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The Crowded Grave: A Bruno Courrèges Investigation [Paperback]

Martin Walker
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

5 July 2012
Bruno's day has not started well. A summit to be held in a local château is threatened by Basque separatists, and animal rights campaigners are causing havoc. Up to his ears with ETA and PETA, he's not even had time for lunch. And it's about to get worse. A local archaeological team unearths a well-preserved skeleton. Yet it's a lot more recent than they'd hoped - boasting a Swatch on its wrist and a bullet-hole in its skull. With an influx of visitors making Saint Denis almost as crowded as the excavation's grave, the key appears to lie with one of these outsiders. Bruno must think fast and keep his wits about him. Especially as the answer may lie a little closer to home.


Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; Open Market Edition edition (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780876742
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780876740
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 11.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 491,496 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

Review

'Intriguing well written crime novel that keeps the reader guessing though to the final pages a good read and one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long time' Female First.

'This is a grabbing read and wonderful for foodies as readers can enjoy a meander through the back roads of the Dordogne and into Bruno's kitchen for navarin d'agneau made with love and washed down with his '03 Pomerol' Connexion.

'I read this in two evenings, and there's an added bonus; Bruno cooks a couple of dishes and full recipes are supplied' Poitou-Charentes Journal. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Bruno's day has not started well. The Saint Denis Chief of Police is busy. A French-Spanish summit to be held in a local chateau is being threatened by Basque separatists, and animal rights campaigners are causing havoc attacking local foie gras farms. Up to his ears with ETA and PETA, he's not even had time for lunch. And it's about to get worse. A local archaeological team, digging for evidence of prehistoric man, unearths a well-preserved skeleton. Yet it's a lot more recent than they'd hoped - boasting a Swatch on its wrist and a bullet-hole in its skull. Bruno suspects a link between the two activist groups and the mystery corpse. With an influx of visitors making Saint Denis almost as crowded as the excavation's grave, the key appears to lie with one of these outsiders. Bruno must think fast, and keep his wits about him. Especially as the answer may lie a little closer to home. The Crowded Grave marks the welcome return of the delightful Bruno, Chief of Police. Martin Walker serves up a sense-stirring portrait of the culture, camaraderie and culinary customs of French country life, accompanying this with a wonderfully satisfying and intoxicating mystery.

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

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For all lovers of la France profonde 23 May 2012
By maggieg
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If you haven't read any of Martin Walker's " Bruno" books, and you are a Francophile, get stuck in with the very first and simply wallow in it! All of France is there - the landscape, the architecture, the food (especially the food!), bureaucracy, rugby and tennis, dogs, wine-making, community spirit, little towns, eco - terrorism, police procedure, and, it being France, sex! The chief of police in this small town is so wonderful, that women will want to marry him, and men will want to be him! Each book stands alone, and this latest is very good indeed, but I recommend that you start with the first and keep on going. Bonne chance!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Blue in Washington TOP 500 REVIEWER TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Here's another very entertaining story in the Chief Bruno series with a good balance of original plot and local color. I'm guessing that most readers of earlier novels are now in it for the latter feature, as Bruno's daily routines around the Perigord village of St. Denis are rendered in appetizing detail (in more ways than one) and his strongly written character is generally without significant flaw or hangup. In "The Crowded Grave", Bruno's concerns range from the problems of archeologists chronicling Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon civilization in the neighborhood to attacks on foie gras goose farmers by PETA activists to the threat of Basque terrorism in the midst of a high level diplomatic summit.

Skilled writing by author Martin Walker moves the story along in a pleasant ramble, with plenty of time for lots of local food, interaction with animals, and bemused entanglements with current and former girlfriends. The tale comes to kind of an abrupt ending that also brings a major note of sadness to the proceedings. If I was Walker's editor, I might have argued with him on the latter.

A fine read that will please lovers of the series, francophiles in general and anyone who is a fan of the international mystery genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Regulars won't be disappointed 29 Jun 2014
By tpryan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There's the usual mix of local chief of police, rural life and tremendous descriptions of the food and wine. The plot plays on ETA activities over the French border and becomes a little convoluted. Well. I suppose there are villages all over Europe which house now retired, conservative citizens who were once in Baader Meinhof or some such but quite a few plot lines fizzle out somewhat and it's never really clear why this particular summit presents a better opportunity for a potential attack on a Spanish minister than any other. Bruno's love life remains convoluted between Isabelle and Pamela. And his rapport with new pet horse and pet dog is the kind of which I've not read since Enid Blyton. Still, enough for a decent holiday read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intersting detective work in France 15 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
An interesting read set in the France with plenty of suspense as the plot unwinds and good to read about the characters from previous books
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive 29 Oct 2012
By Maxwell
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Without doubt, if you want to lose yourself in another world full of great food, beautiful scenery, lovely people and perfect sense then i would certainly recommend this series of books. It makes you want to move immediatly to the perfectly sounding St Denis in the Perigord.

Martin Walker hooks you from the start with his descriptions of the scenery, food and the wine and you fall head over heels with the picture of perfection that he draws and of course Brunos dog Gigi.

If you love France and the idea of living there read this series and you won't be disappointed.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much focus on foie gras 26 Nov 2011
By Curiosity Killed The Bookworm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
At the site of a ground-breaking archaeological find, a more recent burial is discovered. With an important summit being held in the region, authorities are on the look-out for Basque separatists all the while trying to protect the local foie gras farms from animal activist attacks.

You would think that either Basque separatists or archaeology would provide a fascinating vehicle for a crime novel. However even the dead body takes a back-seat to the foie gras industry. The first 60 odd pages are practically an advertisement for something a lot of non-French people disagree with, including myself.

This disagreement wouldn't have been so much of the issue if Bruno had spent more time investigating that dead body or securing the town for the impending summit. He's only a local policeman, employed by the mayor rather than the gendarme who are the military police of France, so I can understand his job isn't to run murder investigations. If he hadn't have spent so much time eating foie gras that he shouldn't have been able to afford I might have felt it was part of his job. Instead it came across as indulgent preaching.

Read if you like foie gras or don't mind that being the premise for the story. It's an easy read and I wanted to like Bruno but I just felt a bit let down. I did quite like his dog, Gigi the basset hound.

This is the fourth novel in the Bruno, Chief of Police series by journalist and foodie, Martin Walker.

#1 Bruno, Chief of Police
#2 The Dark Vineyard
#3 Black Diamond
#4 The Crowded Grave
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5.0 out of 5 stars Easy reading 12 Jun 2014
By Jane
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love these books. I love the insight into life in rural France - The secrets of some great cooking and husbandry. The characters are wonderful ans the murder story-lines are super. The author's daughter runs a great website too which really complements the novels and makes all the readers part of their club! Great idea!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Very enjoyable liked the insight into life in a small town and the food !
Published 7 days ago by Carla Jones
4.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing Crime Series
Wonderful sense of the French Perigord region in this fascinating series following Chief of Police Bruno Courreges, this time investigating a murder connected to Eta, the Basque... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Rural France story
The author goes on a lot about the idyllic rural France life and also there is a lot of description about certain meals being prepared, so if you're a Francophile it's fine. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Blyth
5.0 out of 5 stars It All Happens in the Dordogne
I have read all of Walker 's previous Bruno books and this one is just as good, ie readable, amusing, interesting and informative. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Bronstein
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read
As usual Martin Walker keeps Bruno Courreges on his toes! Familiar scenes of rural France with another brilliant intriguing story.
Published 9 months ago by john
5.0 out of 5 stars A great holiday read
I read this while on holiday in the Dordogne and was interested to see that the locals were reading French translations. Read more
Published 11 months ago by F M Henderson
5.0 out of 5 stars French life as written by a Brit.
A wonderful writer describing French daily culture and daily life in rural France.
Lovely book with credible story and persons.
Looking forward for the next one.
Published 11 months ago by Staale Gil
5.0 out of 5 stars getting better and better
This 4th book in the Bruno series doesn't disappoint. It keeps bringing French modern history into the everyday life of our Périgourdin policeman, history I lived through as... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Misscacou
4.0 out of 5 stars Another gentle crime novel
The plot is intriguing , the characters sympathetic, the descriptions of rural life in the Périgord region of France and its food are very enjoyable as always!
Published 12 months ago by J. A. Newsam
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely easy read. Felt sad when it came to an end. Left me wanting...
I have read the previous Bruno books and enjoyed this one just as much.
The author really has captured the essence of the way of French life. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Tinkabellissima
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