Fiction Review: Le French Book – “Mayhem in Margaux”

Winemaker Detective #6

“The slow pace, odd characters, and provincial rhythm spoke to her more than American hard-boiled fiction with their bursts of gunfire, bloody pursuits, and plot twists on every page…too many were formulaic, as far as she was concerned.”

This quote explains EXACTLY why I like this series so much. I love mystery stories, but it is true that here in the American mainstream you see a formula employed again and again. Writers use it because it works, but then you train your reader/viewer to expect the surprise, which dulls the reveal just a touch. With these works, I’ve NEVER been able to predict what’s going to be on the next page. The only surety I have about any of the series is that it will be a sumptuous, sensual experience of food and wine and story.

Mayhem in Margaux gives us the human, fatherly side of Cooker. We get to see his family life and interactions. This was nice because up until now, Elizabeth has been a character almost only in name. We’ve seen glimpses of her in the hall, heard Cooker laud her as his wife, but now we get to meet the lady herself. I loved the family dynamic between Cooker, Elizabeth, and Margaux. There was no pretense on the part of the authors, it wasn’t stilted in the slightest. A true portrait of family life, which I greatly enjoyed.

The mystery this time is straightforward in the who, what, and why when we get to the reveal, but in the meantime, we really get drawn into the frustrations of the winegrowers, the heat and fatigue that can wreak havoc on their crop, so we can understand why the culprit did what he did.

I eagerly await the translation of the next in the series!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley.


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