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Book review: 'The Marseille Caper' by Peter Mayle

Descriptions of the French setting and cuisine help make “The Marseille Caper” by Peter Mayle a satisfying, light mystery.
BY BETTY LYTLE Published: March 10, 2013

“The Marseille Caper” (Alfred A. Knopf, $24) by Peter Mayle takes up where his previous novel, “The Vintage Caper,” left off. In that book, the hero, Sam Levitt, infiltrates the ranks of the French rich and famous to rescue a stolen, priceless wine collection.

After that successful and probably illegal caper, Levitt figured to stay in Los Angeles for awhile with his lovely sidekick, Elena. But here they are in France again, surprisingly to work for Frances Reboul, the victim of Levitt's previous heist.

Reboul is fabulously rich and knows talent when he sees it.

He thinks Levitt is the perfect guy to help him win a competition on developing Marseille's valuable waterfront.

The chair of the committee who will choose the winning project dislikes Reboul, so Levitt will present the bid. Soon, however, Levitt finds himself in the middle of a dangerous real estate grab, with gangsters on one side and predatory real estate developers on the other.

Luckily, he has Philippe, a reporter, and Daphne, a translator, to assist him.

The author's description of the attractions in Marseille, especially the French cuisine, will make your mouth water.

And the light mystery story isn't so bad, either.

— Betty Lytle


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