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71
3.9 out of 5 stars
The Vintage Caper
Format: Kindle EditionChange
Price:£4.49
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on 26 August 2010
" The Vintage Caper" is a delightful entertainment turned out with Peter Mayle's customary charm and competence (and some technical guidance from Anthony Barton, Hiberno-French scion of Chateau Leoville Barton), but no more than that.

Sam Levitt is a bon vivant poacher-turned-gamekeeper hired by a gorgeous insurance investigator to track down a massively valuable collection of vintage Bordeaux wines snatched from an obnoxious Hollywood lawyer's trophy cellar. He follows the trail to Marseilles and manages to solve his dilemma of having to recover the wine without landing the thieves - for whom he develops considerable affinity - in too much trouble in a creative way. Naturally, he encounters all sorts of charming French characters en route, at least one of them female, and finds time to partake of fine cuisine and superior wine and to get fitted for custom shirts at Charvet in Paris. Sam, despite being American, sounds in other words just like Peter Mayle.

The plotting is undemanding and the whole thing is infinitely forgettable once read. But if one is in the mood for an easy but reasonably intelligent and cheerful read, "The Vintage Caper" is just the thing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2013
I really enjoyed this book and forced myself to read it slowly to avoid getting to the end.
The characters were likeable and, as always, Peter Mayle's descriptions are spot on. I was there in France! A light read but no less enjoyable for that. As soon as I finished it I ordered his next book.
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on 19 February 2015
(I found it unavoidable to do so, so please take on board - Spoiler Alert - this review covers at least the basics of the tale including its ending)

I finished this in a day, and scratched my head after reading the last word. It is bright and breezy all through and a little light; usually I have no problem with either, but this is so light there's bits missing!

The tale concerns the insurance investigation that follows the theft of a wine collection worth well over 2 million dollars US. The trouble is, the investigator, former crook Sam Levitt, simply has it all too easy. After a little trouble finding suspects, he then has a breakthrough, and then, very mystifyingly in my opinion, simply breezes through the tale. Everything he tries whether legal, dodgy or illegal, works. No one pops up to say 'Welcome to my home, Mr Levitt, I've been expecting you'; no terrible bad luck, no terrible mistakes, no supporting cast either killed or maimed - not that I want that as such, but its total absence to any degree (not even a broken leg or a sore head) is simply not good enough.

To make matters worse, there's no actual wrapping up at the end, especially with regard to whether we have one major player, or two or more across continents. Again - simply not good enough.

I have no idea on Mr Mayle's back catalogue, nor his future writing plans. Am I going to find out based upon this book? Nope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2011
Starts off well. I read the free Kindle sample and thought "I'll have this". But it quickly runs out of steam. The plot is thin and, unlike previous Mayle novels, the characters are not in any way interesting or charming. The ending is hurried and ill-thought out and the twist on the final page really makes no sense at all. I found myself struggling to finish it and have deleted it from my Kindle as I'm sure I won't ever be reading it again. Such a shame as I have really enjoyed Peter Mayle's earlier novels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2013
Interesting international wine theft plot set largely in southern France with Peter Mayle's well crafted descriptions of the country & characterisations of its inhabitants.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2013
I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I have only read one Peter Mayle
Le prior to this and it did not set off any fireworks. This was a well crafted piece of writing that held one's attention till the very last page. I would thoroughly recommend it ... especially if you enjoy a decent glass of Lafite!
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on 4 May 2014
Obvious yes, simplistic yes, full of holes in the subterfuge yes, but huge fun! I liked this book for its page turning deliciousness. As other reviewers have written, this doesn't tax the brain but what it does do is put you in the middle of real France and its love to the good life. Fine wines (which if you look on the net you can't afford, at least I can't, unless you're at least a millionaire), sunshine, the ambience of lovely places to eat and drink, the smell of garlic and cheese; it has it all. You could be there, and if you're like me, would love to be. I read it in a few hours and have ordered the Marseille Caper which I believe is the follow up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 July 2013
I wasn't expecting a literary masterpiece but as I progressed I was hoping there would be a sting in the tale as it all seemed so obvious otherwise - there wasn't; thankfully it only cost £2.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2010
I have read and enjoyed all his books until now but this one is OK but just. Only just over 200 pages and it seems he got bored with the plot!
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on 15 July 2013
Oh dear, I fear Peter Mayle's writing talent has dried up. Or did no one edit this short story disguised as a novel? No character depth, no feel for the venues, no plot building, just a quick dash through improbable circumstances. I shall not be buying any more Peter Mayle books. Such a shame after his Provence series which were well written and a pleasure to read. Thank goodness I bought it on Kindle, I can throw it off and forget it: were it a book it'd be in the charity shop by now....
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