Mayhem in Margaux, by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, is another great episode from the television series airing in France, and in the line of novels based on the shows, featuring the winemaker detective Ben Cooker, his sidekick Virgile, and other members of his friends and family. I’ve not seen the episode of course, but I just read the book.
In this novel, which is number six, it’s even more personal for Ben. The book takes right off with the mystery without much delay other than for setting the scene. As always, it’s a cozy mystery full of beautiful scenery of France and mouth watering descriptions of delectable food and wine. An added plus in this edition is that we also visually tour several wine estates.
Action ensues when a car accident occurs, almost killing Ben’s daughter, Margaux, who has come from New York to visit her family in France. But someone in the car is murdered, and so Ben and Virgile set out to find why. In addition to this mystery, there is also the underlying issue with the vintners at the vineyards, which are having difficulty enduring the heat wave. The heat could cause them to lose their vines. Both of these issues within the book are related and you’ll have to enjoy the book to see how it all intertwines as I don’t want to give away any spoilers. These books are little pocket sized quick reads and perfect for an evening at home with a glass of your favorite wine.
The characterization of Ben is ever increasing, as we get to know him in more connective fashion, as well as with this book, his family members too. We meet Marguax for the first time, as well get to know his other immediate family on a more intimate level. I appreciate that. The authors filled this book well, for its size, with a well-rounded mystery plot and background character development that left me fulfilled and entertained. They kept me guessing until the later chapters and perked my interest in the mystery.
I’m interested to see where the next book takes us, especially in regards to his relationship with Virgile. I still think the wine detective series is a unique and fun idea and look forward to continuing on in reading the rest of the series.
Mayhem in Margaux
Release date: May 14, 2015
at Le French Book
Mayhem in Margaux, Synopsis~
It’s summer in Bordeaux. There’s a heat wave, the vineyards are suffering, vintners are on edge, and wine expert Benjamin Cooker’s daughter is visiting. A tragic car accident draws the Winemaker Detective and his assistant Virgile into a case where the stakes are very personal, and they uncover the dirty secrets hiding behind some of Bordeaux’s finest grand cru classé wines from Margaux. [provided by the publisher]
An episode in a long successful French mysteries series that is a hit television series now in its fourth season
and attracting an audience of over 4 million. The series is a huge success in France, Belgium and Switzerland.
Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, Biographies~
Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, wine lover and music lover respectively, came up with the idea for the Winemaker Detective series while sharing a meal, with a bottle of Château Gaudou 1996, a red wine from Cahors with smooth tannins and a balanced nose.
About the Translator~
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