The Richebourg Affair
Crime Scene Books, Sep 2 2014, $13.95
Just last night in Paris, La Police Nationale Commandant Truchaud and his staff celebrated the capture of the Fox. However, the next day, Madame Albrand calls Truchaud to inform him his brother Bertin died in his sleep. Stunned Truchaud heads home to Nuits-Saint-Georges in Burgundy to attend the funeral and be there for his family; something he failed at after drifting apart when his older sibling became the fils in Domaine Truchaud Pere et Fils.
However, his welcome home as the prodigal son from family members (widower Dad, twelve years old nephew Bruno and sister-in-law Michelle) and neighbors leads the cop to wonder what besides grief has everyone on edge. As he learns more about the village and his family, Truchaud begins to ponder who had motive to kill Bertin, what is buried in the wine cellar and whether a rumored scandal will destroy the reputation of Domaine Truchaud Pere et Fils.
The first Commandant Truchaud investigation is an entertaining wine mystery with a deep look at the region, the villagers and especially the industry. The storyline starts leisurely as we meet the cast and tour the locale with part of the fascination focused on the fish out of water in spite of growing up there; as Truchaud epitomizes Andrew Bird’s lyrics: “How ya gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree”. Once relationships are established, the plot accelerates into a strong drama with the protagonist realizing vino veritas most likely means the destruction of his family.