Sharon Mensing's Reviews > The Richebourg Affair

The Richebourg Affair by R.M. Cartmel
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really liked it
bookshelves: tbr-book, mystery, review-copy

I savored THE RICHEBOURG AFFAIR like a good bottle of wine. I opened it up, took a sip to taste it because I couldn't stand waiting, let the rest breathe for a bit, let it swirl around in my head as I started slowly, and then enjoyed every sip thereafter. It took me longer to read this book than usual, just as it takes longer to drink a good wine than it does a table wine, but the time I took with it was very pleasurable. Cartmel has created a mix of mystery and wine information that is full bodied…

OK, enough with the extended metaphor. If you enjoy wine and mysteries, you will enjoy this book. The book is full of information about viticulture, and also about the wine producing area of Nuits-Saint-George in the Burgundy region of France. I didn't have any Burgundy at hand, and certainly no Richebourg, but a glass or two of Pinot Noir while reading the book added to the enjoyment. Aside from the information about modern day winemaking, Cartmel gives the reader something of a history lesson regarding the French resistance during WWII.

At the start of the book, Commandant Charlemagne Truchaud of the Paris police is called to his family's vineyard in Nuits-Saint-George because his brother, manager of the vineyard, has died of an apparent heart attack. When he arrives, he discovers that his father is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, leaving no one to carry on with running the vineyard. As he investigates what happened to an entire batch of Vosne from the Truchaud vineyard, he happens upon a wine merchant's murder. The local police pull him into their investigation of that murder, and questions begin to arise about whether Truchaud's brother was murdered himself. As he gets deeper into the investigation, and into the wine cellars of the merchant, Truchaud uncovers well-hidden secrets, dating back to the French resistance during WWII, that underlie the wine producing community in the area. He keeps his connections to Paris close during the fortnight during which the Burgundian investigation plays out, while bringing the experience he gained in Paris to help in the far more rural setting of this book. In the end, the mystery is solved but there are enough loose ends remaining to provide fodder for the next book in the series.

Cartmel brings the reader to France in THE RICHEBOURG AFFAIR, so that upon finishing the book the reader seems to be returning from a trip to Burgundy. The descriptions of the countryside, the vineyards, and the wine cellars are rich and detailed while adding to the plot. The characters and their motivations make sense, although none are as well drawn as the setting. This is a debut novel in a series of wine mysteries set in Burgundy, and I am looking forward to the next.

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Reading Progress

August 31, 2014 – Shelved
August 31, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
August 31, 2014 – Shelved as: tbr-book
August 31, 2014 – Shelved as: mystery
Started Reading
October 2, 2014 – Finished Reading
October 17, 2015 – Shelved as: review-copy

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