Big Thrill: Translating the Winemaker Detective Series

Wine, mystery and France

In this month's issue of Big Thrill, Anne Trager answers Kay Kendall's questions (listed below) about translating the Winemaker Detective series. Go here to read the answers.


  • Each book in the Winemaker Detective series is not only a mystery but an homage to wine and the art of making it. Has the series’ growing number of international readers begun to influence the mysteries’ plots?
  • Do Alaux and Balen themselves read English well? If so, do they ever quibble with your translations in any detail?
  • As the translator of the Winemaker Detective series, you are responsible for bringing these mysteries successfully across the Atlantic to American readers. What are the challenges you have faced in bridging the two cultures in your translations?
  • You are an American by birth but have chosen to live in France for more than two decades. How has that influenced your choice of books to introduce to the United States?
  • Is there a difference in how American and French readers respond to these mysteries? Do different aspects of the novels appeal to one culture more than another?
  • Benjamin Cooker is the winemaker turned sleuth and his assistant is Virgile Lanssien. How would you characterize each of them and what is their working relationship like?
  • You have described this series as cozy. How do you balance the need for drama with the need to keep the plots on the far side of gory?

The Winemaker Detective Series