Congac Conspiracies by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen *Giveaway*

Jean-Pierre ALAUX and Noël BALEN

on Tour

February 1-20


Cognac Conspiracies coverCognac Conspiracies

Release date: February 18, 2015
at Le French Book

140 pages

ISBN: 978-1939474322

Website | Goodreads

The descriptions of Cognac, the making of this fine liquor piqued my interest. The lush environs of Samson’s Mill even the details of the Lavoisier property captured my attention.

I found the ending well done, wasn’t sure of the culprit given the scandalous references and harbored secrets of the various characters.

I am a fan of this series, although I did find this particular installment veering off the road. I understand the authors need to not adhere to a formulaic style, however this narrative might have taken edgy too far.

I wasn’t a fan of the implied incestuous relationship between brothers and sister. The sexuality throughout the narrative dominated the mystery aspect serving as a distraction becoming tiresome.

Cooker’s behavior was shocking. His conduct when reunited with his former love seemed so unlike his usual refined persona. He becomes hyper focused on sex and bawdy thoughts commandeer his mind. His mercurial and impatient behavior is brazen sans a diet as the excuse. Cooker just isn’t his usual gentlemanly, well mannered behaved self.

Looking forward to the next in this series with more mystery and less or no sexuality in the narrative with the charming Cooker acting more like the beloved Cooker I adore.



The heirs to one of the oldest Cognac estates in France face a hostile takeover by foreign investors. Renowned wine expert Benjamin Cooker is called in to audit the books. In what he thought was a sleepy provincial town, he is stonewalled, crosses paths with his first love, and stands up to high-level state officials keen on controlling the buyout. Meanwhile, irresistible Virgile mingles with the local population until a drowning changes the stakes. [provided by the publisher]


An episode in a long successful French mysteries series
that is a hit television series now in its fourth season
and attracting an audience of over 4 million.
The series is a huge success in France, Belgium and Switzerland.



The authors of the Winemaker Detective series, are Epicures.
Jean-Pierre Alaux is a magazine, radio and TV journalistimage
when he is not writing novels in southwestern France.
He is the grandson of a winemaker
and exhibits a real passion for wine and wine making.
For him, there is no greater common denominator than wine.
He gets a sparkle in his eye when he talks about the Winemaker Detective,
which he coauthors with Noël Balen.
Noël lives in Paris, where he shares his time between writing,
making records, and lecturing on music.
He plays bass, is a music critic and has authored a number of books
about musicians in addition to his novel and short-story writing.


Translator Sally Pane studied French at State University of New York Oswego and the Sorbonne before receiving her Masters Degree in French Literature from the University of Colorado where she wrote Camus and the Americas: A Thematic Analysis of Three Works Based on His Journaux de Voyage. Her career includes more than twenty years of translating and teaching French and Italian at Berlitz and at Colorado University Boulder. She has worked in scientific, legal and literary translation; her literary translations include Operatic Arias; Singers Edition, and Reality and the Untheorizable by Clément Rosset. She also served as the interpreter for the government cabinet of Rwanda and translated for Dian Fossey’s Digit Fund. In addition to her passion for French, she has studied Italian at Colorado University, in Rome and in Siena. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband.
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You can enter the giveaway here or on the book blogs participating in this tour.
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17 thoughts on “Congac Conspiracies by Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen *Giveaway*

  1. Pingback: France Book Tours stops for Feb 2-8 | France Book Tours

  2. Pingback: Jean-Pierre Alaux and Noël Balen on Tour: Cognac Conspiracies | France Book Tours

  3. Hi. Thanks for your comments and feedback. Oh yes, Cooker wavers–he’s tested but finally does not give in to temptation. It didn’t shock me. Real people are contradictory and surprising. It’s interesting how in the French TV series, the character of Cooker (he’s got a different name in the TV series) comes off a quite complex–sometimes refined, sometimes crass, and well, even bawdy. Maybe those aspects of his character show more in this particular book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t heard of this series. Until now. I’m going to have to catch up.I am looking forward to reading this series. It will be my first mystery regarding wine. Thanks for your revview.
    Caaarol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com


  5. Pingback: Cognac Conspiracies: Tour quotations | France Book Tours

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