A book of “who done it” in France’s Burgundy region of Nuits-Saint-Georges… It is the first in a series of two novels of “Not all is at it seems in the peaceful vineyards of Burgundy…”

  1. The Richebourg Affair ~ R.M. Cartmel’s first mystery novel
  2. The Charlemagne Connection ~ R.M. Cartmel’s second mystery novel

I flip flopped them, deliberately. I was taken with the The Charlemagne Connection’s name, since I’ve traced myself back to the following lineage:

  • Direct descendant of Charlemagne, including his first born Pepin the Short
    • Pepin born from Charlemagne’s first wife, and heir to the throne
  • This genealogy led to Kings of Scot
  • Which lead to the Reverend William Blackstone, who was the first Anglo inhabitant of Boston
    • Blackstone’s granddaughter Patience married Josiah Clarke
      • Josiah rescued Patience from kidnapping Natives
      • Married him a couple of years later to become Patience Blackstone Clarke
    • Jump six generations to David Clarke, who was on the Beaches of Normandy during WW II
      • Coincidentally, a David Clark – no relation -is from Domaine David Clark checked for viticulture facts
      • The location is set in Burgundy, where my father was sent
      • Returned home and nine months later I was boomer born Jo Clarke

For me,  it worked. While I didn’t completely understand some things in The Charlemagne Connection, it put that and even more into perfect context in The Richebourg Affair. R.M.’s character list was more simple in his first novel, so getting acquainted wasn’t necessary. And, as the book left some unanswered questions, they had been solved in The Charlemagne Connection

Both books are very captivating in their developments. The bonus is that being set in Burgundy’s Nuits-Saint-Georges, there’s a lot of sharing of vineyard, winemaking, and wine marketing secrets revealed, amid the sinister plotting in this charming little town. Commandant Truchaud is the main character in both books, Truchaud is a bit like our American version of Columbo. Based in Paris and dealing with major villains, he’s summoned home (set in Burgundy), upon the death of his brother. He also discovers theft and murder in this tiny village… and off it goes. Since this is a trilogy, I’m now really anxiously waiting for the third book, to see if “he gets the girl.”

The page corner folded down moment ~ p. 85-86

The conversation resumed as if it had never been interrupted. ‘Do you really think they’d steal stuff?’ Truchaud asked?

‘Oh come on. The only way to stop people stealing stuff is to give them enough money so that it doesn’t hurt to buy it. I suppose it’s partly our fault for pricing the good wine the way that we do, but why make it cheap when fat cats are very willing to pay loads for it? I would even go so far as to think the fat cats wouldn’t buy ours if it were cheap. There would be no exclusivity. That’s what they are really paying for, you know; a label to when the plebs don’t have access.’

Yes, I’ve had to advise winery owners about this one. Exclusivity is a funny thing.

If you love wine, intrigue, a bit of wine education in the process, and great writing, R.M. Cartmel gives you plenty to love and books that you don’t want to see end…. alas alack…

Still, there’s one more to go, so maybe that will change soon. I’m thinking happy thoughts until then.