Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Two books by Martin Walker

59. Bruno, Chief of Police - first in the Bruno, Chief of Police series
by Martin Walker
mystery, 2008
Kindle book - 6
finished, 9/18/10

62. The Dark Vineyard : A mystery of the French countryside - second in the Bruno, Chief of Police series
by Martin Walker
mystery, 2009
Kindle book - 9
finished, 10/1/10

I expect that many of us in the US 'know' the French countryside through the pages of Peter Mayle's books about Provence. I was delighted to read that he is still there, happily living the good life.

Now we have another area to explore - the Dordogne region in the new mystery series by Martin Walker.

From the opening words of Bruno, Chief of Police, I was captured:
The town emerged from the lush green of the trees and meadows like a tumbled heap of treasure; the golden stone of the buildings, the ruby red tiles of the rooftops and the silver curve of the river running through it. The houses clustered down the slope and around the main square...
Though Saint-Denis is a fictional town, it probably looks much like Hautefort.

In Roberta Rood's excellent review of The Dark Vineyard, she says that Bruno reminds her of Hamish Macbeth, the Scottish policeman in M.C. Beaton's series, and I agree. I found myself thinking about Hamish often. These men are both completely contented in their small villages. They don't long to be promoted because it would mean having to move away. They love the routines of their daily lives, and they love the people in their communities. When Benoit Courreges, known as Bruno, first came to be the town's policeman ten years ago, he was given an old tumbledown shepherd's cottage on four hectares (about ten acres) of land. Over time he has made it into a country haven. He grows food and keeps chickens, and has a basset hound, Gigi.

As those of us who read mysteries know so well, in the most beautiful, placid surroundings crime often abounds. In the first book, there is a brutal murder of an elderly war hero, and in the second there is arson and murder. The troubled past invades the peaceful present, both in the village and in Bruno's own memory of his time as a peacekeeper in Bosnia.

I learned so much about life in France during the Second World War; I learned about the effects of France being part of the European Union; I learned about the Algerian War.

So we have an idyllic setting, beautifully described and we have crimes with fascinating details. We have stories of historical interest. What more could we ask for? Oh, yes. Food. The food is very important in the books. People are always eating good food and drinking good wine.

I loved spending my reading time here, and I hope there will be more and more books in this excellent series. Please visit the delightful Bruno, Chief of Police site to learn more about the books and the area.


  1. Dear Nan, so good to have you back blogging again! I've learned of so many wonderful mysteries and series from reading your posts. I must try these two new ones by Martin Walker -- they sound perfect to me. I also have a couple of friends who I think would love them too, so I shall certainly recommend them. Thanks again, Canadian Chickadee

  2. Canadian Chickadee, thank you very much! I think you and your friends will love these books. I sure do.

  3. Nan, I LOVED the first Bruno book and am waiting to read the second THE DARK VINEYARD, soon as it comes back around at the library. I reviewed BRUNO - CHIEF OF POLICE on my blog as well. Terrific book.

  4. I've read all the Peter Mayle books, I believe. I'll have to look for these Walker ones. (Although my list is getting REALLY long! I'm going to have to quit blogging so much and read more!)

  5. Yvette, I'll be over to read it.

    Rebecca, I know what you mean.

  6. Lovely book report Nan. I think you're really using that Kindle big time!! I can't wait until my son lets me babysit his!! He's leaving Jan 3 for boot camp and he's going to let me play with it to see if I want one too.

  7. Staci, thank you, and yes, I do love my Kindle. It is perfect for bedtime reading. Easy to hold and easy to turn the 'pages.'

  8. Gosh Nan! I just recently started reading the Hamish Macbeth series. I love English mysteries and learned about that one through a PBS special; I feel as if I'm quite a few steps behind here. But if I ever finish Ms Beaton's series, I'll look at this one. (I've also read her Agatha Raisin series, which I don't like quite as much.)

  9. This sounds like another of your book recommendations that I will have to find--when the busyness of autumn gives way to indoor time.
    Our library here is rather disappointing, but perhaps they can borrow through inter-library loans.

  10. Nan, I haven't heard of this series before but I'm sure going to check my library. Thanks so much for the review and hopefully a new author for me to read!!

  11. Sallie, I do love Hamish! Both these series have a very strong sense of place.

    Morning's Minion, I love the ILL program. I get so many books that way!

    Sherri, it's a great series.

  12. Hope you like it, Susie! I sure did.


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