At first Benjamin and Elizabeth Cooker are excited about being invited to accompany Claude Nithard, his publisher. and Claude's girlfriend on a trip to Hungry. Even before they leave, things go awry. Alexandrine, Benjamin's lab assistant, is attacked and badly injured. Benjamin hates to leave her, but Elizabeth convinces him to let Virgile, his assistant, handle it.
Benjamin agrees to go to please Elizabeth and because he wants to taste the wines from the Tokay region. However, things become more difficult when Claude arrives with a much younger woman. Consuela is more interested in shopping than wine tasting and not a good match for the Cookers.
Even the cruise on the Danube is not as romantic as envisioned, but Benjamin tries not to be discouraged. His main objective is to taste the Tokay wines.
This addition to the Winemaker series has several positives. Alexandrine and Elizabeth play larger roles in this novel. I particularly enjoyed seeing Elizabeth come out of the kitchen and take charge. As usual the food, wine, and scenery are beautifully described. In spite of the difficulties, a cruise on the Danube sounds like a great adventure and the descriptions of Budapest were fantastic.
However, this is still not a serious mystery. The book moves slowly through the Cooker's travels. The action begins about halfway through the book and concludes very quickly. As usual, Benjamin doesn't do much traditional detecting. Explanations seem to fall into his lap.
If you want a fast paced detective story, this is not for you, but if you enjoy fine wine, delicious food, and exotic settings, you'll love this book.
I received this book from Le French Book for this review.