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Anything Considered: A Novel Paperback – April 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

It's no secret that Peter Mayle (author of A Year in Provence) loves Provence, so it's no surprise that Mayle's new novel is set that area: it takes place in Saint Martin and in Monaco. Bennett is an Englishman scraping together his last few francs, desperate to stay in France. He places an ad promising "anything considered," a wealthy truffle entrepreneur hires him for slightly illicit work, and the plot is off--a combination of a thriller, romance, and page turner. And through it all emanates the whiff of lavender, the curve of country hills, the bubble of champagne, and the sounds and tastes of Provence.

From Publishers Weekly

Again venturing into the wryly humorous thriller territory of Hotel Pastis, Mayle has produced another caper heavily larded with local color and gastronomic adventures. And again, as in his novels and his nonfiction evocations of Provence, truffles play a crucial role. Here his protagonist is Bennett, a Brit expatriate on his uppers. Having lost his savings in an investment scam, he is intent on finding the means to reside in Saint-Martin in Provence. He advertises his services: "Anything considered except marriage"-and is hired by Julian Poe, a stupendously wealthy fellow Brit, who needs help in evading the French income tax. Pretending to be Poe in the latter's Monaco apartment, Bennett becomes involved in the hijacking of a case containing the secret formula for the successful cultivation of the elusive black truffle. When the Italian Mafioso who stole the formula auctions his loot aboard his yacht, Poe, scheming to substitute a fake, sends Bennett to steal it back. He also sends Anna, a savvy and sexy mercenary enforcer from New York, to help protect his interests. After they recover the formula, Anna persuades Bennett to up his fee to a cool million. With the furious Italians joining Poe in the hot pursuit, the now romantically involved extortioners gormandize their lusty way across the south of France while outwitting their pursuers. Mayle makes froth highly palatable in this larky chronicle of sybaritic pleasures and larcenous activities. 150,000 first printing; BOMC and QPB selections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (April 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067976268X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679762683
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By douglas barton on November 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Being a fan of Peter Mayle's Provence series I was slightly apprehensive about his diving into the work of fiction but at the same time looking forward to his offerings. And, since after reading "Hotel Pastis" I was certain that he was still the author that I had come to enjoy so very much. With the addition of "Anything Considered" his literary skills, at least for me, remain intact! Thank goodness!
This book simply catches all of the magic of his previous offerings. A mystery, love story and comedy I can think of fewer books that I enjoyed so much that I picked up a copy in hardbound to keep and read again...and again. Set, once again, in the French country-side plus Monaco our protagonist Bennett, an English expatriate,lives out his meager existence until placing an ad in the Intl. Herald Tribune where he's offered the chance to live the "high-life" by providing services to Julian Poe, who delves into the illegal truffle trade. What ensues is truly high-comdey with a sprinkling of romance and French travelogue thrown in for good measure.
Overall, the characters are well-thought out and brought fully to, who could not enjoy a novel where the author is simply having such a wonderful time as Mr. Mayle obviously is! Highly recommended this is...and is there any chance of having this made into a film or BBC series?
A generous,delicious serving of Mr. Mayle!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Glen Engel Cox on January 26, 2003
Format: Paperback
Having thoroughly enjoyed Peter Mayle's best-selling non-fictional (mostly) account of life in Rural France (A Life in Provence), I long meant to give his fiction a try. I'm not a real dog-lover, so A Dog's Life didn't intrigue me, and the jacket copy for Hotel Pastis didn't lend it to immediate reading, either. But the cover for Anything Considered, showing a cast of characters straight out of a CLUE game, and the premise--an Englishman in France, desperate for a job, places an advert in the international paper saying that he was looking for employment and "anything considered"--sounded so close to a Wodehousian experience, that I could not resist it. Even the title was similar to Wodehouse.
Unfortunately, while comic and filled with mistaken identities and misunderstood intentions, Mayle's touch with the material is quite different. I enjoyed the novel, but there's something missing to it, as if Mayle had all the ingredients at his fingertips, but didn't turn the temperature on the oven up high enough. There's no faulting his craftsmanship--the words flow smoothly enough, and nothing is so jarring as to ruin the plot--but the art seems forced, rather than organic.
Bennett is the Englishman who is desperate for anything, who finds himself hired by a fellow who simply wants him to live in the style to which Bennett has become accustomed, with the slight deviation of returning a different name than his own when asked. He goes to Monaco, using this man's credit cards, living in this man's apartment, basically enjoying the life of Riley. But there's trouble lurking, something to do with the truffle market and the Mafia.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matt on December 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Anything Considered is written very well. Another great masterpiece from Peter Mayle. The idea of a poor Englishman on an adventure in France is riveting. All of the characters are well thought out and descriptions are wonderful. This is my first Peter Mayle book and I am hooked on his writing. It is different from the normal fiction that I read, but it is a very, very welcome change.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lleu Christopher on August 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
This was my first experience reading Peter Mayle, who is best known for nonfiction about Southern France, the setting for this novel. The title comes from an ad placed by English expatriate Bennett (who only uses his last name). Bennett finds himself short on money as his real estate business falters. A sybarite without any particular direction in life, he advertises for unusual employment, adding "anything considered but marriage." One of the replies to this ad is from Julian Poe, a rather sinister English aristocrat whose wealth comes from unspecified sources. Bennett is told all he has to do is live in Poe's apartment in Monaco. This will enable Poe to avoid French taxes and allow Bennett to live in luxury. Things quickly become complicated, of course. Poe is actually part of a scheme to produce truffles,a frightfully expensive but apparently delicious (but all but impossible to grow) fungus. The plot from here turns into an unlikely, tongue-in-cheek spy thriller. Bennett finds an assistant and ally in Anna, a beautiful and resourceful ex-soldier. The two are pursued by several competing gangs of criminals as well as the French police. There is never a fear that anything really bad will happen to the pair. In many ways, the plot is secondary to the lush descriptions of the countryside and the gourmet meals favored by Bennett. I enjoyed it with some reservations. This is the sort of light reading favored by the highbrow set. Mayle is obviously very much enamored of a slow-paced, leisurely life where no one works very hard and the countryside is the material for landscapes, or at least postcards. The town where Bennett lives, Saint Martin le Vieux, is a rich person's idealization of the simple but robust rustic life. The book is very readable and the plot, though deliberately improbable, unfolds smoothly. I enjoyed it, and those not afflicted with my modern urban cynicism will probably enjoy it even more.
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