Each November, the French Beaujolais winemakers literally roll out their Beaujolais Nouveau in street parties and celebrations throughout France. In November 2015, the Winemaker Detective Series rolled out its new English language edition of Backstabbing in Beaujolais.
“Beaujolais is a lighthearted wine that makes people happy. And what makes people happy is fine with me.”—Benjamin Cooker, the winemaker detective
I was happy to sit down and enjoy Backstabbing in Beaujolais on an otherwise dreary Saturday afternoon. In this novella, our favorite winemaking detective Benjamin Cooker and his assistant Virgile stumble upon murder in the beautiful pink granite terrain of Beaujolais.
Ambitious and stubborn, self-made millionaire Guillaume Périthiard has decided on a second career: to build a Beaujolais empire. After purchasing an old chateau, vineyard, and winery, he hires Cooker & Co. to help him develop the vines and rebuild the winery—in time to produce Beaujolais Nouveau for that year’s Nouveau rollout. After stealing talent from an established Beaujolais vineyard—and a local woman from a local realtor— Périthiard stokes the ire of leading local vineyards.
While Cooker and Virgile search for answers to the resulting murder or two, we get to learn more the important differences in Beaujolais Nouveau, Beaujolais Villages, et Cru Beaujolais, as well as about important marketing concerns in the wine industry—from rapid changes in international tastes to branding for the younger generations.
Anyone with an interest in fine wine, gourmet food, and France will love Alaux and Balen’s Winemaker Detective Series. New to the series? Be sure to read my review of the first three novellas, published together in December 2015 as the Winemaker Detective Omnibus.
Wine Pairing: This book paired well with Bodegas y Vinedos O. Fournier’s Urban Uco Malbec 2014, but psychologically a Beaujolais wine would have been preferable.
Backstabbing in Beaujolais
by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balen
Translated by Sally Pane
Available in e-book, paper, and hardcover formats
Paper Edition: Nov. 2015
New York: Le French Book, Inc.
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I RECEIVED Backstabbing in Beaujolais FROM NETGALLEY FREE OF COST IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. I WAS NOT PAID FOR MY OPINION. ALL OF MY OPINIONS ARE MINE AND MINE ALONE.