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The first installment in a wonderful new series that follows the exploits of Benoît Courrèges, a policeman in a small French village where the rituals of the café still rule. Bruno—as he is affectionately nicknamed—may be the town’s only municipal policeman, but in the hearts and minds of its denizens, he is chief of police.
Bruno is a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life—living in his restored shepherd’s cottage; patronizing the weekly market; sparring with, and basically ignoring, the European Union bureaucrats from Brussels. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it. But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes everything and galvanizes Bruno’s attention: the man was found with a swastika carved into his chest.
Because of the case’s potential political ramifications, a young policewoman is sent from Paris to aid Bruno with his investigation. The two immediately suspect militants from the anti-immigrant National Front, but when a visiting scholar helps to untangle the dead man’s past, Bruno’s suspicions turn toward a more complex motive. His investigation draws him into one of the darkest chapters of French history—World War II, a time of terror and betrayal that set brother against brother. Bruno soon discovers that even his seemingly perfect corner of la belle France is not exempt from that period’s sinister legacy.
Bruno, Chief of Police is deftly dark, mesmerizing, and totally engaging.
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If a publisher is particularly celebrated for finding really cherishable novels and authors, attention must be paid. So, when the publisher Quercus (for instance) comes up with something new, those in the know are aware that it's usually something special. Is that the case with Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police?
Martin Walker has a solid journalistic background, and is the author of several acclaimed work of non-fiction, including The Cold War: A History, along with a historical novel,The Caves of Périgord -- but none of this is necessarily a copper-bottomed guarantee of success in the crime fiction genre. Fortunately, Bruno, Chief of Police turns out to be a quietly assured piece of work, full of quirky touches and characterised with real exuberance.
The eponymous Captain Bruno Courrèges is in charge of a modest force in the town of St Debis in the Périgord region of France (allowing Walker, of course, to utilises things he’d gleaned for his previous novel set in the region), and Bruno is not your typical hard-hitting copper: he never carries the gun he owns, and barely needs to arrest people. But suddenly all is turmoil in the town as inspectors from Brussels swoop on the rural market, making many enemies. Bruno is worried by the fact that this phenomenon is invoking memories of the town's ignoble Vichy France past. Then an old man from a North African immigrant family is murdered...
This is quirkily inventive stuff, and Walker‘s Bruno has all the auguries of the becoming a crime fiction favourite. --Barry ForshawReview:
A nice literary pairing with the slow-food movement . . . [It is] lovely . . . to linger at the table. Entertainment Weekly
Enjoyable. . . . Martin Walker plots with the same finesse with which Bruno can whip up a truffle omelette, and both have a clear appreciation for a life tied to the land. The Christian Science Monitor
[A] wonderfully crafted novel as satisfying as a French pastry but with none of the guilt or calories. Tucson Citizen s Journal
Bruno is a delightful character and Walker s handling of long-held grudges is intelligent and sympathetic. The Guardian (London)
A roman policier . . . that the celebrated Simenon, creator of Inspector Jules Maigret, would have been proud to claim . . . Readers [will] effortlessly enter French consciousness through [this] perspicacious book. Baton Rouge Advocate
Highly satisfying. The Boston Globe
Absolutely amazing. The Knowledgeable Blogger
Such a pleasure to read that I can t help but suspect that Walker had equal fun writing it. BookBrowse
Charming and many pages of the book will have readers purring with delight. There is, however, a darker side. . . . The crime which disturbs the idyllic commune of St Denis has its origins in France s troubled past and provokes outbreaks of the politically inspired violence that simmers beneath the placid and agreeable surface presented to tourists. The Scotsman (UK)
Distinctive well-rounded characters and an intriguing mystery are a winning combination in Martin Walker s Bruno, Chief of Police. . . . Walker s relaxed style and good humour help to bring to life his engaging hero and his delightful home and make one of the most enjoyable books I ve read in a long time. Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph (UK)
Martin Walker has not only written an engrossing roman policier, but he has written a book that goes to the very heart of what France rural, small-town France is like. It's a thriller, and full of surprises, but it will also appeal to anybody who loves France. Bruno, Chief of Police, is a wonderful creation. Michael Korda, author of Charmed Lives
Hugely enjoyable and absolutely gripping. Martin Walker has got off to a flying start in what promises to be a great series. Bruno will be the Maigret of the Dordogne. Antony Beevor, author of Paris After the Liberation 1944-1949
A splendid combination of a complex crime with tangled wartime origins that takes place in a lovingly described French village, and a totally original and sympathetic hero. Absolutely first rate. There must be more to come about Bruno! William Pfaff, author of Barbarian Sentiments: America in the New Century
Martin Walker has found in Bruno a man rooted in the terroir of Perigord, who brings that quirky, lovable part of France alive. This novel is as tasty as a slice of Bruno s local foie gras, topped with a glass of his homemade vin de noix. David Ignatius, author of Body of Lies"
"A nice literary pairing with the slow-food movement . . . [It is] lovely . . . to linger at the table." --Entertainment Weekly
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Book Description Knopf, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand New, Gift conditionTracking Number Included! We Ship Daily. Seller Inventory # 321980424t
Book Description Knopf, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110307270173
Book Description Knopf, 2009. Hardcover. Condition: New. Brand new. Clean, unmarked pages. Fine binding and cover. Hardcover and dust jacket. [Fiction - Mysteries]. Seller Inventory # 1912150041
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Book Description Knopf, 2009. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0307270173
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