Just for fun — especially if you like France — read The Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle. He’s the English expatriate who fell in love with the sunny
South of France about 20 years ago and never returned to chilly, damp England. His first book, A Year in Provence, recounted the perils and joys of buying and renovating an old house in Provence. It met with wide spread approval and launched a writing career for this former advertising executive. Other non-fiction books about Provence followed — all delightful with Mayle’s unbridled enthusiasm for the food, wine, scenery and culture of this region.
As this area’s biggest cheerleader, Mayle turned his efforts to writing fiction based in the South of France. Although not great literary works, they provide a relaxing romp of adventure with beaucoup morsels of French food, wine and lore. The New Yorker magazine says Mayle is a writer of grace and good humor. The Denver Post reviewer wrote of The Marseille Caper, “Oh what a delicious little book this is.”
I whole heartedly agree and was sorry to have it end. This book is the second outing for lovable rouge and sleuth Sam Levitt, who’s always on a quest for excitement and delectable dining. This time he represents a wealthy Marseille resident who’s involved in the development of valuable waterfront property that turns ugly when the competition resorts to intrigue and dastardly means to gain the upper hand, including kidnapping Levitt’s beautiful girl friend Elena. Levitt’s trusty sidekick is once again Marseille journalist Philippe Davin, who provides local color and advice about wine and food while doing his best to expose the unscrupulous developers.
Caper is an appropriate word in the title of this book. It really is a caper, one that’s filled with fun and adventure.