Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Diamond Caper by Peter Mayle

I've really enjoyed Mayle's tales of Sam and Elena as they solve little mysteries in France. In this one, a jewel thief has been pulling off a series of perfect crimes, making off with millions of dollars worth of diamonds from wealthy homes, without leaving a trace of any damage or evidence for the police to follow. Elena's employer insures the latest victims, and he asks Sam to poke around and see what he can find out.

Sam and Elena are in the happy position of finally signing the paperwork to take possession of their own vacation home in Marseille. It does need a bit of renovation to make it their true dream home, so they hire the services of a local expert, Coco Dumas. one of Reboulle's former lovers. She rapidly demonstrates that her projects do not proceed at the usual leisurely pace of many construction projects in the south of France (as Mayle has related in his Provence books previously), and they are quite pleased with the rapid progress.

The most enjoyable thing about this series has always been, for me, the descriptive information about the countryside, customs and cuisine. But this particular installment is missing some of that local flavor, without the usual mouth-watering accounts of repasts enjoyed. The mystery of the diamond heists is actually quite easily solved as some small clues come to light. I had guessed the identity of the thief very early in the story, but it was still entertaining to watch it play out.

I hope Mayle shares more delicious details with us in the next book.

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