Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: Mayhem in Margaux by by Jean-Pierre Alauxand Noël Balen, trans by Sally Pane

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge, from Le French Book, via Edelweiss, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

We're going back to France (mini theme) today!

Mayhem in Margaux cover


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 some dirty secrets hiding behind some of Bordeaux’s finest grand cru classé wines from Margaux.


Ah France....the history, the wine, the heat....we forget that in Summer other countries can be just as miserable as we are with hot and humid weather. In this latest entry in the Winemaker series, you can almost feel the heatwaves coming off the French countryside. One still wishes one were there along Benjamin and Virgile as they get into another tangle of lies and deceit, yet head to the coast for some refreshing air and 'thinking' time. This is perhaps the most 'persona'/ of the series so far, with Benjamin's daughter Margaux (you knew she had a wine name!) coming from the States for a visit and how her accident reminds Benjamin that life can be just as subject to outside forces beyond his control, just as the latest wine crop is. The book is bittersweet as Benjamin realizes how time has flown, and his daughter has flown from him. Yet they share a Summer  full of new memories and an acknowledgement that she is her father's daughter, and like the grapes, is the stronger for it. The mystery is solved as always, with quick thinking and some pretty astute knowledge! This is a perfect book to add with some wine and cheese, and give to mom for Mother's Day relaxing!

About the Authors:

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 won the Antonin Carême prize for his cookbook La Truffe sur le Soufflé, which he wrote with the chef Alexis Pélissou. He is the grandson of a winemaker and exhibits a real passion for wine and winemaking. For him, there is no greater common denominator than wine.Website:

Coauthor of the Winemaker Detective series, 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. Website:

About the 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.Her career includes more than twenty years of translating and teaching French and Italian at Berlitz and at Colorado University Boulder.  She has worked in scientific, legal and literary translation.  She also served as the interpreter for the government cabinet of Rwanda and translated for Dian Fossey’s Digit Fund. In addition to her passion for French, she has studied Italian at Colorado University, in Rome and in Siena.  She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband. This is her first translation for Le French Book!

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