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The Diamond Caper


The Diamond Caper

Peter Mayle’s Caper mysteries are light yet engaging, and are as much concerned at any given moment with the flora and fauna of the very, very European rich --- the one percent of the one percent --- as they are with the mystery at hand. One page flows into another, with few demands on the reader. The books aren’t long, and the plots aren’t especially involved; you could almost call them French Riviera cozies.

THE DIAMOND CAPER finds series stalwarts Sam Levitt and Elena Morales getting set to move to coastal France. Elena’s latest assignment as an insurance investigator --- a multi-million-dollar jewel heist from a very well-heeled couple --- has left her tired of the industry and ready to move on. Sam spends so much time there already that he might as well live there. They purchase a home that doesn’t have much going for it but has one of the best views to be had in the area. Once the deed is in hand, they retain a highly prized local architect who sets about transforming the house from Cinderella into a princess.

"Mayle has lived for a quarter-century in the area frequented by his characters and reliably chronicles the cultural ins and outs that one may encounter..."

It eventually comes to Sam’s attention that there have been a number of jewel heists throughout France that have been quite similar to the one that became Elena’s swan song in the insurance industry. He is intrigued but sets an almost languid pace in his investigation. After all, there are parties to attend, lunches and dinners to sample, and spirits of all manner and sorts to quaff. Well, not exactly quaff; a gentleman sips. Sam doesn’t have a hollow leg, but one would be forgiven for thinking he does. These books are certainly an advertisement for the good life, and Sam and Elena are right in the middle of it.

Sam eventually does determine the identity of the culprits behind the jewel thefts, and while his deductions cause a slight bump in the road in his ongoing relationship with Elena, the fact that he is correct in his suppositions gives the couple an opportunity to naughtily smooth that bump over, though ever so discreetly off of the page.

Mayle has lived for a quarter-century in the area frequented by his characters and reliably chronicles the cultural ins and outs that one may encounter, including a local cure for a hangover and an interesting description of what passes for a measuring contest when acceptance into a social circle is being considered. Also included is a mystery for your added pleasure. THE DIAMOND CAPER is a literary candy in the dish, one that you may not ordinarily enjoy but nevertheless cannot resist.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on October 23, 2015

The Diamond Caper
by Peter Mayle

  • Publication Date: July 26, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 0804173192
  • ISBN-13: 9780804173193