21 Jan 2013

The Vintage Caper And The Marseille Caper

I remember when I was very young how books were oftentimes like best friends… They were my constant companions… sometimes they were more like crushes… I couldn’t leave them alone…and even to this day I am never without a book… by the bed or in my bag… Long tales, short stories… I enjoy them all… romance , history, detective novels… and memoirs.

One of our Christmas traditions is to give each other books… and as I can’t read enough about France, especially Provence… these two from Peter Mayle, The Vintage Caper and The Marseille Caper were read at lightening speed… A little mystery, much talk of wine and both set in Marseille… Light and frothy, easy and short… they are the perfect read when relaxation and mental escape is what you desire.

The Vintage Caper… here or on kindle here

The Marseille Caper… here

If you haven’t read them yet… enjoy them… I think you will… xv

Anthropologie (UK)

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Annette Piper

I too love to read and have since an early age. I remember journeying around Europe as a pre-teen with Dickens & Austen my constant companions (and the only books we could find in English!)

I’m glad to say my girls are just like me, its nice to hand down a love of reading :)


Mine too Annette… I always feel if you have a love of reading you can never be lonely…:)

david terry

Oh, Vicki….

I like to think that I’m not a “foodie”…just a constant cook…..rather as, in regard to religion, I hope that I’m sufficiently devout without being off-puttingly pious.

That said? I just had a dispirting moment after reading your headline “The Vintage Caper & The Marseilles Caper”.

My first thought was “Oh…I haven’t heard of THAT distinction”…(as though most cooks in France used only aged capers, whereas folks in Marseilles insisted on ones just-picked off the bush).

Of course, it turns out that you’re discussing books. How silly of me.

Perhaps Ican be forgiven for over-thinking food issues this morning. I’m having guests for dinner tonight—-one couple has just finished the European and American book-tours for their new cookbook (which is on the NYTimes bestselling cookbooks list)….they’re bringing their friend, who just happens (as we all do from time to time?) to be the author/editor of about twenty cookbooks, in addition having been the editor of “Food & Wine” magazine for a decade.

Several friends have horrifiedly asked me what in the world I plan to make for these high-flying foodie folks. I’ve said that I don’t intend to worry too much over the matter—-that would be like my inviting the entire Los Angeles Lakers basketball team over for a barbecue and worrying over whether I’m going to look short.

I’ll look into these books you’ve recommended. I’ve never read any fiction by Mayles, oddly enough (given that I’ve read what I assume is all of his non-fiction).

Level best as Ever,
David Terry


Cheese on toast or macaroni cheese… is what I would feed them … and I am sure after their gastronomic tour of Europe… they would love you for it..:)

I remember inviting a chef for dinner years ago … I struggled with what to feed him… decided on Japanese and knocked myself out trying to prepare the impossible…
After many wines he finally admitted that whenever he was invited to someone’s home… they always feed him Japanese! Imagine my embarrassment… He said what we really wanted was a simple home cooked… dare I say… macaroni and cheese… roast chicken and mashed potato… steak and chips…

Have a fabulous dinner… I am sure it will be… :)

Nancie B

I LOVE Peter Mayle’s writing. “A Year in Provence” had me laughing out loud. I have read The Vintage Caper but am always looking for something new…
And I,too, was concerned this was going to be a post on different types of capers for cooking. And I had failed to differentiate the two caper types and therefore been a total food failure.
What a relief-just something new and fun to read.


That’s so funny… I never even thought of capers when I wrote the title! although I do like them… lots…:)

Anita Rivera

Bonjour Vicki!

I have not read these yet, but I am sure I will enjoy them as I so loved and devoured A YEAR IN PROVENCE and its sequel!

Books are like a best friend, aren’t they!

Happy reading, Anita


-1 Jeanne… and still snowing… I did venture out and snapped away… camera froze as did my fingers! If the snow keeps up I will have to go out really early again tomorrow… It’s so beautiful in London… you would love it…:)


I’ll have to look up those two books. I’ve read Chasing Cezanne by Mayle and enjoyed the lighthearted story. There’s nothing like a book about a warm climate to help stay cozy on a winter’s day.

Vintage Finds

Perfect timing as always…. I had 2 left over novels after I grabbed 4 at the airport a couple of weeks ago. All took my fancy at the time and didn’t get through them on the plane. This weekend have just devoured the last 2 and seem to be in a reading mode this week! Thanks for adding the fuel….

Hope your week’s going well.


I’m a bookworm since my childhood. Remember well, that I got problems with my parents when they discovered that I was reading till late night under the blanket. I still have this love for books and even I prefer more ambitious reading, yes, I enjoyed all books of P.Mayle as well. Easy reading while on holiday. By the way, a big thank you for advising “Madame Hemingway” and now I can’t wait to witness the extraordinary time of the 20’s in “Paris..a feast for life”which I just ordered.

miss b

Anything by Peter Mayle is sure to be a good read ……both books now added to my must-read list. Thanks for the recommendation and by the way, thank you for your lovely comment. I appreciate your visits to my blog!

Sophia Wadsworth

Thank you so much for the suggestions Vicki – I shall add them to my reading list – love Peter Mayle! I am thoroughly enjoying ‘The most beautiful walk in the World’ by John Baxter, at the moment, which you recommended some time ago.

Stay warm!

Sophia x


I have been a high school teacher for 13 years and one of our greatest concerns about kids and technology is that they have stopped reading…in fact they seem to be annoyed by reading lately. I so hope we can continue to send messages to the younger generation of the joys of holding a book in your hand and the joys found within the pages. Thank you for being one who holds this banner high!

Ana from T.O.

Love reading. Mostly ficiton. Some of them can be so terribly exhausting due to the story line, the characters and depth of writing…that after every 3rd, 4th book I need to switch to a lighter, fun book. And Peter Mayle is one of those authors that fit the bill. Great writing and tremendously enjoyable. I’ve read all his books. My humble suggestion is to read ‘A Good Year’ full of charming characters & a plot that twists and turns with each page. Then, when it’s a gloomy day outside rent the movie which stars Russell Crowe and Marion Cotillard. The story line is set in London and Provence…Vicki, your neck of the woods…and enjoy! P.S. most of the ‘Provence’ part of the film was shot in Luberon.


I do love the movie… And when I watch it .. it rings so true… I remember seeing it for the first time in a cinema in London… being transported… sighing, as was the rest of the audience… when I suddenly thought… what on earth was I doing in London when I could be at home in Provence!! :)


May I pitch a charming book, written by a former colleague and dear friend? It’s “Le Coeur n’a pas de rides” (The heart doesn’t have wrinkles), by Marina Rozenman. True vignettes of couples who found love after age 70. Marina is young — in her 30s — but she writes about these people with dignity, sensitivity and wit. You might have seen her on TV–she did the rounds of all the French shows promoting her book. The book is in French, but anyone who has read those high school French class standbys like The Stranger or Le Petit Prince will be able to read it just fine.


Thank you Vicki, always love book suggestions! I am an avid reader since I was a kid too, we used to walked to the library, my friends and I on summer break, such fun.. the dog would wait at the library door for us.. so sweet..and thanks for the London photos of the snow, just awesome. we are awaiting the snow in NY thanks Noelle


Just read The Marseille Caper. Fast and fun read. Peter Mayle can “turn a phrase.”

And they ate, always well and sometimes memorably. Philippe had sent them off with a list of his favorite addresses, and they quickly slipped into the French habit of planning the day’s sightseeing around the stomach. Thus, lunchtime and the dinner hour would conveniently find them close to a little auberge or an exceptional chef.
pg. 156


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