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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light beach fiction
Fun, well-constructed tale. Keeps moving. Written with Mayle's typical cleverness and skill with phrasing. But it's very *light* fiction. It's plot-driven vs character-driven. Reading "A Year in Provence" makes one think. Heck, Mayle himself -- as a reluctant "character" -- revealed the evolution of his own biases over the course of that book. That was excellent:...
Published on October 29, 2009 by Leary Blaine

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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time.
If you have an interest in Marseilles, France and travel there in general, you may find this book interesting. As a work of fiction though, it has to be one of the worst books I have ever read.

As a "Who Done-It?" mystery, the story fails completely. While the pretext of the crime itself is at first intriguing and makes sense (a three million dollar wine...
Published on February 10, 2010 by M. Naiman


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66 of 72 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light beach fiction, October 29, 2009
This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Hardcover)
Fun, well-constructed tale. Keeps moving. Written with Mayle's typical cleverness and skill with phrasing. But it's very *light* fiction. It's plot-driven vs character-driven. Reading "A Year in Provence" makes one think. Heck, Mayle himself -- as a reluctant "character" -- revealed the evolution of his own biases over the course of that book. That was excellent: the writer as unwilling participant, revealing more about himself to the reader than perhaps he intended as the writer.

There's nothing like that here. It's a good story, with pleasant characters and a lot of fun. But it won't leave you contemplating anything more serious than why you haven't had a good bouillabaisse for a while.

This is the kind of book that only authors with several best sellers to their credit get to publish. If a first-time author were to approach a publisher with this manuscript, it would never see the light of day. But Mayle is a brand. And I'm a fan of that brand. So I'm happy to have read it and enjoyed it very much. But I hope you'll find it useful to know that it's at the lighter end of the Mayle spectrum (like, say, Grisham's "Playing for Pizza").

Enjoy! (Under the sun)(Tuscan or otherwise)
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your time., February 10, 2010
By 
M. Naiman (La Jolla, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Hardcover)
If you have an interest in Marseilles, France and travel there in general, you may find this book interesting. As a work of fiction though, it has to be one of the worst books I have ever read.

As a "Who Done-It?" mystery, the story fails completely. While the pretext of the crime itself is at first intriguing and makes sense (a three million dollar wine collection is stolen from an L.A. wine collector), how and why his main character, Sam Levitt, ends up in France, and figures out who the main culprit is makes almost no sense at all. Once the culprit is revealed, it is all downhill from there. What follows for the remainder of the book is a complete lack of intrigue or action. The plot line becomes annoyingly predictable and is surprisingly devoid of any of the usual twists or turns traditional to the genre. Sorry for the spoiler, if you can call it that, but the story ends exactly how the main character predicts it will.

Mayle's characters are also pathetically cliche and one-dimensional. While this, again in the tradition of the "Who Done-It?" genre, can sometimes be forgiven if the story is at least intriguing, sadly it is not.

More annoying still is the pretentious and overly repeated message from Mayle: L.A. is phony and plastic while Marseilles is the Mecca of wine, romance and fine dining. Mayle goes into excruciating detail about every bite of food his one-dimensional characters take. It seems his real intention is to impress you with his knowledge of Marseilles and French cuisine while the story and plot are thrown in as an afterthought. Ironically though, while the book is supposedly about great French wines (whose legendary vintages are listed by Mayle ad nauseam), the subject matter itself is barely explored at all by the author. Most wine enthusiasts reading the book would probably be very disappointed.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amusing crime caper, October 27, 2009
This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Hardcover)
Hollywood entertainment lawyer Danny Roth cherishes his wine collection, insured for three million dollars. He is so full of pride over his vintage collection he boasts excessively about his vino darlings during a Los Angeles Times interview. However, Danny feels violated when someone who obviously read the article absconded with his wine collection.

Insurance agent Elena Morales hires her former boyfriend Sam Levitt, a wine connoisseur, to investigate the theft. He follows the trail to France where he teams up with insurance agent Sophie Costes, a wine and food gourmand. They soon track the purloined wine to Marseilles with billionaire wine collector Francis Reboul as the prime suspect behind the theft.

This is an amusing crime caper that will have readers toasting Peter Mayle with A Good Year French champagne. The story line is fast-paced and straightforward as the shortest distance between California and French Lessons is between Sam and the other players. With a solid cast, Vintage Caper is lighthearted fun as each key participant makes their play for the valuable vino with not one of them fully trusting any of the others.

Harriet Klausner
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mayle at his worst, December 9, 2009
This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Hardcover)
Many years ago Peter Mayle was a good writer. "A Year in Provence," "Hotel Pastis" were well written and entertaining. This latest is a piece of garbage. Boring from the word go, with as shallow a plot as I've ever seen. He seems to have written this for no other reason than to impress us with his "knowledge" of restaurants and wines but that knowledge in both cases could easily be gained by googling. A complete was of time and a real disappointment.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Thin and flabby, November 20, 2009
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This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Hardcover)
Peter Mayle really ought to be ashamed of this one. A very short story with a feeble, unconvincing and easily predictable plot and a genuinely silly ending, this has all the characteristics of a last minute job.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars complete waste of time, November 18, 2009
By 
Reader8 (Massachusetts, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Hardcover)
Not just Mr. Mayle's worst book, but one of the worst in the universe of literature. From the vapid, almost non-existent plot to the completely detached characters, this book offers nothing to the reader. Does "caper" imply a modicum of suspense? Literally none is found here. Mr. Mayle owes me a Cotes du Rhone for this one.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Waste of Time, February 4, 2010
This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Hardcover)
Peter Mayle knows wine, food and France, and he got to know and appreciate Marseilles and what a fine city it is. That's in this book but it's not easy to enjoy because it's all buried in such a mindless tale.

The dialog is for sixth graders, the plot is non-existent, the characters are not very likeable or interesting. Mr. Mayle should stick to what he's good at and leave the intrigue to others.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pass Over, May 9, 2010
This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Hardcover)
Very disappointing. I've read "A Year in Provence" and have been an avid mystery reader. This book is poorly done, with a couple big plot holes. Who the heck gives out his REAL business card when pretending to be someone he's not?! And what kind of billionaire, especially one who was able to acquire the wine due to the other billionaire's glaring holes in security, has the SAME glaring holes in his security?! Very little suspense, which pretty much makes a mystery. My heart didn't even pound when the "good guys" were making off with the wine. I wasn't happy with the societal message of it being "ok" to steal either.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unpalatable Vintage, August 10, 2010
By 
PJ (Ann Arbor, MI USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Audio CD)
Peter Mayle is usually one of my favorite authors, so I bought the audiobook without checking any reviews. What a pity I can't return it to the sommelier like as a bad bottle of wine.

If you haven't read any of his previous books, please don't judge him on this particularly lame effort. Go check out "A Year in Provence" or "Hotel Pastis", both of which are far superior to "Vintage Caper".

This book is, in a word, flat. The plot is thin and lacks any interesting twists and turns. The characters are uninteresting and there is nothing to make you care about them. I don't care that the wine was stolen, I don't care about the victim. I also don't care about the investigator or the women around him. I only perservered through because I hate to drive without something to listen to, so I trudged through to the end. I was also holding out a faint hope the book would improve at some point, which it didn't.

The only redeeming feature about this book is that Mayle is always good at painting atmosphere. You can practically smell the smoke in the bar and taste the spices in the bouillabaise.

If you are a Francophile or love Marseille, you might actually... no, scratch that. You still won't enjoy it. Go pick up "Hotel Pastis" instead.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Mayle Novel Yet, October 24, 2009
By 
pbk63 "RS" (Missouri, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Vintage Caper (Hardcover)
I have collected all of Peter Mayle's books after becoming a "Year in Provence" fan. While enjoying his novels some are better than others. Took this one out at library and found it best one yet. Very entertaining and for those who are Peter Mayle fans can highly recommend it. Liked it so much that I went ahead and bought copies for Christmas presents and for my Mayle collection. Whether he is considering this as a one off for his character or developing the principal character for future books I found this one an enjoyable read.
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The Vintage Caper
The Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle (Paperback - July 13, 2010)
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