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Anything ConsideredPeter Mayle
Again venturing into the wryly humorous thriller territory of Hotel Pastis, Mayle has produced another caper heavily larded with local color and gastronomic adventures. And again, as in his novels and his nonfiction evocations of Provence, truffles play a crucial role.
Here his protagonist is Bennett, a Brit expatriate on his uppers. Having lost his savings in an investment scam, he is intent on finding the means to reside in Saint-Martin in Provence. He advertises his services: "Anything considered except marriage" - and is hired by Julian Poe, a stupendously wealthy fellow Brit, who needs help in evading the French income tax.
Pretending to be Poe in the latter's Monaco apartment, Bennett becomes involved in the hijacking of a case containing the secret formula for the successful cultivation of the elusive black truffle. When the Italian Mafioso who stole the formula auctions his loot aboard his yacht, Poe, scheming to substitute a fake, sends Bennett to steal it back. He also sends Anna, a savvy and sexy mercenary enforcer from New York, to help protect his interests.
After they recover the formula, Anna persuades Bennett to up his fee to a cool million. With the furious Italians joining Poe in the hot pursuit, the now romantically involved extortioners gormandize their lusty way across the south of France while outwitting their pursuers. Mayle makes froth highly palatable in this larky chronicle of sybaritic pleasures and larcenous activities.