It’s a Mystery: The Vintage Caper, by Peter Mayle

3.0 out of 5 stars Cheers!

Sometimes it takes a thief to catch a thief, and Sam Levitt’s the man for the job. Called in by an LA insurance company desperate to avoid paying the claim, Sam goes to France to discover who stole that multimillion dollar wine stash. Because he knows a lot of big time crooks from his former life, it doesn’t take long for Sam to home in on a likely suspect in an international playboy who resides in Marseille, of all places. Proving that he did it is another problem altogether.

The word “caper” in the title is an unambiguous tip-off to the sort of book this is. Light and humorous, with enough suspense to keep the reader guessing, this is a story to be enjoyed, not analyzed. What Mayle does best is convey the essence of the best of French living (i.e. eating and drinking), with on-the-money sketches of the regions in which he sets his plots, and his characters are quirky and likable. Vintage has a nice little twist on the final page. I challenge anyone to resist having a glass or two of Bordeaux while reading about Sam’s exploits.

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