Today I have another short mystery brought to you by the pair of Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, this time translation provided by Sally Pane. This is part of a tour with France Book Tours, be sure to check the other tour stops where you can see what others thought, and don’t forget to enter this blog’s giveaway where one lucky international winner will get an eBook copy of the title. Drawing will close at 23.59 EST on 15 April, and winner will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
My second encounter with this author duo, and I found this installment just as intriguing and engrossing as the first. This book, we are transported through the region of Burgundy, the authors’ ability to bring the scents, scenes and taste of the region to life as Benjamin Cooker heads from his home on the trip of a wine-lover’s dreams: a tasting tour of Burgundy.
These are gentle mysteries, although the whodunit is often buried in layers of possibility, the focus is never wholly on a need to solve a crime, but in the moments disrupted and disturbed by the appearance of yet another puzzle to solve by Cooker. In many ways, you can almost imagine his sigh as the moment of “here we go again” appears to disturb his planned gastronomic experience.
Cooker is expecting a quiet and enjoyable trip, but soon monuments are vandalized with psalms in their Latin form (a nice touch) and soon he is engrossed in the mystery, and the secrets that are threatening to come forward. With the gentle and enjoyable monk Brother Clement, this story manages to bring the elements together in a way that is unique to this pairing, softly and gently the story unfolds, with food, drink and a true enjoyment of the scene and country.
Food and wine play a large part in this series: both are important for that sense of well-being and contentment in the little moments that comprise a day. Particularly fitting inclusions for a country and people who are vehement about the enjoyment of the moment, taking the time to savor those things that bring pleasure and contentment: the particular scent of a wine, it’s taste alone and when paired with a particular food, the attention to detail is exacting and makes each meal, each morsel an event. Not to underplay the mystery: Cooker is working out the solutions in his own time, and the mystery does provide a nice tour of the countryside and various sites that will be familiar to those with knowledge of the countryside.
While I think that the mysteries are secondary to the actual scene building and culinary delights, these cozy stories will provide interest for fans of the genre, with a curious path taken to the solution and culprit. While I thought this particular story felt rushed at the end, I really do enjoy the writing and the character of Crooker. Those who want to look further can see that this series has been adapted into a hit television series in France known as ‘Le sang de la vigne’ [Blood of the Vine], with French actor Pierre Arditi and you can grab the first season on Amazon
Title: Nightmare in Burgundy
Author: Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen
Series: The Winemaker Detective
Genre: Contemporary Mystery
Published by: Le French Book
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
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The Winemaker Detective leaves his native Bordeaux to go to Burgundy for a dream wine tasting trip to France's other key wine-making region.
Between Beaune, Dijon and Nuits-Saint-Georges, it turns into a troubling nightmare when he stumbles upon a mystery revolving around messages from another era. What do they mean? What dark secrets from the deep past are haunting the Clos de Vougeot? Does blood need to be shed to sharpen people's memory?
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.