May 11, 2015

Murder in Margaux by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noel Balen - Review/Guest Post/Giveaway


I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review

Mayhem in Margaux by Jean-Pierre ALAUX and Noël BALEN
Winemaker Detective #6
ISBN: 978-1939474384
Trade Paperback - 153 pages

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. *** 

Do you like wine? Do you like mysteries? If so then I say you should give this series a shot. This was another exciting installment in the Wine Detective series. From the first page I feel as if I am transported straight to France and am right in the midst of this mystery. You will go on a journey of Merdoc and its wine estates while trying to solve this murder mystery. I like how this mystery has wine and food has a part in the story. After reading this book I want to go to France even more. I also like hearing about Benjamin’s family and how they have their own little stories within a story. That is another part of what makes these books nice to read. You feel for Ben in this story since it was thought that it was his assistant who was killed. These mysteries are short so they are quick reads. I am looking forward to the next book in this series. Each one that I have read so far has been very good and enjoyable.   


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. 

Translator Sally Pane studied French at State University of New York Oswego and the Sorbonne before receiving her Masters Degree in French Literature from the University of Colorado. She has translated several titles in this series.

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The Diamonds of Bordeaux and the Versailles of Médoc

The Winemaker Detective series has become an “obsession” for some bloggers, with its excursions into French wine country, its gourmet attitude, and its cozy mysteries. Here translator Sally Pane shares some details about her experience translating the latest one in the series: Mayhem in Margaux, which was released by Le French Book this month.

Translating the mystery Mayhem in Margaux was an intriguing introduction to the Médoc region of France. The main storyline revolves around a murder, and there are many twists and turns that take you through the world of wine. I found myself surprised when I read the descriptions of this district of Bordeaux, with its mixture of sand dunes, coastal lagoons and pine forests, to think of wine, and not just any wine! But the Médoc is a peninsula that lies between the Atlantic coastline and the estuary of the Gironde River, and the sandy terrain is what makes the area so suitable for vineyards. This is where some of the world’s most important wine villages are, and some of the world’s most expensive wines come from their châteaux, such as Château Margaux itself. I learned that more fine wine is produced here, especially in that part called the Haut-Médoc, than anywhere else in the world.           
            At a certain point in the story, when Benjamin and Virgile have been lured to the grounds of an estate, Benjamin tells a legend about the Lord of Margaux who became the talk of Versailles when he showed up dressed in a coat “adorned with dozens of buttons that shone like diamonds.” Apparently, through the ages, the Garonne and Dordogne rivers have carried polished rocks down from the Pyrenees, and they’re quite beautiful: purple quartz, Jurassic cherts, golden flint. I did a little investigating myself into this Lord of Margaux, and I found out he was guillotined during the French Revolution.

The château is described in the book when Cooker and his wife and daughter Margaux are there for a gala. This is where Margaux has her first ill-fated encounter with the château’s director. Rebuilt in 1810, with neo-classical Palladian columns, it has been called the “Versailles of the Médoc.” I read that its most recent buyer in 1977, Andre Mentzelopoulos, was drawn to the ionic columns adorning the peristyle, which reminded him of his native Greece. I wondered if this man, who effected major innovations to winemaking, spoke several languages and was fond of quoting Winston Churchill, could have been some of the inspiration for the bi-cultural Cooker character.

*** You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! (just follow the directions on the entry-form) Global giveaway open internationally: 2 US residents will win a print copy of this book 3 residents of any country will receive a digital copy


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  1. A chateau,wine, mystery what's not to like? Looking forward to reading
    Thanks for a chance to win

  2. This is a book I'm looking forward to reading! Thank you!

  3. My favorite series of all time was The Cat Who..... series.

  4. thanks for your nice review. Did you read it in its entirety? Thank God, no it was not his assistant who was killed! Emma at FBT

    1. Yes I did I just went back to read my review and realized I worded it wrong. Thank you