Monday, June 30, 2014

Hotel Pastis

By Peter Mayle

Simon Shaw has a pretty good life. A busy advertising executive, he has a nice home, fancy cars, a manservant and plenty of money in the bank. What he doesn't have is happiness. His marriage has just ended and he is frankly bored with his job. He needs a change of scenery. So he goes to France, driving his Porche to Provence. But he has an accident in his car and it gets a little damage, requiring repairs. The local mechanic says it may be several days before the needed parts arrive. Which is OK, because Simon has just met an attractive woman whose car is also being repaired and it isn't long before they get together.
The woman, Nicole, eventually talks Simon into investing in a local building project and turning it into a hotel. Simon, who enjoyed his time in Provence and, especially, his time with Nicole, agrees and retires from the ad agency and spends lots of money fixing up the building to be a hotel. His manservant, Ernest, is a natural born hotel manager and takes over much of the work of the daily running of a hotel.
So the hotel opens and is a huge success, with some minor complications, including payoffs to the local mobster and the accidental kidnapping of a rich man's college-age son by a group of bike-riding bank robbers.

This was an enjoyable read. The author makes the area sound like heaven on Earth,  which I doubt that it is. I'm sure it has its charms but it must have it faults too, like anywhere. The story is light and no one gets hurt and all turns out well in the end for everyone, even the disenchanted Simon.
For another review, see:,,20106712,00.html.

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