Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Requiem in Yquem by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noel Balen

Reading this novel was a pleasant change for me. It is a different kind of mystery, almost like taking a tour of the French wine country. The setting is Sauternes, home of one of the finest sweet wines, Yquem. An old couple is found murdered in their bed. Amateur sleuth and wine expert, Benjamin Cooker is intrigued by the seemingly senseless crime. His assistant, Virgile Lanssien, helps with the discoveries.

I liked how the authors described the French countryside. At times I felt like I was looking at a painting, the descriptions were so good. I also liked all the information about how wines are made, particularly Sauternes. They are allowed to rot on the vine! But it is a refined technique, enhancing the sweetness of the grapes. The descriptions of the aromas of a freshly opened bottle of wine almost made me want to go out a buy a bottle so I could detect the subtle fragrances. And the food described sounded delicious too.

I liked how the authors portrayed the characters. That really gave me a sense of being in the country. The characters may not have been as developed as I would like but I think it was sufficient for this length novel.

This is a great book for mystery lovers and wine connoisseurs alike. You'll enjoy a decent mystery while you bask in the wine country of Sauternes. It is a good novel on both accounts. The translation is great too.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

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.
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.

Le French Book, 215 pages.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

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