Book Review Tainted Tokay by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen

Book Review Tainted Tokay by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 181 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards This is the eleventh book in the Wine Detective series. In this installment, Benjamin Cooker has promised his wife, Elisabeth, a vacation. His editor, Claude, has offered to pay for a trip to Hungary as his guests. Alexandrine, Cooker’s lab assistant is brutally attacked. She calls Virgile, Benjamin’s assistant and asks for his help. Virgile tells Cooker to go on the trip and he will take care of the business and the lab. Claude has a young companion, Consuela Chavez. She is exotic and Benjamin is intrigued by her. Elisabeth is not happy about the attention Benjamin is showing Consuela. Her past is murky and no one can pin point her nationality. A man, Zoltán, approaches them and offers his services as a tour guide. Elisabeth believes he looks trust worthy and agrees to hire him. On an excursion, someone steals Claude’s wallet and passport. They must go to the French Embassy to get new travel documents. Alexandrine continues to heal but is extremely cautious. The police do not believe her attack was…

Book Review White Leopard by Laurent Guillaume

Book Review White Leopard by Laurent Guillaume Review by Dawn Thomas 196 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, General Fiction (Adult), Africa Souleymane Camara, known as Solo to his friends is the White Leopard. He was a police officer in France but now lives in Bamako, Mali as a private detective. He is approached by a woman who believes her husband is having an affair. Farah Tebessi, a Paris lawyer, hires him to get her sister, Bahia, out of jail. Bahia was hired to carry gold into the country. Unknown to her, it turns out to be drugs. She is arrested and thrown into jail. The lawyer gives Solo money to bribe the officials to get her released. He meets with the jail official and negotiates the woman’s release. After the police wake him up, they take him to an industrial area of the city. The police commissioner, Kansaye, is there waiting for him. There is a woman floating in the water. When he looks closer at her, he realizes she was Bahia. He is back on the infidelity case. He followed the husband to a hotel restaurant. Sitting at the table with him is a beautiful woman. When…

Book Review The Winemaker Detective by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen

Book Review The Winemaker Detective by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 309 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards, Bordeaux This book contains the first three books in the Winemaker Detective Series. In these books, Benjamin and Virgile travel around solving mysteries. Benjamin Cooker is well known for his wine book and Virgile is his young assistant. In these books, they travel to different wine regions in France. Each book discusses different types of wine. I learned so much about wine and the regions they come from in these books. You can find my complete reviews on the individual books at the links below. Treachery in Bordeaux Grand Cru Heist Nightmare in Burgundy   These stories are short but full of adventure. I enjoyed the series and recommend it to anyone that enjoys mysteries.

Book Review Late Harvest Havoc by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Late Harvest Havoc by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 140 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards Benjamin Cooker, the wine expert, is on a tour of a cathedral in Strasbourg when the tour guide, Jeanne, collapses to the floor. Just moments ago, she was asking him for a date. Benjamin realizes how quick life can change. He and his assistant, Virgile Lanssien, are in Germany to meet with Fritz Loewenberg for a tasting. When the rear tires on Benjamin’s vintage Mercedes Benz 280SL, the hotel manager lends him the hotel Toyota. In search of vandalized grape vines, Benjamin swears to miss a wild boar and her babies. Unfortunately, he hits a vine stock and snaps it off. He goes in search of the property owner. To his surprise, they were waiting for him at the Deutzler winery. The police thought it was too much of a coincidence that Benjamin was in all the areas that were vandalized. Benjamin goes on ahead to Germany to meet with Fritz leaving Virglie behind to continue with the investigation. While in Germany, he sees Bernadette. She informs him that Vincent Deutzler, the…

Book Review Backstabbing in Beaujolais by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Backstabbing in Beaujolais by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 163 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards The story begins with a body found in a wine barrel and then jumps back three months. Guillaume Perithiard hires Benjamin Coker to assess a winery for a possible purchase. Benjamin sees potential and recommends the buy. He wants to make Beaujolais Nouveau, the best variety of Beaujolais. Laurent Quillebaud dies in a hunting accident. After his death, it becomes known he had AIDS. This leaves some to question if it was an accident, murder or suicide. Perithiard believes Benjamin would be available at his disposal, which is far from the case. Benjamin then finds an estate agent, Annabelle Malisset, for him. Being a beautiful woman is a bonus. Perithiard hires her on the spot. Perithiard’s affair with Solene Chavannes, cools off but it is too last, his wife, Berangere, found out about it and begins making demands. Things get interesting when someone begins vandalizing the estate. It is anyone’s guess who is behind it. Everyone begins to point a finger. There are so many people guilty of something but who is…

Book Review Montmartre Mysteries by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Montmartre Mysteries by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 146 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards Arthur Solacroup is a wine merchant with a history in the French Foreign Legion. He is attacked in his wine shop. Benjamin Cooker arrived shortly after and saw the attacker as he was running away. One of Arthur’s friends, Karim, also saw the attacker. Since he was wearing a ski mask, neither man can identify him. Benjamin receives a letter in the mail asking him to visit a hospital in Paris that needs help with their vineyard. He visits the hospital and arranges for vines and training. He takes the time to show the maintenance workers how to prune the vines. Benjamin troubled by Arthur’s attack, begins investigating. He waits for his assistant Virgile and is annoyed when he is late. Virgile arrives with a story. Virgile was stuck on the train because a man jumped in front of a train. This caused a shutdown of the trains for several hours. Because of his injuries, no one can identify him. This is the eighth book in the Winemaker Detective book series. I learn…

Book Review Flambe in Armagnac by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Flambe in Armagnac by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 140 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards Benjamin Cooker gets a letter from an insurance company asking him to provide a value report for a vineyard, which suffered a fire. Benjamin’s first thought was not to accept the offer but changed his mind. While investigating, Benjamin learns a man died in the fire. Everyone has nice things to say about Francisco Vasquez and is sad of his passing. Was his death an accident or pre-meditated. As Virgile digs through the rubble to find clues, Benjamin is uncovering more information into the winery. Tension gets high between a father and his sons. Could one of them had anything to do with setting the fire to collect from the insurance company? Benjamin returns home but soon Virgile calls him back for more research. When more deaths occur, Benjamin scrambles to find out what is happening. This is the seventh book in the Winemaker Detective series. This is a very interesting series. I enjoy the characters and their quirkiness. I also learned a lot about the distillation process. This is a great…

Book Review Mayhem in Margaux by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Mayhem in Margaux by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 164 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards The summer is so hot and it appears to be a bad year for grapes. The heat is affecting people as well. Benjamin and his wife, Elisabeth, have rented a villa for a vacation. The night before they are supposed to leave, their daughter, Margaux was a passenger in a serious car accident. When there is evidence someone may have tampered with, Benjamin begins his own investigation. Benjamin breaks Margaux out of the hospital so she can recuperate with them while they are vacationing. During her stay there, Virgile stops by to see Benjamin. Margaux and Virgile strike up a conversation and are getting along. This is not what Benjamin wants at all. Following Benjamin’s example, Virgile buys a vintage car. During the investigation, he uses it to flush out a suspect but is unsuccessful. Luckily, their rented boat breaks down and they need to find a mechanic. This is the sixth book in the Winemaker Detective series. I enjoy the author’s writing style and the fast past of the story. If…

Book Review Cognac Conspiracies by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Cognac Conspiracies by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 164 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards Marie-France Lavoisier and her brother Pierre run Lavoisier Cognac, a family business. When their older brother, Claude-Henri, sells shares of Lavoisier Cognac to a company in Hong Kong, Benjamin Cooker is hired to review the company books. Benjamin and his assistant, Virgile arrive to a less than warm reception. Marie-France is hostile to them and asks them to leave but Virgile meets with Pierre and learns a bit about the company. Pierre is found dead from an apparent drowning, but Virgile does not believe it. While sitting in a café, Benjamin sees an old lover, Sheila Scott. He pays her a visit at her cottage and they reminisce on old times. Benjamin resigns from the Hong Kong company and returns their retainer but not before he accuses they of killing Pierre. Claude-Henri returns home and asks Marie-France if he can stay. Together they can rebuilt the company. Benjamin cannot rest though until he finds the truth about Pierre’s death. This is the fifth book in the Winemaker Detective series. I enjoyed learning about…

Book Review Deadly Tasting by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen

Book Review Deadly Tasting by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 144 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards, Bordeaux Benjamin Cooker clothes are getting tight. His wife, Elisabeth Cooker, puts him on a strict diet of cabbage soup. Benjamin is not happy about it at all. His assistant, Virgile Lanssien, tries to help with the diet but begs Elisabeth to allow Benjamin some other food after Benjamin faints. Inspector Barbaroux called Benjamin for his expert knowledge of wine. They need him at a gruesome crime scene. There are twelve wine glasses on a table but only one glass has in in it. The Inspector asks Benjamin to tell them the type of wine in the glass. The lab test results show it was only wine so Benjamin agrees. He identifies the wine as a vintage Petrus. Before Benjamin can get back to his life and his new diet, the police call again. The scene is similar with the wine glasses but now two glasses filled with wine. Both of the victims were men in their eighties. What could the two have in common? Benjamin is determined to find the answer. He enlists…