Book review and giveaway: Montmartre Mysteries – I love France #161

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Montmartre Mysteries

Montmartre Mysteries


Montmartre Mysteries
Jean-Pierre ALAUX and Noël BALEN
translated by Sally Pane
Publisher:  Le French Book
Pub. Date:
September 3, 2015
ISBN: 978-1939474476

First published in French:
Ne tirez pas sur le caviste (2005)

Pages:  146
Genre:  Whodunit / Cozy mystery / Detective
Source: Received from the publisher for a
virtual book tour on France Book Tours


In full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges

2015 ebook my-kind-of-mystery-2015 2015 Translation

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Humming along with “The Winemaker Detective series “, presenting you today the 8th volume, just published today, and a unique vineyard. Did you know indeed there is still a vineyard growing in Paris? You will learn more about it in Montmartre Mysteries.

I particularly enjoyed this 8th volume in the Winemaker Detective Series, with a mystery within the mystery, and several layers opening the possibility of many suspects, always a plus for a good amount of suspense.

One day, Benjamin Cooker, this unique detective and expert in wine, receives a mysterious letter from a woman. She says she’s the director of a hospital for elderly people located in Montmartre, a neighborhood of Paris. A tiny vineyard is on their property, and as it is in bad shape, she invites Benjamin to come have a look and do what needs to be done to recover its goodness. Who is this woman? Benjamin will discover if she’s legit or not when he eventually gets there to visit.
Well, on his way, he witnesses the wine shop of his friend Arthur being broken into, and its owner attacked by a man wearing a ski-mask.

With his assistant Virgile, Benjamin tries to find out why. Is life catching up with him? Arthur spent twelve years in the French Foreign Legion in Africa. Did something happen before that? Or during his time of service? Or since, as he is the best wine merchant in Montmartre, with plenty of jealous competitors? Or is a woman behind it? His former girlfriend whom he broke with suddenly? Jealous husbands?

As you see, plenty of possible leads to make you wonder and keep you interested to the end.
Add to that the Montmartre ambiance, with its cafés where gossip is plentiful, and good wine and good food too, of course. There’s also a neat passage on the history of vineyards in that neighborhood and a cool wine tasting session.

What was very good too, especially if you have followed the series so far, is that actually Benjamin recedes humbly in the background and this time, it’s Virgile himself who follows his intuition and arrives at the correct conclusion of who did it and why.

As extra material, you might want to go read the translator’s account of her visit to Paris, as she discovered the places she had been translating about in that book. Really neat piece.

VERDICT: Short and suspenseful cozy mystery focusing on Montmartre, a unique neighborhood of Paris, with its special ambiance and its own vineyard!


Wine expert Benjamin Cooker travels to the French capital, where he 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. 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 sands of Djibouti to the vineyards of Côte du Rhône. In between tasty meals, fine vintage tastings, and visits to Paris attractions, Benjamin and Virgile unravel another crime.




©David Nakache

The authors of the Winemaker Detective series, are Epicures.
Jean-Pierre Alaux is a magazine, radio and TV journalist
when he is not writing novels in southwestern France.
He is the grandson of a winemaker
and exhibits a real passion for wine and wine making.
For him, there is no greater common denominator than wine.
He gets a sparkle in his eye when he talks about the Winemaker Detective,
which he coauthors with Noël Balen.
Noël 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.


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 where she wrote Camus and the Americas: A Thematic Analysis of Three Works Based on His Journaux de Voyage.  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; her literary translations include Operatic Arias; Singers Edition, and Reality and the Untheorizable by Clément Rosset.  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.
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What’s your favorite spot in Montmartre?
If you have not been there,
what would give you the desire to visit?




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14 thoughts on “Book review and giveaway: Montmartre Mysteries – I love France #161

  1. I was honored to have been given an ARC of this (I won my first in the series here on the blog a while back) and I loved it. If you love French setting books, this is a wonderful series


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  9. I equate an artist’s enclave with Montmartre. Le Chat Noir also comes to mind (I have a copy of the famous advertisement in my house). I’d love to visit France, in general.


  10. I just finished this. It seems this series gets better, with each new entry published. This has to be up there with my favourite for this author.


  11. Pingback: Montmartre Mysteries: tour quotations | France Book Tours

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