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…

Book Review Nightmare in Burgundy by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Nightmare in Burgundy by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 140 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards, Bordeaux The Order of the Knights of Tastevin inducted Benjamin Cooker as Chevalier du Tastevin. The next morning, a young woman server asks Benjamin if he saw the graffiti. Someone wrote a biblical quote in Latin on the side of the café. When a second biblical quote appears on a bridge, the townsfolk get angry. In the neighboring town of Gilly, another passage is written on a house. Benjamin enlists the help of an old friend, Brother Clement, from the Citeaux Abbey. Brother Clement helps Benjamin translate the Latin phrases. They determine the phrases are from the Revelations section in the Bible. Benjamin calls his assistant, Virgile, to help him investigate the graffiti. In the middle of the night, Benjamin is startled when he heard two gunshots. A man shot and killed two boys believed to be the ones responsible for the graffiti. Robert Bressel is a reporter and wants to interview Benjamin. They talk about the graffiti and Robert tells Benjamin that Burgundy has never been a peaceful place. He tells…

Book Review Grand Cru Heist by Jean Pierre Alaux

Book Review Grand Cru Heist by Jean Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen Review by Dawn Thomas 149 Pages Publisher: Le French Book Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, French Detective, Wines, Vineyards While driving in his vintage Mercedes Benz, Benjamin was attacked and his car, along with his wine guidebook, was stolen. After he left the hospital, he checked into a hotel to recuperate. His assistant, Virgile Lanssien, showed him an article about 100 bottles of Grand Cru were stolen. He thinks it is a publicity stunt. Looking out his hotel window, he saw the car he always wanted – a Morton Plus 8. Gaeton, the concierge of the hotel, gave Benjamin the owner’s name, Sir Robert Morton. While out for a walk, Benjamin gets a telephone call. It is the owner of the Chateau Angelus winery, Hubert de Bouard. He called Benjamin to say his Grand Cru wine that was stolen. When two people are found murdered, it looks like a murder suicide. Benjamin does not agree with that. He begins investigating and asks Virgile to join him. Cooker still needs to find out who is stealing the wine and why. This is the second book in the Winemaker Detective Series. The two…