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Monday, June 6, 2011

Interview with William S. Shepard of the Diplomatic Mysteries

William S. Shepard is a former career American diplomat who is at home in the world of embassies and diplomacy, and wants the reader to be too. He is also Wine Editor for French Wine Explorers  and hopes you will enjoy learning more about superb wines as you read Vintage Murder.

And, yes, that is William on the cover of his books. Doesn't he look like James Bond?

Welcome, William.

Tell us about your diplomatic mystery series.

The first in the Robbie Cutler diplomatic mystery series, Vintage Murder, is now published as a Kindle Ebook . The story is set in Bordeaux and Paris, France. Robbie is a thirty something career American Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State. He has always been interested in crime solving, and he loves good wine. You get a full measure of both in Vintage Murder, including insider tours of the Bordeaux wine country, topped with receptions at Château Margaux, and the American Embassy in Paris.

In Vintage Murder, the Basque terrorist ETA organization is blackmailing the great Bordeaux vineyard owners. One of the victims calls on Robbie, who is Acting Consul General at the American Consulate General in Bordeaux. The blackmailer’s voice sounded like an American! Robbie goes through the visa files, and locates a possible suspect. Since Robbie is already working with the French police and their FBI equivalent to share information on terrorism, cooperation to solve this crime is a logical next step, particularly when Ambassador Adams in Paris gives his approval.

He has an enthusiastic helper in Sylvie Marceau, a French newspaper reporter. Together they explore the great vineyards of Bordeaux, and as the series develops, their detection team becomes a memorable love story. You won’t be surprised when Sylvie solves an attempted murder that had baffled Robbie!

What an exciting (and delicious) world to occupy, even if only for the length of a book.

You have another book which I like to think of as Encyclopedia Brown for adults.

In my eBook “Coffee Break Mysteries”, the reader is the sleuth. Twenty short mysteries are set forth, with the solutions following each story. Each mystery is just long enough to enliven your coffee break. To begin with, we have “The Plot To Poison George Washington.” It was in late 1776 and the revolutionary cause was desperate. Some traitor tried to poison the General – but fortunately the plot was discovered in time. Perhaps you will solve the mystery, for the court martial was never held!

Or … perhaps you will prefer “The Geneva Summit Goldfish Mystery,” featuring President Ronald Reagan in an actual event that took place during a Geneva Summit with the Russians!

These short stories are not as easy to solve as you might think. Why not give them a try?

I did want to point out, with all the talk about branding, that I love the way William consistantly depicts that chic, almost James Bondish, political world on his covers. And fine wines seems a natural extension of this environment.

You can also visit William on his web page , where you can get great info on French wines as well as his mysteries. Finally, if you want fact and not fiction, William has written Diplomatic Tales, a memoir about his time in the diplomatic service.  The second half of the book includes fictional tales.

Thank you, William!


  1. Appreciate it. My daughter drove to Maryland from Philadelphia to join us for luncheon. Lots of nieces, nephews, granddaughters and friends on Facebook sending messages too! A nice day.