Requiem in Yquem out today


A New Winemaker Detective Mystery

The intricate taste of greed and remorse

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 push investigators to look deeper, while Virgile rekindles memories of his days at school and questions the meaning of his life. 

Praise for the series

“Magnificent series. Beautifully written. Fascinating characters. Intriguing story lines. Most entertaining reading I've done in many years. And, a bit educational as well.  Reminded me of the Colin Dexter books and TV series about CDI Endeavor Morse.”

“If you love to read cozies, enjoy learning about different locales and wines and intriguing sleuths then you need to check out this mystery series.”

"The series will have wide appeal within the British and American mystery-reading market, and particularly for those who enjoy a bit of armchair travel and descriptions of great French food and wine." 

Each book is an adventure...

 Jean-Pierre Alaux

Jean-Pierre Alaux

As we prepare for the upcoming release of the new Winemaker Detective mystery, Requiem in Yquem, we talked to the authors Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen.

In France, there are twenty-six books in the series so far (12 published to date in the U.S.), as the series grows and evolves, do you find it easier or more difficult to fall into the story and discover new and exciting plots?

 Noël Balen

Noël Balen

Each book is an adventure in and of itself. It is hard to describe the process in terms of ease or difficulty. It is true that our characters are more familiar to us, and their personalities more present, and even more complex. At the same time, each plot requires us to explore a whole new lay of the land, which in the case of this series begins with the wine region where the story takes place. It is important that we invent new stories and new approaches, that we continue to find original ideas.

You have written together now for many years, as well as writing separately. Who does what in the partnership? What are the advantages?

Yes, it's been fifteen years now that we have written together, and both of us have our own approaches. Jean-Pierre also works as a reporter, and spends a lot of time out in the vineyards, tasting, and meeting people involved in winemaking, for whom it is a passion. Noël is good at refining the story, and the two of us together have learned what their respective qualities are, and where their weak spots lie. Working together in this way, striving for high standards, we advance without looking back, knowing that the world of winemaking has a wealth of stories to be told.

The series has been adapted to television. In the U.S., it's rare for an author to be allowed much input on the screenplay or casting. How has this experience been?

It's not that different in France. Here, the series has met with great success thanks in part to the actor, Pierre Arditi, who plays the main character, and to the producers, and they work closely together to make it what it is. We are not involved in the screenplay or the casting, which is frustrating, but the laws of TV are not those of literature. We learned this as we went along.

If you could only drink one wine for the rest of your life, which would it be?

It would have to be a Cahors wine. Wines from that region have improved so much in recent years. Jean-Pierre also admits a weakness for wines from Saint-Emilion. And a Château Angélus would be a bottle to take through the pearly gates.

You both have considerable outside interests, for Noël, music among other things, for Jean-Pierre, the sea. Do these inspire your mysteries?

Our mysteries are inspired primarily by the wines, wine regions, and winemakers that each book focuses on, but our other interests inevitably get woven into the stories, either in the form of details or more on the level of sensibilities, what a character will be attentive to or how a place will be described.

Pre-orders the new Winemaker Detective mystery with bonuses!

 The new Winemaker Detective mystery will whisk you away to Sauternes.

The new Winemaker Detective mystery will whisk you away to Sauternes.

In another satisfying wine novel with a French flair, authors Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen give readers a perfectly intoxicating combination of French wine, gourmet meals, and mystery in the gloriously described Sauternes wine region with all the scenery, scents, and sounds of France.

Requiem in Yquem comes out on September 12.  

We’ve put together some amazing things you get if you pre-order the book before September 12. Buy any format and you’ll get immediate access to:

  • Bittersweet Delights: The lowdown on Bordeaux’s famous canelés, with a recipe and tricks for getting them right.
  • Liquid Gold, a booklet with inside information about Sauternes wine and pictures from Château d’Yquem
  • An extended excerpt, so you can start reading now.

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