Jean-Pierre ALAUX and Noël BALEN on Tour February 1-20 with
The heirs to one of the oldest Cognac estates in France face a hostile takeover by foreign investors. Renowned wine expert Benjamin Cooker is called in to audit the books. In what he thought was a sleepy provincial town, he is stonewalled, crosses paths with his first love, and stands up to high-level state officials keen on controlling the buyout. Meanwhile, irresistible Virgile mingles with the local population until a drowning changes the stakes. [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. ***
Cognac Conspiracies is the fifth book in the Winemaker Detective Mysteries series and the first one I have read in the series. But I had no problem getting into the story, there's not many characters to keep track on and the main characters Benjamin Cooker and Virgile made an interesting duo. But I most say that I preferred Virgile as a character rather than Benjamin. At least in this book. Since this is the first book I have read about them perhaps my view will change when I read the others. But one of the reasons to why I liked Virgile was that not only does women fancy Virgile, but in this book he had some problem with a man desiring him. But that is perhaps something he is used to, I don't know. But that was quite fun reading. Trying to work with women and men undressing one with their eyes was tough for poor Virgile.
But, I wish I had to get to know the characters a little more than I did in this book. A little more background. That's the drawback to reading a book in the middle of a series. On the plus side, I now have a couple of books to read.
Now about the story. It wasn't really a surprise that something was fishy about the drowning, this is a crime novel after all. Also, This isn't a thick book, so there wasn't really much time for red herrings or many suspects and that was too bad because that meant that there wasn't really a big surprise when everything was revealed in the end of the book. I wished there would have been more twists to the story because I liked the writing style and the main characters in the book.
In the end will I say that I liked the book. It was a nice cozy mystery book and I would very much read more in the series. Especially the previous books. But I have to deduct a half star because the lack of a more surprising ending.
The authors of the Winemaker Detective series, are Epicures. Jean-Pierre Alaux is a magazine, radio and TV journalist when he is not writing novels in southwestern France. He is the grandson of a winemaker and exhibits a real passion for wine and wine making. For him, there is no greater common denominator than wine. He gets a sparkle in his eye when he talks about the Winemaker Detective, which he coauthors with Noël Balen. Noël lives in Paris, where he shares his time between writing, making records, and lecturing on music. He plays bass, is a music critic and has authored a number of books about musicians in addition to his novel and short-story writing.
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