Sam Levitt, former lawyer and wine connoisseur turned private investigator, is back. In his first rollicking adventure in The Vintage Caper, Levitt recovered a priceless stolen wine collection and returned it to its rightful owner. The Marseille Caper reunites Francis Reboul, the perpetrator of the original wine crime, with Levitt. This time, however, Reboul wants to hire Levitt for a job in Marseille. Though Levitt wants to think twice, his attractive companion and working associate, Elena Morales, is keen to get a break from Los Angeles and get a taste of wine, crime and romance in the South of France.
Peter Mayle’s humorous romantic mystery engages the reader from the start. Keen observations of his fellow larger-than-life characters bring out Sam’s flippant, wise-cracking antics and comebacks—even in the face of danger. Mayle also conveys Elena’s quirkiness:
“Elena didn’t like to be watched when she was packing. She didn’t like to be helped. Most of all, she didn’t like to be talked to. Her relationship with her suitcase and its contents was one of mystical communion, and woe betide anyone who broke the spell.” In addition to his tongue-in-cheek descriptions, Mayle highlights Elena’s feminine wiles flirtatious fun and the attraction between Elena and Sam. And of course, the French landscape comes alive with tantalizing descriptions of food and wine in this feel-good story.
The Marseille Caper is a fast-moving and entertaining romp through the South of France in classic Mayle style.