“Reading Deadly Tasting reminded me of why I fell in love with mysteries in the first place. It’s cozy but not hokey, and at no point did I feel as though I were being written down to. There wasn’t a single eye-rolling moment in the book. Hallelujah! I hate when I’m reading something contrived, and this felt genuine to me. Each character has a unique voice, which, apparently is a difficult task to master. How many books have I read in which every character sounds the same as another? Too many to count. In Deadly Tasting, every character has its own flare. What a gem.
I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a series in a long time, but now that I’ve read Deadly Tasting, book number four in the Winemaker Detective series, I’m hooked, and I’m looking forward to getting and reading the first three with delight. This particular mystery takes place in France, and our amateur detective, Benjamin Cooker, is apparently an English winemaker of worldwide renown. I’m not sure how he ended up in France, but I’ll probably find out when I read from the beginning of the series. At any rate, Cooker is witty, intelligent, and refined, but humble, likable, and sincere. He’s anything but the stuffy pedant one might expect in a wine connoisseur. He’s “the winemaker par excellence” who also happens to be incredibly human and humane.
In Deadly Tasting, Cooker is challenged with the task of determining the type and vintage of the wine that’s being left behind as the calling card of a serial killer. He oversteps his boundaries a bit and soon finds in himself awash in the history of the Bordeaux region and learns of the unsavory goings on in the lives of French Nazi-collaborators during World War II. I love mysteries; I love histories; I study in the Holocaust in particular; there’s no way this book wasn’t going to be a huge hit with me. Reading the novel spurred me to research a historical figure alluded to in the book: Aristedes de Sousa Mendes, Portuguese Consul-General in Bordeaux who defied orders and issued visas to thousands of Jews, thereby saving thousands of lives. Now honored at Yad Vashem’s Righteous Among the Nations, alongside others including Oskar Schindler and Irena Sendler, a link to de Sousa’s page is here: http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/stories/mendes.asp
Truly, I think I may have found my favorite new mystery series.
The only caveat I have is to anyone offended by profanity. The book does include a few instances. My sincere thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Le French book for a digital review copy, the receipt of which in no way influenced my review; this enthusiasm is all my own!” —Les Thompson, Educator, 5-star Netgalley review