Bemused Brit Paul West steps in it once again when a romantic getaway to the south of France is spoiled by international intrigue When the glorious oceanographer Gloria Monday convinces Paul West to travel to the swank beaches of southern France—where she’s investigating caviar-smuggling cartels—he assumes he’s about to have the time of his life. But for West, France has always been full of surprises underfoot, and this trip is no exception to the rule. He’s soon dragged into an undercover investigation that goes all the way to the top and leaves him feeling sometimes like James Bond, sometimes like Inspector Clouseau. Dial M for Merde is a comic caper that pokes fun at French society at every level, from pompous politicians to grumpy waitstaff.
|Publisher:||Open Road Media|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||1 MB|
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It took me a while to get into, but then I liked it.
My review copy of Dial M for Merde was graciously provided by the good people at Open Road Media Marketing. Special thanks to Kayla Shaw at Open Road for reaching out and inviting me to review the book. If you’re not familiar with the “Merde” books (A Year in the Merde, In the Merde for Love, Merde Happens), you really should be. They’re a very fun collection of quirky, goofy tales about the exploits of Paul West, a British ex-pat living in France. The books are a series of first-person narratives that read, like the best fiction, in a style that feels semi-autobiographical (the author, Stephen Clarke, is himself a Brit living in Paris). At least, they feel that way right up until the inevitable bizarre hijinks start. Then, well, they just feel like funny, silly fiction – in the best possible way. The latest installment has Paul gallivanting off to the South of France with a hottie named Gloria Monday. It seems like an ideal vacation – but for the inexplicable presence of commandos, his friend Elodie’s pending wedding to the drug-addled son of a a hyper-matriarchal family of old French money, the hottie’s weird sturgeon-obsession – and her insistence on being called “M” like some sort of James Bond character, that is… There’s drama and comedy and even a lesson or two about the importance of caviar. It’s good stuff. Sounds wild, no? It’s actually pretty de rigueur for Paul – which is the good thing and the bad thing about this series. I absolutely loved the first book, quite enjoyed the second, and was a little less enthusiastic about the third. This is my fourth foray into Paul’s world, and while I did find the writing to be as enjoyable and engaging, the characters to be as wacky, and the situations they find themselves in to be as goofball-fun as in the previous iterations, I also felt somewhat like I was reading the same book again. It’s a good book, don’t get me wrong, but it’s starting to feel a little overly comfortable. In each book, Paul blunders his way into some bizarre drama, barely manages to escape with his skin, and somehow always ends up the hero at the end of the day. There are enough misunderstandings for several episodes of Three’s Company (I know I just dated myself there, but it’s true), enough linguistic and/or cultural booboos to make a protocol officer blush, and hilarity always ensues. There are laugh-out-loud parts to each and every book, whether situational or conversational, and the characters are a great mix of stereotypes and defiantly unique individuals. The good thing is that each book consistently has each of these elements, because they’re very enjoyable to read. The bad thing is that each book consistently has each of these elements, because I’ve come to expect them. This doesn’t make the good parts less good, but it does leave me constantly on the look out for the twist or unexpected spin, which makes the surprise less surprising when it inevitably gets revealed. I read the first three books in rapid succession. It’s been a while since I read the last one, and I did enjoy this one more as a result I think. My unsolicited advice, therefore: wander into Paul’s world for a vacation every now and then. Don’t overindulge. Pace yourself. Like the best vacations, you don’t want to overdo it – too much of a good thing makes the good feel less so. Sprinkle these books in with your other reading though, and you’re sure to enjoy yourself when you do.
i ordered this book from bn back in 2009 as a gift but the order was cancelled by bn due to being out of stock so i gave up on getting it since i could not find it on borders or amazon either. suddently it was listed again a few months ago so i ordered a copy & was able to give this book to my wife finally & so now i think she has the complete series. i'm not a fan of most fiction so i cannot comment further