Cognac Conspiracies: Winemaker Detective Mysteries #5 by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen

Welcome to my stop for a Winemaker Detective Mystery. Please be sure to check the other tour stops  and be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could be one of eight winners, US residents have a choice of Print or eBook, winners outside of the US will receive eBook copies of Cognac Conspiracies.

This series is also an  episode in a  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.

Cognac Conspiracies

Returning again to yet another story with famous wine expert Benjamin Cooker, this time to aid in battling a hostile takeover of a famed French Cognac estate by foreign investors.  I’ve read several of these mysteries and am always impressed by both the wine-related information and the solidly described French countryside, history and traditions that surround the wine business.

Most of the charm in this series, for me, is in the food, wine and descriptions of place and traditions: the mysteries aren’t all that complex, but do move the story forward and give readers something to solve. Perfectly well-suited for a quiet retreat into France and its environs, and who wouldn’t love to escape to France for a few hours?

In this book, the winemakers of France are experiencing effects from the worldwide economic slowdown; and the region of Armagnac which hosts several Cognac producers is hard hit.  The Lavoisier Vineyard is a family established producer, the three siblings who inherited the vineyard each received an equal share, and are at odds about the vineyards future.  With one sibling selling his share to a consortium, the two remaining siblings Marie-France and Pierre are struggling to maintain control.

Cooker is hired to look at the books by the Chinese, and while he’s investigating, Pierre turns up dead.  From here, the tension for Marie-France increases as her brother’s death will leave her as the minority partner in the Vineyard, and possibly in danger as well.

Neatly inserting past connections and new flirtations, subtle nods to family drama, and all wrapped up neatly with a solution that is logical and feels possible. The food and wine descriptions, and Cooker’s knowledge of both are beautifully integrated within the story. These are lovely little afternoon treks through France, giving readers plenty of information, imagery and entertainment.

Cognac Conspiracies: Winemaker Detective Mysteries #5 by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen

Title: Cognac Conspiracies
Author: Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen
Series: Winemaker Detective Mysteries #5
Published by: Le French Book
ISBN: 1939474329
Published on: 18 February, 2015
Pages: 140
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon iTunes Kobo Downpour Book Depository Google
See this Title on Goodreads

The heirs to one of the oldest Cognac estates in France face a hostile takeover by foreign investors. Renowned wine expert Benjamin Cooker is called in to audit the books. In what he thought was a sleepy provincial town, he is stonewalled, crosses paths with his first love, and stands up to high-level state officials keen on controlling the buyout. Meanwhile, irresistible Virgile mingles with the local population until a drowning changes the stakes.


See the Series on Goodreads

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.





About Jean-Pierre Alaux

The authors of Treachery in Bordeaux, the first in the Winemaker Detective series, 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.

About Noël Balen

The authors of Treachery in Bordeaux, the first in the Winemaker Detective series, are Epicures. Coauthor of the Winemaker Detective series, with Jean-Pierre Alaux . 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.

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