Sunday, 14 July 2013

Treachery in Bordeaux by J.P.Alaux and N.Balen

Treachery in Bordeaux
A classic whodunit in French wine country

(no murder, no sex, no violence - cozy, epicurean)
Genre: whodunit/mystery
BISAC cat.: Mystery/Detective

In modern-day Bordeaux, there are few wine estates still within the city limits. The prestigious grand cru Moniales Haut-Brion is one of them. When some barrels end up contaminated, world-renowned winemaker-turned-gentleman-detective Benjamin Cooker starts asking questions. Is it negligence or sabotage? Who would want to bring down this esteemed vintner? Cooker and his assistant Virgile Lanssien search the city and the vineyards for answers, giving readers and inside view of this famous wine region. Treachery in Bordeaux is the first of the 20-book Winemaker Detective series that delves into the underworld of a global luxury industry, where money, deceit, death, crime, inheritance, jealousy constitute all the ingredients needed to distill a fine detective series!

Treachery in Bordeaux has been adapted for television in France.

Authors: Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen
Translator: Anne Trager
Publisher: Le French Book, Inc.
First published in French (Fayard, 2004)
Marketing launch Date: October 9, 2012
Specs: direct to digital translation, ebook exclusive, 30,000 words
Genre: whodunit/mystery
BISAC cat.: Mystery/Detective
ISBN: 978-0-9853206-2-1 (Kindle)/
List Price: $7.99
Retail orders:,, ibooks, other ebook platforms
Buying links:
For your Amazon Kindle.
For your Kobo.

Praise for Treachery in Bordeaux
“I love good mysteries. I love good wine. So imagine my joy at finding a great mystery about wine, and winemaking, and the whole culture of that fascinating world. And then I find it's the first of a series. I can see myself enjoying many a bottle of wine while enjoying the adventures of Benjamin Cooker in this terrific new series.”  — William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Back Bay and The Lincoln Letter

Treachery in Bordeaux is a fine vintage forged by the pens of two very different varietals. It is best consumed slightly chilled, and never alone. You will be intrigued by its mystery, and surprised by its finish, and it will stay with you for a very long time.” — Prize-winning, international bestselling author Peter May

About the Authors
The authors of Treachery in Bordeaux are Epicures. Jean-Pierre Alaux is a magazine, radio and television journalist when he is not writing novels in southwestern France. He is a genuine wine and food lover and the grandson of a winemaker. For him, there is no greater common denominator than wine. His coauthor Noël Balen 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.
Facebook: LeFrenchBook
Twitter: @LeFrenchBook

My Review

Treachery in Bordeaux is a gentle paced mystery where the authors take us on a tour into the vineyards in Bordeaux, and give us a glimpse into the history of the area. It starts with the protagonist, Benjamin Cooker, an authority on winemaking, contemplating on his creative work. Benjamin Cooker spends sleepless nights, deleting pages, ordering and reordering pages, organising them worrying about even the smallest details and most of all worrying about being late for the publishers. Sounds familiar? The travails of creative work!

While an authority on winemaking and a critic, he is a "man tormented by the meaning of his words, the accuracy of his judgements and an impartiality that he brandished like a religious credo?", a person who is assailed by self-doubt when it comes to his own work.

Benjamin receives an emergency call from his winemaker friend who finds barrels of wine from his vineyard contaminated. Benjamin's work is mainly to save the contaminated wine and also to see that the contamination does not spread. Even though Benjamin is not a detective, he decides to find out who contaminated the wine with some help from his former detective friend. Is the contamination accidental or done on purpose? If it is done on purpose who did it and why?

Benjamin also is an art collector and he finds an interesting overmantel featuring a Bordeaux vineyard during harvest. He also finds that this overmantel is part of a greater picture. Will Benjamin trace the original?

We get interesting details like why even though a vineyard may not be in a region, why the wine could be attributed to the region. There are other interesting observations like

"You know well enough that it is never simple to make anything simple."

It is not a traditional whodunit in the sense you don't have a set of characters where the suspicion moves from one to another and finally the perpetrator is revealed. Benjamin does not start looking for the perpetrator for two-thirds of the book. It is a straightforward mystery, where we can't guess the perpetrator because she/he is not known to us, and Benjamin solves the case just by a coincidence, but the 'why' though hinted comes as a surprise. It is a short cozy mystery with interesting insight into vineyards and human beings. 


Sunday, July 14
Review at
 Valli’s Book Den
Saturday, July 27
Review + Giveaway at
 Melina’s Book blog
Sunday, July 28
Guest-post + Giveaway at
 Mary’s Cup of Tea
Tuesday, July 30
Review + Giveaway at
 Words And Peace


Anonymous said...

great review, thanks!

srivalli said...

Thanks Emma!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this review of Treachery in Bordeaux. We really appreciate it. The second translation in the series is being edited now. Woohoo.

srivalli said...

You are welcome Anne, I enjoyed the book. Congrats on the second book. Look forward to reading it!

Anonymous said...

I love foodie and drinkie type mysteries. Some of them, written by 'outsiders' (i.e. foreigners) can sometimes feel a bit too tourist brochure-like, but this one brings the inside expert view.

srivalli said...

Hi Findingtimetowrite, thanks for stopping by! I do agree that books written by 'outsiders' can be tourist brochure like, but I find sometimes there are things we take for granted or we don't notice, which an outsider notices and also brings in his own perspective. Also if you like foodie mystery and enjoyed this book, don't mind if it is noir, I recommend Xiaolong's Inspector Chen Mysteries based in Beijing, which has lots of cultural refernces and food descriptions and is also poetic.

Joy said...

This sounds like a fun way to "visit" Bordeaux!

Joy's Book Blog

srivalli said...

thanks Joy for stopping by! this is a great way to visit Bordeaux with it vineyards.