by Peter Mayle
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Hanky-Panky on the international art scene is the source of the hilarity and fizz in Peter Mayle's new novel. He flies us back to the south of France (a region some readers of his irresistible best-sellers believe him to have invented), on a wild chase through galleries, homes of prominent collectors, and wickedly delectable restaurants. There are stopovers in the Bahamas and England, and in New York, where that glossiest of magazines, Decorating Quarterly, reflects the cutting-edge trendiness of its editor, Camilla Jameson Porter. (Camilla has recently broken new ground in the world of power lunches by booking two tables on the same day, and shuttling between them, at the city's trendiest restaurant.). It is Camilla who has sent our hero, Andre Kelly, to Cap Ferrat to take glamorous photographs of the houses and treasures of the rich, famous, and fatuous. He happens to have his camera at the ready when he spots a Cezanne being loaded onto a plumber's truck near the home of an absent collector. Odd, thinks Andre. And in no time he's on the trail of a state-of-the-art art scam, chasing Cezanne. It's a joy to follow him and the crowds intent on speeding or foiling his quest - including a beautiful agent; a super-savvy art dealer attracted to the finer things in life, especially if they promise the payoff of a lifetime; an awesome Dutch forger; some outstandingly greedy New York sophisticates; and, invisible in the background, the parade of remarkable chefs whose mouthwatering culinary masterpieces periodically soothe the hero and tantalize the reader of Chasing Cezanne.
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