A good murder mystery, of course, is like a jigsaw puzzle. Bit by bit, the reader--along with the detective--puts the pieces together and a picture begins to emerge. Ms. Hubbard gives us a very enjoyable puzzle here, and it is great fun considering the clues and figuring out "who dunnit." I liked the characters too. I'm a murder mystery buff, and it's always interesting to think about the elements that make some stand out. Nick and Nora Charles in the film adaptation of Dashiell Hammet's Thin Man, for instance, give the viewers some snappy dialogue, and their personalities are essential to the story. So, too, the romance between the intelligent and beautiful NYPD cop Maxine Maguire and suave French aristocrat Olivier Chaumont gives zest to Champagne. Add the author's intimate knowledge of the Vallee de la Marne in the wine country of France--the geography, history, foods, wines, the people themselves--and you have a few hours of great entertainment ahead of you! Bon appetit!
There is never a dull moment in this first novel by Janet Hubbard. It feels like an exhilarating romp, despite the fact that it is a murder mystery! Yes, murder and mayhem among an elite French family; I found myself looking forward to each page as I came to know the different characters in this clever, and sophisticated "who dun it". The central figure, a feisty, spirited young American woman named Max, reminds me of the Nancy Drew of yesteryear; a detective in her own right, she is independent, outspoken and quite bold. At the same time, these traits do not belie her femininity. It is easy to see why Olivier, the handsome French official in charge, is so perplexed by his fascination with her. Along with Max and Olivier, is a whole host of characters, and anyone of them could be the guilty party, but which one? The author keeps you guessing through the entire plot.
Ms. Hubbard's knowledge of and enthusiasm for the Champagne region of France and its' nuances, adds icing to the cake. The descriptions of the various champagnes will have you perusing your local wine merchant, and wanting to be just a little bit French! All in all, Champagne, the Farewell, left me wondering what Max will be up to next...and what about Olivier? A good yarn should keep you wondering.......
Mon Dieu!......a really captivating read. Couldn't wait to get into bed at night with my bottle of L'Etoile ('96 I think) and delve into this little gem of a mystery. The scent of the Souvenir de la Malmaison roses next to my bed made this mystery come even more alive than ever! The author does a great job of holding your interest. She throws in all kinds of juicy little details (the food descriptions are heavenly) that make the story fascinating, fun and unique. The characters come alive on the page and the mystery twists, turns and deepens as you read.......hard to put down and go to sleep! Bon nuit!
A great read with suspense, action and a setting in France that makes you want to open up a bottle of the bubbly just to get into the spirit. Ms. Hubbard has managed to create characters with dimension entangled in an intoxicating but plausible tale of murder and revenge, exactly what the readers of mysteries long for. One of a series, I anxiously await the next and the next...
This book has a little bit of everything: murder, intrigue, revenge, well painted descriptions of the French Champagne region, and a satisfying conclusion. I found myself trying to solve the crime throughout the book, and it was only at the very end that all the pieces fell in to place. What more can one ask for in a murder/mystery novel?! This is the first published novel by Janet Hubbard, and an impressive debut. I look forward to reading more of her work and, hopefully, further exploits of Max, an extremely like-able protagonist.
Hubbard has written a terrific mystery. And her sense of the French vineyard-owning class, its behaviors and beliefs, its practices and foibles, is impeccable. Max is a true "character". Can't wait for her next.