Bloggers are calling this series "an obsession".
A small town holds fiercely on to its secrets. In the heart of Gascony, a fire ravages the warehouse of one of Armagnac's top estates, killing the master distiller. Wine expert Benjamin Cooker is called in to estimate the value of the losses. But Cooker and his assistant, Virgile, want to know more. How did the old alembic explode? Was it really an accident? Why is the estate owner, Baron de Castayrac, penniless? How legal are his dealings?
The deeper the winemaker detective digs, the more suspicious characters he uncovers. There is more than one disgruntled inhabitant in this small town. As we witness the time-honored process of Armagnac distillation and the day-to-day activities of the hunt, the marketplace, and the struggle for power and duck confit, we get a glimpse of the traditions of Southwestern France, where this mystery of possible arson and murder lies below the surface.
©2004 Librairie Arthème Fayard, English translation copyright 2015 Sally Pane (P)2015 Audible, Inc.