23.7.14

BORDEAUX: THE BITTER FINISH, by Janet Hubbard

2/series. For wine, travel, or France enthusiasts, it would be hard to find a more entrancing book. Hubbard obviously knows her stuff insofar as wine and the wine trade, food from everyday to the hautest of cuisines, the French, Bordeaux and its fabulous environs, are concerned. Max Maguire of the NYPD whose French mother and New York cop father have given her a conflicted veiw of the world, returns to France as bodyguard. Almost at once, her client shows up dead, poisoned by a fine French blue cheese. Olivier Chaumont, the juge de instruction (a kind of magistrate, perhaps?) and Max's love interest lives in the area, and once again the one-of-these-days lovers are on the complicated trail of murder, wine forgery, and a host of other forms of skulduggery. No contest, Hubbard knows the millieu. And she ought to know her writing, seeing as she teaches it. And Poisoned Pen Press, her publisher, is well respected. Why, then, is the book riddled with typos, abducted words, overly-complicated plots, so many characters you need an address book to keep track of them, choppy conversation, and the last quarter of the book so chock full of plain old proofreading errors it looks like a newbie self-published work? I had the same reaction to the first book, hoped it would be fixed in the second, but it appears the plague is spreading. It's a 3, you might give it more (Linda Fairstein did), but there's too much wrong with it. But...if you love France and wine, it can't be beat.
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