The Richebourg Affair
A Commander Truchaud Mystery by R. M. Cartmel
Review: La Police Nationale Commander Charlemagne Truchaud — who, being christened after a Grand Cru wine, prefers, understandably, to be known simply as Truchaud — travels to his home town of Nuits-Saint-Georges following the death of his older brother Bertin, both to pay his respects but also to take some time off from police work, in The Richebourg Affair, the first mystery in this proposed trilogy set in France's wine country by R. M. Cartmel.
Bertin had been groomed to take over the family vineyards and wine business from their father, who lives on the estate and is still active though getting on in years. Bertin's son, Bruno, though only twelve, has already taken an active interest and will presumably take over when he's older. In the meantime, the village residents wonder with Bertin's death if Truchaud will assume the day-to-day management of the business, if only temporarily. He assures them he has no interest in doing so but recognizes the need to have someone in charge. His father seems increasingly confused and Bruno is too young. While reacquainting himself with the village, he stumbles upon a murder scene, that of a merchant who had been shot at close range in the head. The local police insist that they do not need the help of a Paris policeman to solve the crime, but it's soon becomes clear that the merchant's murder may have something to do with Truchaud's father's death.
The Richebourg Affair is a very complex mystery with many elements and much depth. Probably not unlike the description of a fine Burgundy wine. Not only is the basic murder mystery plot complex, but so too is all the nomenclature and legalese that accompanies growing grapes and making wine in France. Readers familiar with the latter may breeze right through the book, but it's likely most will stumble around a bit before getting their footing (indeed, if they ever do). Still, this is an entertaining read, primarily due to the gorgeously depicted Burgundy region of France and to the engaging character of Truchaud, both an outsider and an insider to the events of the village, who recognizes that something is amiss and sets out to discover what it is. Overall, a strong start to this trilogy of wine-themed mysteries set in France.
Acknowledgment: Maryglenn McCombs Book Publicity provided a copy of The Richebourg Affair for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Richebourg Affair: Burgundy, France
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The Richebourg Affair by R. M. Cartmel — A Commander Truchaud Mystery
Publisher: Crime Scene Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 2014
List Price: $13.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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