Friday, May 2, 2014

The Corsican Caper by Peter Mayle

The Corsican Caper by Peter Mayle is a short novel or novella (4.5 hours on audio) about a billionaire in the south of France who becomes the target of a superrich tycoon, a Russian named Oleg Vronsky. Oleg has parked his yacht close to Francis Reboul's estate, buzzed it with a helicopter, and then offered to buy it "at any price." Instead of asking for more money than the guys on Millionaire Listings ever dreamed of, Francis rebuffs the offer. At which point schemes come into play to kill him by luring him to Corsica. The novel is read by Erik Davies, who is superb in delivering the Russian accents while maintaining the kind of tone required of men whose egos are as big as their wallets, and also Mayle's perennial sleuth Sam Levitt. The action is subdued, since most very rich people buy others to take their risks, while amid the luxurious and sumptuous gourmet meals they have time to indulge in speculation over what to do, what to eat, and why intrigue has come to the Riviera (instead of, say, Queens.) So it's a light hearted meal on the cozy side. With only a dollop of horseradish on the side. If you prefer a darker novel, try Jo Nesbo's new THE SON, a Nordic crime novel set in an Oslo prison and featuring a revenge-intent heroin addict. It's read by Gildart Jackson for Random House Audio. Nesbo himself even wears a hoodie, unlike Mayle, who prefers pin striped shirts and cardigans. (He lives in Provence, after all.)

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