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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?
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!
A good mystery
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Critic - Peter May
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!
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.
It took me about 15 pages to get hooked into the story but from there, I never looked back. It was so very easy to embrace all the characters particularly the lead, Enzo MacLeod, who was enchanting in brusque kind of way. I liked that the author was able to weave in a story about Enzo’s sidekick, Nicole, without detracting from the main mystery. Peter May puts in enough twists and blind alleys to keep the reader fully engaged and writes with a great deal of wit and humor. If you’re a wine lover, you will enjoy this book on an even more intimate level. This was my first Peter May book. I took so much pleasure from it, I immediately secured the first in the series, “Extraordinary People” and look forward to all future endeavors.
Francophiles and winophiles will love it.
Peter May sets The Critic among the vineyards of Southwestern France. He has a sharp eye for local color and obviously appreciates things French, as well as the interesting intersection of modern business and ancient craft which is today's world of wine. May's solid who-done-it should keep even teetotalers turning the pages.