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The Marseille Caper

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The Marseille Caper

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Lovable rogue and sleuth extraordinaire Sam Levitt is back in another beguiling, as-only-Peter-Mayle-can-write-it romp through the South of France. At the end of The Vintage Caper, Sam had just carried...
Lovable rogue and sleuth extraordinaire Sam Levitt is back in another beguiling, as-only-Peter-Mayle-can-write-it romp through the South of France. At the end of The Vintage Caper, Sam had just carried...
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Description-
  • Lovable rogue and sleuth extraordinaire Sam Levitt is back in another beguiling, as-only-Peter-Mayle-can-write-it romp through the South of France.

    At the end of The Vintage Caper, Sam had just carried off a staggering feat of derring-do in the heart of Bordeaux, infiltrating the ranks of the French elite to rescue a stolen, priceless wine collection. With the questionable legality of the adventure--and the threat of some very powerful enemies!--Sam thought it'd be a while before he returned to France, especially with the charms of the beautiful Elena Morales to keep him in Los Angeles.

    But when the immensely wealthy Francis Reboul--the victim of Sam's last heist but someone who knows talent when he sees it--asks our hero to take a job in Marseille, it's impossible for Sam and Elena to resist the possibility of further excitement . . . to say nothing of the pleasures of the region. Soon the two are enjoying the coastal sunshine and the delectable food and wine for which Marseille is known. Yet as a competition over Marseille's valuable waterfront grows more hotly disputed, Sam, representing Reboul, finds himself in the middle of an increasingly intrigue-ridden and dangerous real-estate grab, with thuggish gangsters on one side and sharklike developers on the other.

    Will Sam survive this caper unscathed? Will he live to enjoy another bowl of bouillabaisse? All will be revealed--with luck, savvy, and a lot of help from Sam's friends--in the novel's wonderfully satisfying climax.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Shock has a chilling effect, particularly when it takes the form of an unexpected meeting with a man from whom you have recently stolen three million dollars' worth of wine. Sam Levitt shivered and pulled his terrycloth robe closer around his body, still damp from an early-morning dip in the Chateau Marmont pool.

    "Here." The man on the other side of the table--smiling, tanned, immaculate--slid a cup of coffee across to Sam. "Drink this. It will warm you up. Then we can talk." He leaned back and watched as that first infinitely welcome cup went down, then another, while Sam tried to gather his wits.

    Sam was sitting with Francis "Sissou" Reboul. The last time they had met had been in Marseille, over a glass of champagne at Le Pharo, Reboul's clifftop palace with a billionaire's view of the Mediterranean. Sam, on assignment from an international insurance company, was hunting for several hundred bottles of vintage Bordeaux that had been stolen from the Hollywood home of Danny Roth, an entertainment lawyer with a weakness for fine wines. After a search that had taken him from L.A. to Paris to Bordeaux to Marseille, Sam had discovered the stolen bottles in Reboul's vast cellar. And, being a man who preferred direct action to long and tiresome negotiations with the authorities, he had stolen them back. That, he had thought, was that. A nice, neat job, with no complaints likely from the victim. But here was the victim himself, in the garden of the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, behaving for all the world like an acquaintance who was trying to be a friend.

    "Perhaps I should have given you some warning," said Reboul, with a shrug, "but I only flew into Los Angeles last night--there's some business I need to attend to here--and I thought I would take the opportunity to come and say bonjour." He took a card from his top pocket and pushed it across the table. "You see? Here's the little souvenir you gave me during our last meeting."

    Sam glanced down at the familiar sight of his own business card. "Well, Mr. Reboul . . ."

    "Please." Reboul waved a dismissive hand. "You must call me Francis, and I will call you Sam. More cozy, non?" He smiled and nodded, as though the idea of coziness were amusing. "I don't want to waste your time, so let me get to the point." He drank the last of his coffee and pushed his cup and saucer to one side with a manicured index finger. "In fact, the business that brings me to California is you."

    Reboul paused for a moment and gave Sam a conspiratorial wink before continuing. "I have a situation in Marseille that requires someone--ideally, as you will see, an American--with particular and rather unusual gifts. And judging from our previous encounter, it seems to me that you would be just the man for the job. What would you say to a few weeks in Marseille? It's at its best this time of year, before the full heat of summer. I would make your stay extremely comfortable and, of course, very attractive financially."

    Suspicion fought with curiosity, and curiosity won. "Let me guess." Sam returned Reboul's wink. "Would I be right in saying that what you have in mind is not altogether legal?"

    Reboul frowned and shook his head, as though Sam had suggested something faintly improper. "Legality is so difficult, isn't it? If it were easier to define, most of the lawyers in the world would be out of business, which would be no bad thing. But my dear Sam, allow me to put your conscience at rest: I'm not proposing anything more illegal than a little harmless deception--and after your performance as a book publisher the last time we met, this would be child's play...

About the Author-
  • Peter Mayle is the author of twelve previous books, six of them novels. A recipient of the Légion d'Honneur from the French government for his cultural contributions, he has been living in Provence with his wife, Jennie, for twenty years.

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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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