The story begins high above Los Angeles, at the extravagant home and equally impressive wine cellar of entertainment lawyer Danny Roth. Unfortunately, after inviting the Los Angeles Times to write an extensive profile extolling the liquid treasures of his collection, Roth finds himself the victim of a world-class wine heist.
Enter Sam Levitt, former corporate lawyer, cultivated crime expert, and wine connoisseur. Called in by Roth's insurance company, which is now saddled with a multimillion-dollar claim, Sam follows his leads - to Bordeaux and its magnificent vineyards, and to Provence to meet an eccentric billionaire collector who might possibly have an interest in the stolen wines. Along the way, bien sûr, he is joined by a beautiful and erudite French colleague, and together they navigate many a château, pausing frequently to enjoy the countryside's abundant pleasures.
The unraveling of the ingenious crime is threaded through with Mayle's seductive rendering of France's sensory delights - from a fine Lynch-Bages and Léoville Barton to the bouillabaisse of Marseille and the young lamb of Bordeaux. Even the most sophisticated of oenophiles will learn a thing or two from this vintage work by a beloved author.
©2009 Peter Mayle; (P)2009 Random House
"Mayle uncorks a winning wine caper in the tradition of To Catch a Thief." (Publishers Weekly)
Like many readers here, I have enjoyed Mr. Mayle's other work, but this was trite to the extreme and laden with cliches like, "What does a girl have to do to get a drink in this town?" The reader was terrible. He seemed like he could do documentaries well--and he obviously speaks French--but this book was painful to listen to from start to finish. The basic story itself is fun...but only if you are one of those people who can overlook how it is told.
I waited several months for this release; and I sipped it, like a fine wine! Mr. Mayle's writing again made me smile. There is something comforting and cozy about all of his books; and I always feel at home reading them. OK, perhaps they are a bit predictable; and no one seems to be murdered.. well except for that butcher a long time ago.. Yet, I find that I read and listen and re-read and re-listen and just enjoy them!
I have a feeling that Mr. Mayle smiles a lot when he writes! It comes through in his books.
One minor criticism is the endings.. Alas, all good things must come to an end; but I find that most of Mr. Mayle's books end rather abruptly. I have always had the feeling that there should be an epiloge or at lest a little more time wrapping up loose ends. THE VINTAGE CAPER does actually address this issue a lot better; and for that I was pleased.
I would like to start out by saying that I love Peter Mayle's work, from A year in Provence, to my favorite, The Hotel Pastis, so it was with much joy that I looked forward to listening to his latest work on a recent road trip . I was sadly disappointed, not by the story mind you, that once again showcased Mr. Mayle's love of all things French and culinary, but by the narrator. The accents that Erik Davies used to bring Mayle's characters to life almost made me sick. They were so over the top, that at times I chose the relative quiet of the highway than to have to sit through a conversation between more than two characters. The story was simple and elegant with a nice twist, but Mr. Davies made it so hard on the ears, that I considered buying the hard back and finishing it instead of putting myself through any more of the torture.
This book is like grocery store sushi, OK if you need a fix, but in the end bland and disappointing and leaves you wondering why you bothered. Hopefully Mayle will rediscover the inspiration of his earlier books before dumping another of these on us.
A promising start leads down hill rapidly to a pointless story that is neither mystery, comedy suspense or romance.
I particularly liked the descriptions of Marseille...and the descriptions of the cellar...the planning of the caper was quite good.
Sam's a cool character, but Phillippe and Sophie were a great addition.
The mystery was predictable and the rattling off all the names of French wines all through the story was excessive. The story did not hold my interest.
I have been told this is not his usual style, so I would try one more.
He did a good job reading and had a nice voice.
This plot is interesting, believable and fun. I enjoyed that there was not a real focus on the love connection in this book, rather that it was focused on what makes Peter Mayle's fiction good; mouth-watering food encounters, rich and enviable lifestyles all involved in a good-humoured mystery. I really enjoyed this listen.
This book is very entertaining, especially if you enjoy good food (French), excellent wine (red Bordeaux), travel (California and Provence). The story is somewhat lightweight but a fun read.
I thought the reader was excellent in making the various characters come alive, especially the ones in France. Definitely recommended for the right group. It's more fun if you've been to Marseille, and we just returned from a month's trip.
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