Backstabbing in Beaujolais
By Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noel Balen
Winemaker Detective Series, Book 9
Publisher: Le French Book
Release Date: November 19, 2015
Length: 163 Pages
About the book:
Vintage rivalries — 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?
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour from the publisher for a fair and honest review which in no way influenced my opinion of the reading material provided.Just when you thought it was safe to drink the wine.......The ninth entry in the Winemaker Detective series, Backstabbing in Beaujolais, by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen begins at an outdoor reception being hosted by a newly opened vineyard. A reception where the body of a dead woman is found floating in one of the wine vats. Continuing to develop the relationship between their characters, and further establishing their ability to solve crimes, the reader is taken along on their journey as they discover who committed the crime. Fans of this series will find this to be another riveting adventure for Benjamin and Virgile while new readers will no doubt enjoy getting their first taste.Departing from their usual style, the authors begin this adventure with the discovery of the dead woman. A woman both wine expert Benjamin Cooker, and his apprentice Virgile Lanssien, know and have dealt with in the recent past. Using a “flashback” to tell the story, we learn about Benjamin and Virgile’s journey to the Beaujolais region in France to meet with Guillame Perithiard. A wealthy businessman who has decided to return to the area of his birth and start a second career as a wine producer. While Mr. Perithiard is used to getting his way, and is used to having the best that money can buy, he can only get Benjamin to inspect the vines and buildings of the vineyard he plans to purchase. Providing a report on the quality of the soil and plants is as far as Benjamin is willing to involve himself in the man’s newest endeavor.Once again the authors treat the readers to the beauty of France by providing a glimpse into a different region, the wines produced in the area and the local cuisine. All explained in the guise of Benjamin’s lessons to Virgile, who continues to benefit from his teacher’s vast experience. Introducing a handful of new characters, it’s clear that Benjamin is not only an expert in food and wine but also in how to make friends and influence people’s choices. I wish I had the time and money to take a trip to the region where this story takes place just so I could sample the wines and eat all of the same foods myself.The mystery is well developed and takes several twists and turns. While the dead woman is one of the characters we meet early in the story, she’s the real-estate agent who sold the vineyard to Mr. Perithiard, it takes a while to discover why someone would want to kill her and how she ended up in the vat. Especially since she’s quite beautiful and talented with dealing with people too. The story’s pace is good and the author’s writing style is well established and easy to follow.Will Benjamin and Virgile be able to discover the identity of the killer? Will the new vineyard and the wine it produces be ruined as a result of the crime? You’ll have to read Backstabbing at Beaujolais to fine out. I enjoyed it and can’t wait to read about Benjamin and Virgile’s next adventure.
My rating: 4 out of 5 Crowns