> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review: Tainted Tokay by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen, Translated by Sally Pane
Monday, April 11, 2016

Book Review: Tainted Tokay by Jean-Pierre Alaux, Noël Balen, Translated 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

tainted tokay cover


In between enjoying sumptuous food and wine, the Winemaker Detective grapples with deceit and deception in Old World Europe. 

France’s top wine expert Benjamin Cooker sets off to enjoy the delights of Vienna, a romantic ride down the Danube, a gourmand’s visit to Budapest, and a luxury train through the enchanting Hungarian countryside. All too soon, stolen wallets, disappearing passports, guides who are a bit too obliging, and murder mar the trip. Meanwhile, in Bordeaux, Cooker’s assistant handsome Virgile faces an annoying rival and a mildew crisis in the vineyards just as Cooker’s lab technician is the victim of a mugging. If you love cozy culinary mysteries, amateur detective stories, international mysteries with French flair, or anything wine-related, this made-for-TV series offers armchair travel at its best with gentle mysteries. 


I normally get to read the wonderful books from this series ahead of their publication date, but I got behind and didn't get this one til this past week, as it was releasing on the 7th!  Oh no!

But even though I was behind, I gobbled this book up in 2 sittings. And gobbled is the word, as the descriptions of food got me so hungry, I had to go make a late night snack! That is always a peril when reading this series-if the wine and locales don't get you, Benjamin's love affair with wonderful food will! This was an interesting read as Benjamin gets to go on a trip with his wife (who the authors allow to have a primary character role this time out) outside of France. Where of course, things must go wrong, or there is no mystery! BUT there is trouble at home and Benjamin has to trust Virgil to not only keep their many customers happy, but to solve the problem there by himself. Though of course Benjamin has to help 'tinker' from afar. 

This latest entry is full of twists and turns that will keep the reader guessing almost until the end! It is a bit of a quicker read than normal, but I think that is because there is more action! I love having Benjamin's wife come out for most of the story, and I hope the authors keep her there! If you've been reading this series, you'll love this new book, and if you're new to it, it will be a pleasant read!

Be sure to check out this fun Q&A about translating this fun series!

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: http://www.jean-pierre-alaux.book.fr/

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: http://www.noelbalen.com/

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 the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has translated several books in the Winemaker Detective series. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband.


  1. Thanks for this review. Glad you're enjoying the series.

    1. Thanks for stopping in Anne! So glad you started the company and translating these great French mysteries!


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