Book Review: Montmartre Mysteries by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noel Balen

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Wine expert Benjamin Cooker travels to the French capital, where his is called to help care for some vineyards in Montmartre, a neighborhood full of memories for him. He stops in on an old friend. Arthur Solacroup left the Foreign Legion to open a wine shop good enough to be in the Cooker Guide. But an attempted murder brings the past back into the present. But which past? The winemaker detective and his assistant Virgile want to know more, and their investigation leads them from the the sands of Djibouti to the vineyards of Côte du Rhône.
*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *
And the winemaker detective and his assistant are back! This time they travel to Paris, Benjamin to visit an old friend and Virgil to attend a marathon. But the visit to the favorite wine shop in Paris goes far away from expected. Benjamin is witnessing an attempted murder, his friend has been attacked, and possibly killed, if Benjamin hasn’t show up. His old friend, a former member of The Foreign Legion, now is helpless in bed in coma.
The winemaker detective has a difficult task in front of him. Who would like to kill a winemaker? Is it just a robbery that turns out wrong or is it something more? Does his past as a member of The Foreign Legion have something to do with it? But nothing, nothing can prepare Benjamin for the truth he discovers, the truth so unexpected that will literally leave him with his jaw dropped.
In this part of The Winemaker Detective Series, we can enter in Benjamin’s life when he was young. The visit to Paris brings him old memories of a forgotten love, a woman once close to his heart. But he never regrets his choice, he loves Elizabeth, his wife, from the bottom of his heart. Every other woman in his life is just a distant memory.
Even this time, the story doesn’t lack the wine supply. From Cuvee Vieilles Vignes to Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, you can almost smell the aroma and taste the wine in your mouth. The descriptions of the wines are so vivid and colorful, I almost emptied my own wine supply while reading. The author really knows how to distract reader’s attention.
What I noticed different from previous Winemaker Detective stories is the pace of the story. While in previous stories it went up and down with a new mystery around the corner, this time it is more steady with less turn-overs. But the end is a real cherry on the top of the cake. It comes so unexpectedly after that steady pace, a real „BAM“ coming out of nowhere! I was going to give up reading, some parts were very slow (according to me), but the end left me with my mouth opened and I must say to the author: „Well done!“. Because the end saved the story, I am rating it with four stars.
My opinion: 4 / 5.

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