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The Corsican Caper: A novel [Format Kindle]

Peter Mayle
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Chapter One

Francis Reboul sat in the sunshine, contemplating his breakfast: a shot glass of extra-­virgin olive oil, which the French insist is so beneficial for le transit intestinal, followed by a large bowl of café crème and a croissant of such exquisite lightness that it threatened to float off the plate. He was sitting on his terrace, the shimmering sweep of the early morning Mediterranean stretching away to the horizon.

Life was good. Sam Levitt and Elena Morales, Reboul’s close friends and partners in past adventures, were arriving from California later in the day for an extended vacation. They had planned to sail around Corsica and perhaps down to Saint-­Tropez then to spend some time at Reboul’s horse farm in the Camargue and to revisit some of Marseille’s excellent restaurants. It had been a year since they had seen one another—­a busy year for them all—­and there was a lot to catch up on.

Reboul put down his newspaper, squinting against the glare that bounced off the water. A couple of small sail­boats were tacking their way toward the islands of Frioul. While he was watching them, Reboul’s attention was caught by something that was beginning to appear from behind the headland. It gradually became more visible, and bigger. Much bigger. It was, as he would later tell Sam, the mother of all yachts—­three hundred feet if it was an inch, sleek and dark blue, with four decks, radar, the obligatory helicopter squatting on its pad in the stern, and not one but two Riva speedboats in tow.

It was now in front of Reboul, no more than three or four hundred yards offshore. It slowed, and drifted to a stop. A row of tiny figures appeared on the top deck, all gazing, it seemed to Reboul, directly at him. Over the years, he had become quite used to this kind of scrutiny from the sea. His house, Le Palais du Pharo, originally built for Napoleon III, was the biggest private residence in Marseille, and the most glamorous. Everything from one-­man sailboats to the crowded local ferries had stopped, at one time or another, for a long, if distant, inspection of Chez Reboul. Telescopes, binoculars, cameras—­he was used to them by now. He shrugged, and hid behind his newspaper.

On board the yacht, Oleg Vronsky—­Oli to his friends and numerous hangers-­on, and “The Barracuda” to the international business press—­turned to Natasha, the statuesque young woman whom he had appointed his personal first mate for the voyage. “This is more like it,” he said. “Yes. This is more like it.” He smiled, making the deep, livid scar on his cheek pucker. Apart from that, he would have been a good-­looking man. Although a little on the short side, he was slim, his thick gray hair was cut en brosse, and his eyes were that shade of icy blue often found in people from the frozen north.

He had spent the past week cruising along the Riviera coast, stopping off to look at properties on Cap Ferrat, Cap d’Antibes, Cannes, and Saint-­Tropez. And he had been disappointed. He was prepared to spend serious money, fifty million euros or more, but he had seen nothing that made him want to reach for his wallet. There were some fine houses, certainly, but too close to one another. The Riviera had become crowded, that was the problem, and Vronsky was looking for plenty of space and maximum privacy—­and no Russian neighbors. There were so many of them on Cap Ferrat nowadays that the more enterprising locals were taking Russian lessons and learning to like vodka.

Vronsky took a cell phone from his pocket and pressed the single button that connected him to Katya, his personal assistant. She had been with him before the billions, when he was no more than a lowly millionaire, and she was one of the very few people who had his absolute trust.

“Tell Johnny to come and see me on the top deck, would you? And tell him to get ready for a quick trip. Oh, have we heard back from London yet?” Vronsky was negotiating to buy an English football team from an Arab consortium, not the easiest group of people to deal with, and he was becoming impatient. Somewhat encouraged by Katya’s reply, he turned back to resume his inspection of Reboul’s property, pushing his sunglasses up onto his head and adjusting the focus of his binoculars. No doubt about it, the setting was superb, and it seemed, from what he could see, that there were ample grounds around the house, undoubtedly enough for a discreet helicopter pad. Vronsky felt the first stirrings of what would quickly develop into a full-­scale lust to acquire.

“Where to, boss?” Johnny from Jamaica gave Vronsky the benefit of his wide white smile, a gleaming gash across his ebony face. During his time as a mercenary in Libya, he had learned to fly helicopters, a useful addition to his other skills with weapons and the finer points of unarmed combat. A good man to have on your side.

“A short hop, Johnny. A little reconnaissance. You’ll need a camera and someone who can use it.” Vronsky took the Jamaican’s arm and led him to a less crowded part of the deck.

Reboul dipped the final bite of his croissant into his coffee and looked up from his paper. The yacht was still there. He could see two figures in the stern busying themselves around the helicopter’s landing gear before climbing in, and then the rotor blades began to turn. He wondered idly where they were off to, and returned to the news of the day as reported in La Provence. Why was it that, even with the season long since over, journalists devoted so much space to football players and their antics? He sighed, put aside the paper, and picked up the Financial Times.

The noise was sudden and shocking. Flying low, the helicopter was heading directly toward him. It slowed, then hovered above the terrace before making a couple of circuits around the house and its gardens. As it tilted to make a turn, Reboul could see the long lens of a camera poking out of the side window. This was unacceptable. Reboul took out his phone and tapped in the number of the chief of police in Marseille, a friend.

“Hervé, it’s Francis. Sorry to bother you, but I’m being buzzed by some lunatic in a helicopter. He’s flying low and he’s taking photographs. Any chance of sending a Mirage jet over to discourage him?”

Hervé laughed. “How about an official helicopter? I can send one of the boys out now.”

But the intruding helicopter, with one final swoop over the terrace, was now on its way back to the yacht. “Don’t bother,” said Reboul. “He’s gone.”

“Did you see any of his registration markings?”

“No—­I was too busy ducking. But he’s going back to a yacht that’s opposite the Pointe du Pharo, maybe heading for the Vieux Port. It’s a huge, dark-­blue thing the size of a paquebot.”

“That won’t be too hard to find. I’ll look into it and get back to you.”

“Thanks, Hervé. Lunch next time is on me.”

Vronsky leaned over Katya as she connected the camera to her computer and brought up the first of the photographs. Like many rich and powerful men, his grasp of the details of modern technology was sketchy. “There,” said Katya, “just press this key to change the images.”

Vronsky peered at the screen in silence, his shoulders hunched in concentration. As one image followed another—­the perfectly proportioned architecture, the immaculate gardens, the absence of close neighbors—­he started nodding. Finally he sat back and smiled at Katya.

“Find out who owns that house. I want it.”

Revue de presse

“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.”

“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.”

“A delightful confection.”
I Love a Mystery

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

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 3368 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 178 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 0345804562
  • Editeur : Vintage (13 mai 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • : Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°31.886 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A DELICIOUS, DELIGHTFUL DIVERSION 13 mai 2014
Opening a new book by premier raconteur Peter Mayle is very much like returning to your favorite restaurant - you know dinner will be delicious and you cannot wait to taste it. So it was for me upon beginning The Corsican Caper - eager to meet the intriguing characters, to vicariously enjoy gourmet meals, well chosen wines, and visit luxurious only to be dreamed of places. (In this case, one of the places is a yacht, The Caspian Sea. Or as Mayle puts it “the mother of all yachts” - three hundred feet of dark blue with four decks, radar, helicopter pad and two speedboats behind. Plus, of course, an interior so luxe it would put a Park Avenue penthouse to shame.)

Mayle’s characters always travel First Class and eat in 5 star restaurants - what a joy it is to join them! Once again we’re in the company of Sam Levitt who well knows how to solve a crime without missing a meal or a glass of wine. He and the beautiful Elena Morales are coming from California for an extended visit with their dear friend, Francis Reboul..As it happens (and you knew it would) Reboul lives in a palatial Corsican estate, El Pharo, one of the most prime properties in all of the Mediterranean.

While awaiting his guests Reboul notices the mega yacht just several hundred yards offshore. It slows, comes to a stop and several figures appear on the top deck - they all appear to be looking directly at him. Of course, Reboul finds this a bit disconcerting, and he would be more than disconcerted if he knew that the owner of the yacht was an unscrupulous billionaire Russian, Oleg Vronsky.

Vronsky has been checking out the coast for a suitable home, and he wants El Pharo. Problem is the Russian always gets what he wants, sometimes leaving a dead body or two behind.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.4 étoiles sur 5  135 commentaires
10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 disappointed 25 juin 2014
Par James - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
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.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Easy to like, but leaves you wanting more 6 avril 2014
Par Gary K. McCormick - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
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”!
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 who has detailed wonderful characters in the past 7 juillet 2014
Par bentmax - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Third in Mayle's caper series and a first for this reader. 3.5 stars 6 avril 2014
Par Sharon Isch - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
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.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Corsican cAper review 22 mai 2014
Par Lynda - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
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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