Peter Mayle © Betina La Plante
The year began with lunch...
For those of you that have read A Year in Provence you will recognise that as the opening line for one of Peter Mayle's best selling novels that was published in 1989 and has sold over 5 million copies.
Taking the leap many of us dream about, or in this case read about, he shares with us his adventure of packing up his home in England complete with wife and two dogs and moving to a 200 year old stone farmhouse in the Luberon.
A Year in Provence is just one of his many books in shops and homes across the world and is printed in 28 languages.
In my opinion once you've read one of Peter Mayle's books you'll want to read them all.
Peter Mayle reaches out to a wide audience including the young with his delightful storybooks including 'The Amazing Adventures of Chilly Billy' and books explaining the changes children will experience in life such as "Where did I come from?" and "What's happening to me?".
I love to read about life in France, the adventures there to be had if only you are fortunate enough or brave enough to make them happen.
These are some of my favourites:
A Year in Provence
A Good Year
The Vintage Caper
The Marseille Caper
The Diamond Caper
A Year in Provence
Enjoy an irresistible feast of humour and discover the joys of French rural living with Peter Mayle's bestselling, much-loved account of 'A Year In Provence'.
Peter Mayle and his wife did what most of us only imagine doing when they made their long-cherished dream of a life abroad a reality: throwing caution to the wind, they bought a glorious two hundred year-old farmhouse in the Lubéron Valley and began a new life. In a year that begins with a marathon lunch and continues with a host of gastronomic delights, they also survive the unexpected and often hilarious curiosities of rural life. From mastering the local accent and enduring invasion by bumbling builders, to discovering the finer points of boules and goat-racing, all the earthy pleasures of Provençal life are conjured up in this enchanting portrait.
A second enjoyable helping of rural life in France from the author of A Year in Provence. Skulking through customs with a suitcase full of truffles, toads singing the Marseillaise, taking pastis lessons and finding gold at the bottom of the garden -- you might think there is little time left for pleasures of the table. Toujours Provence proves that while you might not be able to get away from it all, you can have fun trying.
Encore Provence continues the account of an Englishman's life abroad. Among other curiosities, explore a school for noses in Haute Provence, the mysterious death of an oversexed butcher, the quest for the finest bouillabaisse and an assortment of the characters who lie in wait in bars and on boules courts. And, of course, the essential importance of lunch. Bon Appétit!
A Good Year
Max Skinner is a man at the heart of London's financial universe until his employers embark on a little asset-stripping of their own. Himself. Amid the grey London drizzle, there is one potential ray of sunshine: Max's Uncle Harry has left him his estate in his will - an eighteenth-century chateau and vineyard an hour's drive from Avignon. Out of a job, and encouraged by his friend Charlie about the money in modern wine, he heads for France.
What Max discovers is a beautiful house, wonderful weather and a bustling village. The downside is the quality of the wine in his vineyard, but when Max suggests calling in an expert, Roussel, a former employee of his uncle's, is resistant. Help is at hand, however, when a beautiful blonde Californian arrives unexpectedly at the chateau.
The Vintage Caper
Hollywood lawyer Danny Roth is the victim of a world-class wine heist - and he is devastated. Sam Levitt, former corporate lawyer, wine connoisseur, and expert on cultivated crime, is called in by Roth's insurance company, now saddled with a multi-million-dollar claim. His leads take him first to Bordeaux's magnificent vineyards and then to glorious Provence. Along the way, bien sûr, he's joined by a beautiful French colleague, Sophie. In their quest to discover the truth, Sam and Sophie must explore many a château and its contents. The unravelling of this ingenious crime is threaded through with Mayle's seductive rendering of France's sensory delights. From the fine wines of Bordeaux to the bouillabaisse of Marseille, this is pure vintage Mayle.
An indispensable, hugely informative and consistently entertaining guide to Provence by the best-selling writer who has made the region his own. Organised from A-Z but far from a conventional work of reference, this is a selection of those aspects of Provence that Peter Mayle has found in his twenty years there to be the most interesting, delicious or downright fun. In more than 200 entries - from ail to Francois Zola - he writes about subjects as diverse as architecture, expatriates, lavender, linguistic oddities, the museum of the corkscrew and a bawdy folklore character named Fanny. And, of course, he writes about food and drink: truffles, olives, bouillabaisse, and the cheese that killed a Roman Emperor. He also features artwork that he has gathered over the years - drawings, advertisements, photos and pieces from tourist brochures. Anything qualifies, as long as it has piqued Mayle's curiosity - hence the inclusion of a recipe for tapenade and a morning spent with a public executioner.
Gastronomy is a wonderful starting point to study France and the French. As the retired school master from Provence says 'The religion of France is food. And wine, of course.' And they put their money where their mouth is, spending a greater proportion of their income on food and drink than any other nation in the world. Literally hundreds of gastronomic fairs and festivals take place throughout the year all over France - a frog fair, an hommage to the sausage, to the turnip, to the quiche and the noble Camembert. What kind of person is a snail-fancier? Is there a brotherhood of sausage connoisseurs? How can you devote an entire weekend to the French fry? Peter Mayle finds out and brings hilariously and affectionately to life the people who can get passionate about a frog's leg or a well-turned omelette. Over ten years ago he transformed our feelings about Provence, now he captures the irresistible essence of France herself - and her food.
Simon Shaw is 42, freshly divorced and tired. As he surveys the desolation of his former home in the wake of his ex-wife, he yearns for a life free of complications. But somehow a short break in the warm seductive air of Provence quickly turns into something more.
The Marseille Caper
Sam Levitt, former corporate lawyer, wine connoisseur and expert on cultivated crime, is back in Marseille, for both work and pleasure - the lure of excitement and the pleasures of the region proving too tempting to resist. But surrounded by gangsters and cut-throat developers, Sam finds himself far closer to danger than he had planned...
A photographer on a visit to a house featured in a magazine he works for, discovers that a Cézanne painting has been stolen from there. With the editor of the magazine as the suspect thief, he is sent on pursuit of her and the Cézanne through London, the South of France and New York.
Bennett is a drifter, attracted to the good life in the South of France and willing to try anything for easy money. He ends up in trouble with some crooks trying to corner the white truffle market, his trouble taking him to yachts in the Mediterranean, Monaco and even further as the plot thickens.
The Corsican Caper
When billionaire Francis Reboul finds himself on the wrong side of a Russian tycoon, he's fortunate to have vacationing friends Sam Levitt and Elena Morales on hand to help him out. Now it's up to Sam who's saved Reboul's neck before to negotiate with an underworld of mercenaries, hit men, and Mafioso, to prevent his friend from becoming a victim of Russian diplomacy. As usual, Sam and Elena still find time to enjoy the good life, but as Sam's sleuthing draws him closer to the truth, he realizes Reboul might not be the only one in trouble. Rich with clever twists, sparkling scenery, and mouthwatering gustatory interludes as only Peter Mayle can write them, The Corsican Caper is an adventure 'par excellence.'
The Diamond Caper
Bon vivant and expert sleuth Sam Levitt and his partner in love and intrigue, Elena Morales, return in the latest installment of the delightfully sun-splashed Provencal 'Caper' series.
When a Riviera socialite's diamonds are stolen the latest in a string of seemingly unconnected but ever-more-audacious jewelry heists across France Elena flies in to investigate the insurance claim. It's a trip she's more than happy to make, as it gives her a chance to meet up with old friends in Marseille and, particularly, with Sam.
Once reunited, Sam isn't entirely distracted by domestic matters. In the pattern of these perfect crimes he's beginning to see a master at work, and he's quickly determined to connect and solve the cases. But as he and Elena dig deeper, they begin to realize just how much is connected and how dangerous it may be to pursue the whole truth.
Meanwhile, there's a house to renovate, rosé to share, and feasts of Provencal summer bounty to enjoy. Full of Peter Mayle's inimitable wit and style, The Diamond Caper is sure to charm faithful fans and new readers alike.
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