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The Corsican Caper: A novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 13, 2014

3.4 out of 5 stars 154 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! could be an alternate title for this third in Mayle’s Provence caper series. An uncouth Russian capitalist, Oleg Vronsky has a history of getting what he wants, which often requires those standing in his way disappearing in the process. But Vronsky can’t obtain what he wants most: the ocean villa of Francis Reboul, the refined billionaire who has figured in other Caper mysteries. Fortunately, Reboul’s friend Sam Levitt arrives for a visit just in time to set in motion his own investigation into Vronsky. What floats this novel are the bubbles from the champagne that always seems to be chilled and waiting, along with Mayle’s usual airy descriptions of French wines and meals. The caper is a little light on plot, and Mayle doesn’t brief new readers about Sam Levitt (a former lawyer, wine connoisseur, and sleuth). Also, for Mayle, the meal and scenery descriptions are fairly thin this time. Still, fans of the series will stick around for the ambience, even though much of it comes from Levitt’s girlfriend reading aloud from a guidebook. --Connie Fletcher

Review

“A light frolic of suspense….I…enjoyed every moment of an escape into the world of champagne for lunch and a snack of escargot and caviar.”
Suspense Magazine

“What floats in this novel are the bubbles from the champagne that always seems to be chilled and waiting, along with Mayle’s usual airy descriptions of French wines and meals.”
Booklist

“Readers who want to engage by proxy in the lives of Europe’s mega-wealthy will…appreciate this frothy bit of fun from bestseller Mayle.”
Publishers Weekly

“Richly descriptive…smooth as the most decadent dessert.”
Kirkus 

“A delightful confection.”
I Love a Mystery

“Cracking open The Corsican Caper…is the next best thing to being there….Bon appétit!”
Examiner.com
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (May 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307962865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307962867
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (154 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A very linear plot with no side stories, or surprises. It is by far my least favorite Peter Mayle book, and I have read and enjoyed most of his works.

Mayle was definitely phoning this one in. Giving fine descriptions of meals and wine is no substitute for plot development.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Peter Mayle’s “The Corsican Caper” left me with much the same feeling I got from “The Vintage Caper”, the first book in Mr Mayle’s Sam Levitt “Caper” series – is that all there is?

This tale of latest adventure of the roguish PI Sam Levitt is a delightful short read, but it is, like the previous two books in the series, wrapped up too soon, and too conveniently, to be fully satisfying. How wonderful it would be to see Mr Mayle stretch out a bit more, returning to the touch he showed in his earlier books, such as “Hotel Pastis”, or “A Good Year”!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love this author and keep all of his novels. This one just missed the mark for me. A little too predictable and the ending was too pat. But ill line up to get the next one cause I love the voice he writes in
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Format: Hardcover
Thin, thin, thin. Had I submitted this to my high school writing teacher, her comment would have been, "Good outline, now write the story." Mayle, who has detailed wonderful characters in the past, didn't bother this time, almost no physical description. Had the reader not been familiar with Mayle's previous "Caper" books, he/she would have been lost. Nor did Mayle develop much of a sense of place other than insert names without detail. Great meals were merely listed without the reader savoring each morsel. The plot was simplistic with no unexpected twists, no subplots, no meat on the bones at all of this anorexic effort.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As one who has read some of Peter Mayle's previous books including his very first and well known non-fiction "A Year in Provence" that made him famous, you might say, he's the Frances Mayes of Provence, I was somewhat disappointed. Having said that, I didn't expect to be blown away by "The Corsican Caper". And the reason why I say this is because I had previously read a couple of Mr Mayles' other fiction books and I was just not impressed with them. I feel that his non-fiction books are much more interesting where he wittingly writes about his day to day life and the Provencal locals he comes across and some of their quirky customs while living the good life in sunny Provence.

The Corsican Caper, one might say is entertaining with descriptions of Marseille and Nice and some other towns along the French Riviera sprinkled here and there, but it hardly had any suspense and certainly no surprises. I can't say that I highly recommend it, it was just okay.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I greatly enjoyed Peter Mayle's "Provence" novels of the 1990s, but this third novel in his more recent "Caper" series is a first for me. A smallish book of 160 pages with lots of white space, to me it reads more like a novella than a novel. Except for the ending, the story is pretty straightforward. A wealthy Russian named Vronsky, who's been known to have people killed who stand in the way of what he wants (and never gets caught, because he's always far away when these murders happen.) is now determined he must have for himself an impressive Riviera mansion owned by Francis Reboul, who refuses to sell, and therefore must be killed.

Fortunately for Reboul, Sam Levitt--whom the author fails to mention here as being the "master sleuth" of his previous "caper" books and not just the old friend I took him to be--just happens to be vacationing with his wife at Reboul's mansion at the time and promptly concocts a complex, character-packed one-upsmanship caper designed to save Reboul and his mansion and get Vronsky thrown into the slammer at long last. Clever to be sure, but also frequently confusing--especially keeping up with all the who's who of the tough guy roles and whose side they're on--maybe more my fault than the author's, as I never seemed to be able to get fully involved with this book and put it down a lot.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Mayle loves his characters, and it shows. He loves them enough that he never really puts them in all that much peril. And he loves them so much that there seems little room for much in the way of new characters to add fresh blood to the series. I love them too, but more fresh blood would have made this book more entertaining.

In the first book, the charming and wealthy Rebol was the antagonist. In the second book, he joins the good guys. This created some entertaining tension that drove reader interest. In this book, he's a known character, and therefore sadly less interesting. Most of the good characters from previous books return, and so we don't have the entertaining descriptions of them that, again, drove a lot of interest in the previous works.

Mayle's books are really character, humor and food-driven, so the plot has always been secondary, but the plot of this book is suspiciously similar to his last one. Once again, a piece of gaudy real estate, Rebol's gorgeous home, is the bone of contention. And once again we have a villain, with a megayacht, who would stop at nothing to get it. The first two books were distinctive and original; this is basically a well-written replay of the second book.

On the other hand, his books always put a big smile on my face, because he portrays his love for his characters and their impeccable taste all too well. So I'm glad I bought it, even though it took me just a few hours to read and didn't introduce me to much new in the world.
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