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The Winemaker Detective: An Omnibus    by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noel Balen order for
Winemaker Detective
by Jean-Pierre Alaux
Order:  USA  Can
Le French, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The Winemaker Detective, by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen and translated from the French, is an intriguing omnibus of three stories woven around wines and mystery.

Master winemaker Benjamin Cooker and his assistant Virgile Lanssien play amateur sleuths around the French countryside. Benjamin is a well respected winemaker with a vast knowledge of wines and their making. Virgile, a young man following in his master's footsteps, accompanies his boss, eager to learn all he can.

The two encounter death, tainted barrels of wine, bad weather, and grapes that decline on the vine, in three separate stories Treachery in Bordeaux, Grand Cru Heist and Nightmare in Burgundy. This is the beginning of a made-for-TV series with more to come.

Apart from the mouthwatering accounts of glorious foods, other descriptions gracefully present the French countryside for readers' edification. It's beautifully done and gives the reader not only a desire to enjoy the wines noted in the book but also to travel to France to see the terrain where sun shines helpfully on the grapes, where the night sparkles with stars and where the wine is magnificent.

I did find the multitude of varieties of wines mentioned a little too hard to follow. One need not be a vintner to enjoy this omnibus, but it sure would help. I enjoyed the two main characters Benjamin and Virgile. They played off each other very well and kept the action moving. Each story led to the next and became more enjoyable as they played out.

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