excellence, whose vocation is to help wine estates around France and elsewhere to make great wines. On French television, the part is played by French actor Pierre Arditi, who loves adapting this series because the character’s sensibilities, culture and personality help him solve the cases. A winemaker’s analytical ability, based on sensory perception and details, is not so far from that of a police inspector. Cooker is an iconoclast, unforeseeable, stubborn, guided by his instincts, feelings and his memory of aromas and savors.
Enjoy this trailer – even if you don’t speak French:
First let me say, Anne Trager has done a wonderful translation. Having read previous series in the original French (with my limited skills) and in translation, it is easier to read in the original French than a poor translation.
I am not a big fan of wine. I can’t tell the difference between a fine vintage and a cheap box of plonk – to my eternal dismay. But that did not detract from this beautiful book. And it is a beautiful book. Very atmospheric. You will feel Benjamin Cooker’s angst over the book on wine he is writing. You will enjoy watching the growing bond between Cooker and his new assistant, Virgile Lanssien. There are wonderful descriptions of the art, architecture, history and landscape of the Bordeaux region. The mystery in this book is not a murder but the attempted destruction of vintner Denis Massapain and his Monicales Haut-Brion Estate by way of Brettanoymces (a yeast) introduced into his casks. There is secondary mystery about three paintings that will ultimately tie in to the mystery about the wine. There is a marvelous conversation between Cooker and the discredited Ferdinand Ténotier that will lead Cooker and Virgile to the villain they seek. The shoes are John Lobb, the cigars are Cuban, and the wine is ‘classic’. As is this book. ♥♥♥♥♥