> Bless Their Hearts Mom: Book Review: Requiem in Yquem by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, Trans by Sally Pane
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Book Review: Requiem in Yquem by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, Trans by Sally Pane

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook free of charge,from Le French Press, 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,  all opinions are my own.

It's almost Fall, and you know what that means!

Yup- time to travel back to France with our favorite crime solving, 
wine teaching detectives!

Requiem in Yquem cover


In the mist-covered hills of Sauternes, where the wine is luscious and the landscape beguiling, the brutal murder of an elderly couple intrigues the wine expert Benjamin Cooker and awakens memories for his dashing assistant Virgile Lanssien. Drawn into the investigation, the two journey through the storied Sauternes countryside, where the Château d’Yquem has reigned for centuries. Will the murder go unexplained and the killer remain free? The Winemaker Detective’s discernment and incessant curiosity push investigators to look deeper, while Virgile rekindles memories of his days at school and questions the meaning of his life.   

In another satisfying wine novel with a French flair, authors Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen give readers a perfectly intoxicating combination of French wine, gourmet meals, and mystery in the gloriously described Sauternes wine region with all the scenery, scents, and sounds of France. 


It was either ironic or fitting—Benjamin couldn’t decide which—that he was trying to pry the information out of a man who had presented him with a 1989 Yquem when he and Chantal arrived for one of their first dinners at Grangebelle.

“One very fine year!” Benjamin had enthused. “I almost feel guilty uncorking this. Alain, do you know what a long life these bottles have? Don’t you want to hold onto it?”

“Benjamin, my friend, this bottle has been waiting for this very night,” Alain had responded. “Let’s open it.”

Elisabeth had prepared the perfect appetizer: foie gras with a tart sauce. The honey and lush lemon flavors of the wine were an excellent counterpoint to the foie gras. 

“It’s like velvet!” Alain had said after taking his first sip of the 1989. “Did you know, Benjamin, that when Thomas Jefferson was an envoy to France, he declared Sauternes our country’s best wine? He ordered 250 bottles for himself and more bottles for George Washington.”

Benjamin nodded. “I heard that story. But believe it or not, I think the Yquem we’re drinking is superior to what he took back to America. The technique of letting the noble rot do its work hadn’t been perfected yet.”

Over the years, the two couples had enjoyed some exceptional vintages together. Benjamin and Alain loved surprising each other with rare bottles and news of promising small vineyards they had just discovered. And although they also savored their political discussions in the libraries of their homes, it was their shared passion for wine that cemented their relationship.

Through it all, Benjamin had stuck with his cigars, while Alain had kept his briar pipe firmly clenched in his mouth. He had taken up the pipe the year he went into police work, and by his own admission, Sherlock Holmes had played no small part in this decision.

Benjamin waited for his friend to take two more puffs. “So the junkie has no alibi?”


Once again a Winemaker mystery is the perfect read for cooler weather! The books, no matter when they are set, just seem to be made for reading by a light fire with coffee or tea nearby. While you may say, "Why not a glass of wine?", the answer is simple-you learn so much about wine and food in every book, that your glass will seem pale and dull, no matter what the wine! So better to wait til you're finished, and then buy a bottle of the 'involved' wine and make a delicious dinner, or dessert, to go with it!

For inspiration is definitely in the air in this book! The mystery at hand seems rather dull, with little motive. But when inspiration tickles Benjamin's 'little grey cells', suddenly there is so much more to discovered! Add in information about wines you may not have heard about, and you have a story that keeps you reading long into the night! In fact, I finished the book in one read! If you haven't found out about this series yet, this is a good book to read now, and then go back and start at the beginning and read through the translated series. It has quickly become one of my favorites, and it will be yours too!

About the Authors:

Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen, wine lover and music lover respectively, came up with the idea for the Winemaker Detective series while sharing a meal, with a bottle of Château Gaudou 1996, a red wine from Cahors with smooth tannins and a balanced nose. They are both prolific writers, with several series to their name, including the Winemaker Detecive series, which has been adapted to television.

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. She has translated several titles in this series. Long-time editor Amy Richards and publisher and founder of Le French Book Anne Trager both contributed to the adaptation. 

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