Fiction Review: Le French Book – “Grand Cru Heist”


Student of Opinions is off hiatus! I have greatly missed getting to read and review, and am eagerly looking forward to burying myself under stacks of new titles.

I have the latest Winemaker Detective Series title coming up, and so I will be doing quick highlight reviews of the works that have been translated since my review of the first book. I love this series!

I will also be highlighting some works I read over the last year. As always, I welcome recommendations as I move forward!

Now –

Winemaker Detective Series #2: Grand Cru Heist

Admittedly, it has been a while since my reading of Treachery in Bordeaux, but I was able to get right back into the world of Benjamin Cooker from the first page of Grand Cru Heist. I love books and authors that accomplish that, since the reality is there is always down-time between when works in a series publish.

The first book was more about introducing Cooker, explaining his business, meeting his family. Grand Cru Heist takes the next step, delving deeper into what makes him tick, and showing us how he got to where he is as an esteemed winemaker and reviewer. I really enjoyed learning more about the character in this way – reintroducing him for the new readers without rehashing everything previous readers already have covered. No words or page space wasted – always moving forward in the story. Authors aspiring to the next level in their writing would do well to learn this, especially from such a well done example.

 Do not read this book while hungry! The detailed walk through so many wines, foods, and pairings left my stomach growling. I feel as though I should have been sitting with a notebook and map, marking what to eat and drink when visiting the places named. Treachery in Bordeaux focused on the process of making the wine, Grand Cru Heist brings us into the act of savoring it.

All of this was framed in a light who-dun-it that was fun to puzzle out. The ending reveal was terrific in tying everything that had happened together, and still bringing some surprises into play.

As with my previous review, I really enjoyed the chance to look into the French mindset from a French perspective. Grand Cru Heist was interesting in that regard especially, as we get to see the thoughts and interactions when dealing with non-French characters. It’s a potent reminder that the world is a bigger place than we often give it credit for, and learning to understand our neighbors is often best started over a great meal.

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