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Bruno, Chief of Police (2008)

by Martin Walker

Series: Bruno Courrèges (1)

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1,2698212,750 (3.62)241
Meet Benoit Courrâeges, affectionately named Bruno, chief of police in a small village in the South of France where the rituals of the cafâe still rule. A former soldier, Bruno has embraced the slow rhythms of country life. But the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army galvanizes his attention: the man had a swastika carved into his chest. When a visiting scholar helps untangle the dead man's past, Bruno's suspicions turn toward a motive more complex than hate, back to a tortured period of French history.… (more)
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English (79)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (82)
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
I enjoyed the book. Certainly learned a bit about WWII history of the resistance. And about living in rural France today. ( )
  kaulsu | May 18, 2022 |
I guess this is a cosy mystery. It has a charming setting (a small town in rural France), a laid back hero and as much effort put into discussing food as it does the investigation. It’s easy reading, and the mystery is solid enough, but I enjoyed it much more as a portrait of rustic French life than I did a crime novel. The atmosphere is great, but I didn’t really care whodunnit. ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
I really didn’t know what to expect from this novel, but as a lifelong Francophile, I was keen to experiment. It proved to be a good choice, and the novel is a well-constructed crime thriller, set in the glorious countryside of the Dordogne.

Bruno Courrëges is the head of the local police force in the little village of St Denis. Hitherto crime has not been a problem, and Bruno’s life is generally uncomplicated. He is a keen rugby and tennis player, and works in local clubs devoted to both sports, through which he is able to help keep the village’s youngsters on the right side of the tracks. The greatest risk to peace in the community is the presence of a team of officials sent from Paris to ensure that EU regulations about food safety are being observed. In countryside that had harboured such strong Resistance forces during the Second World War, people are well versed in the disruptive tactics calculated to send such interlopers packing. But things are about to change.

The whole community seems outraged following the discovery of the murder of one of its oldest members, an Algerian man who had lived in the village for decades, and whose son and grandson were prominent local characters. The murder prompts intervention from the local gendarmerie and also from regional police teams, all of which generates considerable tension between the various offices.

Martin Walker manages all the plot complications very deftly, and also manages to give an alluring description of the area, capturing its history, and its political context very clearly. I am looking forward to reading further books in this series. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Jan 13, 2022 |
After reading several somewhat grisly murder mysteries recently, Martin Walker's main protagonist, Bruno (Benoît Courrèges), was a pleasant change: an amiable character with a propensity to deter crimes in the making and mentor young kids towards community spirit. Some readers may find Bruno bland but it was a masterly character development of a gentle persona, set against the rural Dordogne backdrop, an amusing set of villagers and interfering politicians from the EU.
An additional win for my tastes were the interwoven French-Algerian histories and a snippet of WW II situations. Walker dealt a light hand so that the murder and its intertwining with this backstory was never overwhelming. I found the romance mildly annoying, as if the author had been required to include some short-term liaison to spice up the plot. However other portrayals were delightful. I hope the series holds up without reverting to tropes and cardboard characters. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Dec 28, 2021 |
This was a bit of a slow starter for me. Two chapters in I was wondering if I would even finish it, but voila! it turned out to be very good - and very topical. Best of all, I loved the fact I learned pieces of French - Algerian history I had not known. Persevere. Definitely worth it. ( )
  PattyLee | Dec 14, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
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On a bright May morning, so early that the last of the mist was still lingering low over a bend in the Vezere River, a white van drew to a halt on the ridge that overlooked the small French town.
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Die Vergangenheit ist nie wirklich vergangen und vielleicht sogar heute noch tödlich.
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Meet Benoit Courrâeges, affectionately named Bruno, chief of police in a small village in the South of France where the rituals of the cafâe still rule. A former soldier, Bruno has embraced the slow rhythms of country life. But the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army galvanizes his attention: the man had a swastika carved into his chest. When a visiting scholar helps untangle the dead man's past, Bruno's suspicions turn toward a motive more complex than hate, back to a tortured period of French history.

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