Saturday, 7 February 2015

Deadly Tasting - Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen

Le French Book

Now I enjoy a glass of good wine with a meal but I am certainly not a wine connoisseur though I know what I like and I can decipher a wine label.  Initially, a mystery built around the many intricacies of wine did not appeal to me.  I have however, enjoyed everything that I have read so far from Le French Book and decided that was reason enough to read at least one volume from this series.  Again, a big Thank You to Anne Trager for translating and making these enjoyable award winning reads accessible to English readers.

Deadly Tasting is book four in the Winemaker Detective Series.  Local Bordeaux police consult wine expert Benjamin Cooker,  following the discovery  at the scene of a brutal murder, of twelve wine glasses deliberately placed in a semi-circle and only one glass contains wine. Cooker needs to identify the wine in the glass to understand the message the killer is leaving.  But when a second murder occurs and this time two glasses are filled with wine, Cooker and the police realize that time is of the essence if they are to stop the killer from striking again. 

Certain the wine left in the glasses is a grand crux Pomerol from the Pétrus estate, Cooker must figure out who could have an apparently unlimited access to such an expensive wine.  Delving into the history of the wine necessitates revisiting the history of the Nazi occupation of the area and digging up secrets from this dark time in Bordeaux history. 
The writing is tight and the story fast paced.  There are some lighter moments involving Cooker and the cabbage soup diet that his wife has him on.  Though not strictly necessary to the story, these moments help to lighten the mood following some of the more gruesome murder scenes and the telling of the heavier aspects of the Nazi occupation.
Much to my surprise I became quite intrigued by the wine information and found myself researching Pomerol wine, the Pétrus estate and even the cabbage soup diet.  Everything that I learned from my investigations confirmed how well the authors had done their research and how smoothly they incorporated facts and history into the mystery.
My research also led me to discover that I can order the Pétrus estate's Pomerol locally but I definitely can't afford to.  At thousands of dollars for a bottle, if I should ever be fortunate enough to have a full glass of it in front of me, there is no way I will be leaving it behind for someone else to discover as a clue.  Salut!

Have a look at some interesting facts about wine and be thankful you weren't a woman in Roman times.


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