I recently discovered MARTIN WALKER and his series of books featuring Benoit (aka Bruno) Courreges, chief of police of St. Denis in the Perigord region of southwestern France. Book 1 is titled BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE that I have read. My biggest regret is that I did not read this book in 2011 when my wife and I visited the region. Even so, I do remember some of the places mentioned in this book.
Bruno is police chief of the small, rural town of St. Denis. He is a military veteran of the war in the Balkans. There he met the love of his life, only to lose her in a massacre during which he was wounded. He returns to St. Denis and becomes police chief. All of this took place before the story begins but is told via flashbacks.
The story begins in the late spring when an elderly Muslim North African WWII war hero is found murdered and tortured in his cabin. His son and grandson are friends of Bruno and the family is popular in St. Denis. A Nazi Swastika is carved on the victim’s chest. Why that was done is centermost to Bruno’s investigation. The hate crime aspect brings in the national police and much bad publicity. It also introduces a female inspector, to whom Bruno is attracted, perhaps changing his life. A drug crime is a secondary storyline involving teen lovers from the area. How Bruno and the national police solve the crimes are interesting stories.
If you are a fan of police procedurals, if you love to read about interesting places, if you are food lover, then read this book. Personally, I cannot wait to read the next in this multibook series.
This was my book club's selection, not my usual genre. But, I was pleasantly surprised and finished the book! I thought it would be a light mystery, but it turned out to be a very modern story with historical references that I found very interesting. Looking forward to reading more in the series.
Series recommended by Alice
The first of a series about life and crime in a small town in southwestern France spiced with good food, wine and crime. Some of the historical connection with Algeria is a good touch.
Very worth while to read this background on our beloved character, Bruno, chief of police in small town France. Can't add any more than what other fans have written below.
Having been in this area this year, Martin has absolutely nailed it! Can't wait to get hold of the next book in the series. Louise Penny, watch out!
There are many things to like about this book:
- A pervasive sense of place, local atmosphere and the pace of life in a small French market town.
- Convincing and complex personalities; Bruno is no one-dimensional cop; he has been wounded but is not cynical, has retained his humanity.
- A story line that holds together from beginning to end, makes sense, never farfetched.
- Frequent pauses in the pursuit of a solution, while Bruno takes time for love, friends and above all, food -- this is, after all, France (we are even treated to menus and recipes!).
- A highly informative insight into the political history of France and Algeria from WW2 to the present day, a topic not likely to be at all familiar to most readers.
So, if you're eager for an intense, action-packed crime drama, this one is not for you. But neither is it a tea-cozy mystery; the crime at issue is brutal enough and the cultural/racial tensions in the community are significant. Walker has achieved a remarkable balance, presenting a highly readable mystery populated by engaging characters.
A really well done police procedural set in France where Bruno is the chief of the small town and he knows everyone. The later twist in plot was something I knew little about, so it was also informative. I look forward to reading more.
Police procedural in a glorious setting, with a likeable, laid-back but obviously competent, small-town cop. Really interesting immersion in issues of French culture such as E.U. regulations, the Front National, and the massive immigration from Arab countries, with plenty of historical perspective. But everything stops for a gourmet meal. Terrific first entry in the Bruno Courrèges series.
Finally, a French mystery that explains how the various police and legal institutions fit together.
There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.
There are no summaries for this title yet.
There are no notices for this title yet.
There are no quotes for this title yet.