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Bordeaux: The Bitter Finish by Janet Hubbard

Bordeaux: The Bitter Finish

by Janet Hubbard

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Vintages and Murder! A great combination.

Travelling from New York to Bordeaux as a bodyguard for the famous wine critic and friend of her mother's Ellen Jordan, Max Maguire is not expecting her charge to be dead before the trip has barely started. The searing question, apart from the guilt Max feels is, did Ellen die of asphyxiation or was she murdered?
Max has a french mother. Her father is a New York detective.
Max is also a detective, although she's supposed to be chilling out whilst the controversy over her latest antics, caught on video, die down.
France has further problems for Max.
There's the fact that her mother and consequently Max have been estranged from their French relations for many years. Only now is that fence being mended. Max does make contact with her grandmother, but her uncle, the Minister of Justice Philippe Douvier, is somewhat unnerved by this contact.
Maybe more tellingly, there's the renewal of her acquaintance with the investigating magistrate, Olivier Chaumont, whom she just happened to have an affair with last time she was in Bordeaux.
So we have a murder and wines that are being re bottled and passed off as highly expensive vintages by an international counterfeiting ring and a stalled love affair. The counterfeiting problem is exacerbated by the fact that of none of the high flying vintners wants to admit this is occurring as this could negatively affect the wine sales of the region.
The descriptions of the various wines, their bouquet and taste, are intriguing.
There are interesting sidebars where Hubbard contrasts the traditional family life and approaches to life in general of the French over and against the more brash Americans.
A story well played!

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Apr 9, 2014 |
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"Thirty-year-old Max Maguire, detective with the NYPD, finds herself in France again as she is sent as a bodyguard to one of America's most famous wine critics, who is traveling to Bordeaux, France to taste some of the most expensive wines in the world. In the tragic circumstances that follow, Max is paired once again with French examining magistrate, Olivier Chaumont, with whom she had had a fling the year before while solving a case in Champagne. In the bi-cultural duo's pursuit of a murderer on the loose, they run headlong into a counterfeit operation that has them entering the fabulous chateaux on one side of the Atlantic, and extraordinary New York apartments, wine clubs, and auction houses on the other side as they desperately try to prevent more violence. Max and Olivier, sip fine wines and dine in fabulous restaurants as they interrogate both French and Americans, the majority of whom comprise the one percent. Readers will want to know: Will Max unite at last with her French family? Will she and Olivier heat up the night again? Will they, considering their cultural and personality differences, be able to solve the crime without wanting to kill each other?" --… (more)

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