“I absolutely love the Winemaker Detective Series so much that I came out of semi-retirement on the tour circuit to review and promote this, the fifth installment in the series. One of the biggest reasons why I enjoy this series is that authors, Alaux and Balen, have created a hero, Benjamin Cooker, who is, besides being an unwilling detective, correspondingly an ‘internationally respected wine expert’ and a master at literary quotes. Cooker is also a genuinely normal and unassuming man. He accepts his accolades as a matter of course but never demands adulation.
In the same off-hand, and very French, manner, Alaux and Balen entice and entertain the reader with edible delicacies, superb cigars, and vintage wines, offered with a backdrop of some of France’s most beautiful vineyards and countrysides. The vision of rain-swept gardens and cemeteries is enough to make the most intrepid traveler rush right out to purchase a ticket to France, bypassing the Eiffel Tower and heading straight to the quaint, but luxuriant, eateries and inns.
In Cognac Conspiracies, Cooker takes a slight backseat to his trusty, and very virile assistant, Virgile, in solving the mystery of who murdered one of the Cognac heirs. Cooker is busy reacquainting himself with his sexy, redheaded college flame who has secrets of her own. As usual though, Cooker eventually hands the murderer, signed, sealed and delivered, to the local constables and makes his weary way home in his trusty Mercedes 280 SL.” —Mommasez