The Critic: Book summary and reviews of The Critic by Peter May

The Critic

The Second of the Enzo Files

By Peter May

The Critic
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2007,
    300 pages.

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Book Summary

Gil Petty, the world's number one wine critic, went missing during a tasting tour of the little-known wine region of Gaillac. Three years ago, his body was discovered strung up on a cross in the vineyards of southwest France.

Dressed in the ceremonial crimson robes of the Brotherhood of the Order of the Divine Bottle, the semi-decayed body had been preserved in red wine before being planted like a scarecrow among the heavily-laden vines. Petty's murderer was never found.

Scots exile and former forensics expert, Enzo Macleod reopens this well-chilled cold case to discover that the genteel world of winemakers hides a business driven by greed, envy, and desperation. In the idyllic vineyards, Enzo finds no shortage of possible killers: local winemakers, The Brotherhood of the Divine Bottle - an ancient society dedicated to promoting Gaillac wine, and Petty's daughter, Michelle. Will this elusive killer strike again?

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Oenophiles and fans of CBS's Cold Case will relish May's slightly far-fetched second outing to feature France-based Scottish sleuth Enzo Macleod (after 2006's Extraordinary People)." - Publishers Weekly.

"Another oenophile's tip sheet with the bonus of a finely crafted and surprising mystery." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Shannon
Not compelled to keep up with the series
It was an interesting enough story and I did finish the book, but I didn't find myself compelled to keep reading it. I wasn't really attached to any of the characters – as a matter of fact Enzo actually turned me off at times and Nicole irritated me with her naivete and talking about things she shouldn't. Maybe if I had started with the first one in the series I would have been more interested in the characters. Instead I felt like I was missing out on part of the storyline. Or maybe it was a matter of being written by a man with a male main character and it would appeal to men more?

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Anne
The Critic by Peter May
Before I began this one, I went to my local library to find Extraordinary People, the first in the Enzo Macleod series by Peter May, and I'm glad I did -- otherwise some of the relationships between Enzo and his various "women" would have been confusing to me. And there are plenty of women!

There's also a good deal of oenology to keep up with, but as I enjoy an occasional glass myself, The Critic just added to my [admittedly small] store of knowledge about French wines and wine-making. This is a good mystery set in a part of France I don't know at all, although I teach French [and I am appalled at the spelling errors May's "editors" allowed him to get away with in his first book; for someone who actually lives in France, he has a limited grasp on the language, or so it seems] and have travelled there extensively. I'd love to see this part of the country and, having very much enjoyed this book [and I'm looking forward to more of the series], will put this area on my itinerary.

Not really suited for a book club, but mystery lovers should enjoy it.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Eileen
A good mystery
Enzo McLeod goes to Gallic wine country to solve a cold case of a wine critic. He meets with resistance from the local gendarmes and the wine growers. The story is full of twists and plot turns. The explanations of wine making and wine tasting enrich the mystery.
I think this book is a good read for mystery lovers.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Cathy
The Critic
I can't put my finger on why I didn't love this book - it had all the right ingredients: murder, intrigue great setting. I certainly didn't hate it, but it didn't grab my attention the way a good mystery should. The writing was very good, and the ending was terrific. Maybe it was the characters: I just couldn't get emotional about any of them except the main character's student assistant. The story had some intersting twists - I think that's what kept me reading to the very end.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Steve & Linda
For Love of The Critic
If you love wine or just wish you knew more about the art of wine making with a great mystery thrown in; this book is for you! The heady smell of grapes hanging heavy on their vines permeates this regional novel.

Join Enzo Macleod as he drinks and solves his way through this clever mystery. This is a smartly-written, fast-paced page turner. Don't miss it!

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Ray
The Critic - Peter May
Peter May's novel, The Critic, involves the investigation into the mysterious death of a wine critic in France. Ironically enough, the body of the wine critic is found drowned in a cask of wine. Investigator Enzo MacLeod, Scottish exile, delves into this case and finds himself literally immersed in the winemaking trade of France and all the jealousies & competition involved in that business.

While not a wine expert myself, I found myself intrigued by the settings of this novel - many vineyards in the French countryside. I found May's style similar to that of Donna Leon's descriptions of Venice. However, I found the pace of this novel somewhat slow and it took too long to get to the climax. Overall, a good read for oenophiles and fans of European mysteries.

...11 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Peter May Author Biography

Photo: Domi Photographe

Peter May won the Scottish Young Journalist of the Year Award at the age of 21, and had his first novel published at 26. He then left journalism and became one of Scotland's most successful and prolific television dramatists. By the age of 30 he had created two major TV series, The Standard and Squadron, for the British television network, the BBC. He went on to gather more than 1000 TV credits in fifteen years, creating and writing major drama serials for both BBC and ITV in the UK: including the ground-breaking Gaelic serial Machair, which he also produced.

Returning now to novels, the six novels in his outstanding China Thrillers series have won critical acclaim. To research the series, Peter May makes annual trips to China. With an extraordinary network of contacts, he ...

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