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The Marseille Caper
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on 17 July 2013
I hadn't read any of Peter Mayle's books before so was interested to try this novel. I rather expected something possibly gritty, hopefully tense perhaps with maybe a few nail-biting episodes and a rousing finale. What I found was a nice tale of nice people who wore nice clothes (which were described in detail), went to nice restaurants run by nice people and ate nice food (described in exhaustive detail) and were very nice to each other. They travelled nicely to France and other nice places which were - yes - described in detail. There was a mild caper which was the rather wobbly peg on which the story hung. There were also villains, a semi-comic self-made cockney with big money, his two comic thugs (on the lines of Shakespeare's comic incompetents) and an oily Frenchman.
By half way through I was wondering what was going on. All this niceness must surely lead to a counterbalancing vicious horridness but no. The baddies got their comeuppance quite nicely and everyone finished nicely happily.
Following the above you might expect me to give this very few stars but, actually, it is well written and carries you on from page to page in a dreamy waft of niceness. So losing just one star because it is not a caper except in the sense of prancing around on some nice grass, in the sun, with a couple of friends and several glasses of fine wine (described in detail, of course). But no more Mayle for me.
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on 17 July 2013
Holiday reading par excellence in that you don't need to concentrate or exercise more than about 10% of your brain. All the women are beautiful, strong and powerful; all the restaurants are superb; all the men shoot the cuffs of their Italian silk suits at every opportunity; and everyone seems to spend every minute either dunking croissants into their cafe au lait or sipping on Crystal champagne! The story line is thin. The character barely reach two dimensions, let alone three. However, after reading The Marseille Caper I do have a strong desire to visit the city and sample some of its food and wine.
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on 19 July 2013
I normally love Peter Mayle, but this book is very disappointing. The characters are not believable, having no credible background. The plotting is very lazy and predictable, even in its unbelievability. There are far too many references to food, I'm amazed that the women in it (with one exception slim and beautiful) haven't put on a stone over the course of the week covered by the plot. I hesitate to mention the stereotyping but really! Does Peter have a nanny complex? It's the only reason to introduce Perkins. Sorry, I've gone on too much....it's not good, but if you're looking for an easy read by the pool then you might be OK with it. I think Peter Mayle should stick to non fiction, he's much better at that.
2 people found this helpful
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on 28 July 2013
Having enjoyed the film of Mayle's 'A Good Year', I hoped I'd found a new author to enjoy. Sadly, this - my first foray - just didn't live up to the sheer fun of my expectations. A light read, but nothing more. Another reviewer commented on the 'interminable waffle about food and drink' - having ploughed through the first detailed recipe, I've decided it's just not worth plodding on. Even if the plot improves, I can see how off-putting the foodie side of things is going to be.
One person found this helpful
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on 28 July 2013
If you want a delightful but light novel, and if you like the south of France, this is for you. The scenery and food descriptions are given a lot of space, but the transition from non-fiction to fiction, rather surprisingly, is fine. The plots works, though it is not intricate. The characters are credible, with enough quirks to save them from being formulaic. The whole thing is relaxing and fun - but if you want to be scared by thrilling twists and turns, go elsewhere.
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on 2 December 2016
What a load of tripe...I say this because the best bits of this book are the descriptions of the food. As for the story itself, it is unbelievable and populated with one dimensional, clichéd characters. It doesn't even have a satisfactory ending, it just stops. Sorry Peter, loved your first book about living in Provence, but you are no novelist I am afraid.
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on 15 July 2013
Sadly, a somewhat pedestrian tale acting as a sequel to The Vintage Caper. Every meal (and, golly, don't they eat lots of them and in great detail?) is wonderful and served by drop dead gorgeous and knowledgeable staff. I would imagine this would be quite fun if you were actually in the region but, frankly, as a caper it doesn't cut the mustard.
One person found this helpful
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on 18 March 2013
Another very readable tale. I thoroughly recommend it. Do read The vintage Caper first as it will fill in a few gaps.
8 people found this helpful
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on 17 August 2013
A most enjoyable read. Peter Mayle cleverly intertwines the locale, food, customs and personalities of the South of France into an excellent story. A very good holiday novel which maintains interest to the very last page. Superb accompaniment to a bottle of Chateau Barbanau 2012! ! Thoroughly recommendable book.
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on 24 September 2013
This book follows on from The Vintage Caper, and you really need to read that first as this one has the same characters and constantly refers back to the other one. Having said that, it's a decent story and quite amusing, in a French sort of way! And all that food!!!
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