Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Martin Walker
Quercus, July 2009
304 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 1847249159

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In the wrong hands, this series set in rural France could be worryingly twee, with a village cop seemingly spending most of his time eating and drinking and knowing all there is to know about his neighbours (and they know his business as well!)

But former Guardian journalist Martin Walker has again produced a charming and relaxed tale with a distinct backbone, just as he did with Bruno Courrèges' first outing.

Bruno is chief of police in the village of St Denis. He's woken early one morning and summoned to a fire. Investigations show that GM crops were being grown there – and that the fire was arson. And then an American businessman with a nose for trouble turns up. He's a winemaker who wants to buy up the valley and turn it into a serious wine-making operation, rather than the small-scale 'dabbling' presently done by the locals.

Bruno's boss, the Mayor, is attracted to the idea as it will bring jobs to the area. But Bruno, who's not averse to change, is worried that it will alter the way of life of the valley. The outsiders, meanwhile, are perfectly willing to fight dirty and threaten to take their business elsewhere – particularly when people are murdered.

BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE was one of my top ten books of 2008 – its rather cutsey title and hardback cover didn't reflect what was inside. But this time publishers Quercus have shifted the focus with a darker emphasis on both.

Walker is a natural storyteller, who utilises the understated approach to great effect. He has an enviable ability to create memorable cameo characters among the villagers with just a few well-chosen sentences.

Bruno's life isn't as perfect as it seems – he harbours dark memories from his time in the army. And he has a rather unfulfilled – but not too intrusive – love life. You get the feeling, too, that the rural idyll, again threatened by outsiders, has any number of secrets seething below the surface.

Friends of mine live in a tiny village in the Dordogne and have given Walker's books the thumbs-up – and that's praise indeed.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, September 2009

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]