Postmark Paris


When I was young, it drove my parents crazy that all their letter envelopes had ragged rectangular tears around the top right corner. I was the likely culprit, as I was the only one in the house who collected stamps. I didn’t get a lot of mail as a kid so of course I was always into the family mail, tearing into my mom and dad’s letters, their business correspondence, and holiday greetings from relatives all over the world. I also enjoyed going to the bookstore during weekends to buy sets of stamps (I don’t think bookstores have them anymore today) with my weekly savings.

I forgot about stamps until recently, when I was reorganizing my displaced stuff that survived the flood and found my old stamp albums with my old collecting still safely intact. Best of all, I had a thick wad of stamps to add to my collection, as for the past year that I’ve been on BookMooch, I’d been mindlessly clipping out stamps from the inordinate amount of packages I’d been receiving and I now had a whole ziplock bag filled with stamps! Continue reading “Postmark Paris”

Chasing Cezanne by Peter Mayle

This was the first Peter Mayle book I ever read, and I had no idea that he was a travel writer so I was in a totally different frame of mind when I read it, expecting an art heist thriller. But like all Mayle’s books, Chasing Cezanne is more like a travel book than anything else. It also reads like chick lit, which is kind of weird, because the protagonist is male.
The premise was really good: photographer Andre Kelly is off on a shoot when he sees a Cezanne being removed from the premises of a former client. He photographs this event and is embroiled in a chase for the missing painting.

Except that it’s got to be the most leisurely chase I’ve ever read — Andre and his gang (a fastidious art dealer, plus Andre’s love interest Lucy) stop to eat and sightsee (and sleep together) every chance they get, hehe.

The language is languid and dreamy, the descriptions are beautiful and picturesque. No rip-roaring chases here — the book is more like Under the Tuscan Sun than Da Vinci Code.

Even Cezanne is only incidental, you can substitute some other painter’s name in the title and the story wouldn’t change, that’s how little Cezanne. And there’s very little actual art discussed, other than the process of selling famous paintings and a bit of forgery (haha, Incognito was a great movie for that!). Actually I think even the mystery is only incidental, it was just a reason for Andre to get together with Lucy and romp from New York to Paris and the South of France.

Worth reading for the travelogue and food commentary — this is what Mayle does best, and he delivers commendably, but mystery lovers might feel shortchanged.

My copy: trade paperback upgraded into a hardcover with dust jacket

My rating: 3/5 stars

Photo courtesy of Amazon (