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Bruno Chief of Police Paperback – 2 Apr 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847245986
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847245984
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Martin Walker and his family have had a home in the Perigord region of France since the 1990s. We were drawn by the food and wine and engrossing history of the place and have become ever more connected to this gastronomic heartland of the country by friends and neighbours, dog and chickens, garden and countryside.

And among the friends is our local village policeman (and Martin's tennis partner) who inspired the series of mystery novels based around Bruno, chief of police.

After 25 years as a foreign correspondent for Britain's The Guardian newspaper, and then another stint in think-tanks in Washington DC and as editor-in-chief of United Press International, the sweet life of the Perigord is a delight.

Still a senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre and a senior fellow of the Global Business Policy Council, both in Washington DC, Martin stays connected to the world of global economics and policy. And from giant American wine concerns to Chinese businessmen, from Basque terrorists to animal rights activists, from New York hedge funds to the global arms trade, this wider world keeps intruding into the tiny corner of paradise in Perigord that Bruno is sworn to protect.

Product Description

Amazon Review

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 Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

The pleasures of life in the Dordogne, some 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.

The Alexander McCall Smith of La France Profonde. No one should be allowed to go on holiday to France this summer without a copy' Francis Wheen.

Hugely enjoyable and absolutely gripping… the Maigret of the Dordogne' Antony Beevor.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 July 2009
Format: Paperback
The only reason I picked this book off the shelf in the library is because I was wondering if it was the same Martin Walker I'd been listening to for years as a commentator on my local NPR station. When I saw that it was, I took a closer look and, being a fan of crime fiction, thought I'd give it a go. Little did I suspect that I'd be so thoroughly engrossed by the routine of a small-town French policeman that I'd set aside all other reading for three days to tear through it.

The book is set in a quintessentially quaint and charming small town (pop. 2,900) in the super-picturesque Dordogne region. The opening chapters are all about establishing the sights, smells, and rhythms of the town and the titular character's role within it as a kind of avuncular, sensible enforcer of the law. Well, not quite all laws (especially not the strict food processing laws of the EU), but the more important ones (unless you think drunk driving is important). However, soon enough, the quiet little town is devastated by the murder of a quiet old Algerian -- the father of the town's math teacher, and the grandfather of the town's rugby star.

This stirs up all kinds of tension, and as the National Front, provincial detectives, and prosecutors and politicians from Paris all flood in to get involved, Bruno has to do his best to protect the people of his idyllic town from all these outsiders.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Diacha on 8 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Martin Walker's "Bruno, Chief of Police" is a well-crafted mystery which -if not taken too seriously- makes for an agreeable read.

Bruno Courrèges is chief of the police municipale (and indeed the only officer on the local force) in the Périgord town of St Denis. Bruno is an ex-soldier, decorated for bravery in the Balkans. He is manifestly overqualified for his position but he is an orphan and has been struck by tragedy in love. St Denis is his first real home, St Denis' townspeople are his family. " I'm happy here," he tells his more conventionally ambitious lover when she challenges him to seek more from life, "I'm busy, I think I'm useful and I'm certainly not wasted. It's a way of life that pleases me."

St Denis itself is the perfect spot for a Maylesian tradeoff between way of life and the Big World. It is an Englishman's idyllic vision of life in la France profonde. The Sun always shines. Tables are well-stocked with paté ,truffles and cheese. Every Frenchman worth the name has concocted his own vin de noix and believes it without equal. Neighbors help one another build their houses. Expatriate Brits are made to feel at home, even as they commemorate Waterloo day on the eighteenth of June, the same day as the celebration of de Gaulle's Declaration of Free France. Life revolves around festivals, parades, the local tennis and rugby clubs, and, oh yes, the black market. The wily citizens conspire effortlessly to thwart intrusive bureaucrats from Paris and Brussels, even as their well-connected mayor contrives to obtain every conceivable central government and EU grant for local projects. Ah, Toujours Dordogne.

Inevitably, there is a snake in paradise. An elderly Algerian war hero is murdered.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. Errington on 10 Aug 2008
Format: Hardcover
A thoroughly absorbing, original and satisfying read, redolent of the sights and smells of rural France. I found it more atmospheric and enjoyable than the Maigret novels I have read, prizing as I do the local atmosphere of a book as much as the actual mystery itself. I found the central thread of the story very credible, rooted as it is in France's colourful history. The townspeople's quiet determination to defend their kitchen sink economy against the snoopers from Brussels seemed as believable as it is amusing. Bring on the next one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. A. Woodall on 28 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was reviewed in the Daily Mail and having spent time in the general area where the book is set I thought it may be interesting. How right I was this is a rattling good story what I would call a page turner.
I couldn't put it down until I had finished it. I would recommend it to everyone.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
Martin Walker's first-in-a-series mystery is set in a small French town in the Dordogne area of south-west France.

The main character, Bruno, is the police chief/only policemen/rugby coach/tennis coach of the small river valley town of St Denis. Bruno has a "history"; an orphan abandoned by his mother and a veteran of the NATO force in Bosnia, he has settled in St Denis and is becoming known for both his competence in his jobs and for his good cooking.

This novel, which is saved from being a "cozy" by the shocking nature of the crime which Bruno and his compatriots from the larger French police system have joined together to investigate, takes a wonderful look at life in a small French village. But, as Bruno discovers, contemporary life (and crime) often has its roots in the past. And as Bruno looks into the past to solve the murder, we all find out just how much the Nazi occupation of France has tentacles which reach down 60 years to the present.

Martin Walker is a wonderful writer. Though the book is part-travelogue, it never loses it's edge. I'm looking forward to reading more in the "Bruno" series.
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