Book review and giveaway: Requiem in Yquem

Jean-Pierre ALAUX and Noël BALEN

on Tour

September 11-22



Requiem in Yquem


Release date:
September 12, 2017
at Le French Book

215 pages




rating system rating system rating system rating system

Welcome back on Words And Peace, for the 8th time, for the latest book in the wonderful Winemaker Detective Series! This time, in Requiem in Yquem, we will be traveling to the Sauternes region to taste the amazing Yquem wine.

The book opens on an intriguing scene: an old couple is found dead in bed in the small village of Bommes. The killer doesn’t seem to have taken much, and anyway Eléonore and René seem rather poor. So why would someone do such a thing?
Now, Bommes is one of the five villages making up the prestigious Sauternes wine appellation. And it is precisely in that village that Virgile went to school to study wines. So when his boss Benjamin Cooker, wine specialist and detective on the side, thinks the police is totally wrong, Virgile is in a good position to try to understand what’s going on. It’s also a great opportunity for him to reconnect with a former school friend. Will his friend Jeremy be able to help the investigation?

I really enjoyed a lot this mystery. The plot is very well constructed, with satisfying red herrings and enough shady characters and neighbors to have a nice collection of suspects.

But the books in that series have so much more to offer than a great plot.
They are full of amazing scenes and descriptions on wine (I learned a lot about the “noble rot”, which I knew nothing about), food (don’t read them on an empty stomach, you are going to starve!), and landscape and French settings.

The vines, finally free of the white shroud they had been wearing all morning, looked glorious in their purple and fiery hues.
in chapter 17


The shadows of the trees on the far bank stretched over the river like gnarled fingers.
in chapter 20

The background related to Benjamin’s family and Virgile’s school friends added an extra layer.


VERDICT: An intriguing mystery offering you a delicious way of visiting one of France’s famous regions and a taste of its most exquisite wine.



The intricate taste of greed and remorse.
The “addictive” Winemaker Detective series returns with a French mystery set in Sauternes, home of one of the world’s finest dessert wines, Yquem, known to some as liquid gold.
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 pushes 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 French wine, gourmet meals, and mystery in the gloriously described Sauternes wine region with all the scenery, scents, and sounds of France. This light, fun mystery combines amateur sleuths, food, and wine in a wonderfully French mystery novel that doubles as a travel guide.
It is a new kind read on the international mystery and crime scene: a pitch-perfect, wine-infused, French-style cozy mystery.



©David Nakache


Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen,
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 winemaking.
For him, there is no greater common denominator than wine.
He gets a sparkle in his eye when he talks about the Winemaker Detective mystery series,
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 prolific novel and short-story writing.

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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 University of Colorado 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, along with a number of titles in the Winemaker Detective series. 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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9 thoughts on “Book review and giveaway: Requiem in Yquem

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