There can be no greater way to murder a character than by cheese and wine. What could be better?
My latest read is Bordeaux: A bitter finish by Janet Hubbard. I gave it 3 stars.
For me this was a classic recipe for a mystery tale.
Take one zealous and opinionated wine critic.
Mix in a feisty female NYPD officer and a smooth French magistrate in charge of the case – at this point stir vigorously to reignite a former passion.
Finally add some shady suspects, motivated by greed and prepared to go to any lengths to stay ahead.
Set against the gorgeous background of the lush vineyards of Bordeaux and the money oriented auction rooms of Manhattan, the pace changes easily to suit.
The tempting wines and pungent cheeses of the wine connoisseurs and buyers left me hungry for more and with a thirst for a sequel. All puns are intended!
Summary (taken from Goodreads) : NYPD detective Max Maguire returns to France as bodyguard to a famous American wine critic. Max’s mother is French—so Max is not only bilingual but blessed, or cursed, with disapproving (and devious) French relatives. Max is not just escorting the critic, she’s also keeping an eye on a very expensive bottle of wine whose authenticity is in dispute, a pawn in cut-throat wine wars involving critics, wine collectors, and auction houses. Checked into their Paris hotel, it’s not long before Max discovers her client dead in her room and the bottle stolen from the hotel’s safe. So she has no choice but to team up with examining magistrate Olivier Chaumont, the man she had fallen in love with the year before while solving a murder in Champagne. Olivier’s sidekick, Commissaire Abdel Zeroual joins in. Max has no police role in France but she stays a step ahead of the French investigators using tactics learned back in New York, while Olivier weaves in and out of Bordeaux society where he is certain the murderer lurks. Is this something local, or is there really a counterfeit wine operation in play? Moving back and forth from Bordeaux to Manhattan among vintners, restaurateurs, auctioneers, collectors, the rich, as well as among less privileged players, everyone is propelled towards a shocking climax.
My thoughts: There are many plot twists here and as the reader, you are treated to many possible motives, only then for them to disintegrate and direct you towards another lead. The story is well paced and easy to read, I read this in no time at all. The characters are all interwoven and there are some lovely subplots with Max’s family and Olivier’s sidekick Abdel. I shall be reading the earlier book in the series – Champagne – and will keep my eyes out for a sequel.