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4.4 out of 5 stars78
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 25 August 2010
Many writers, after producing a hit, go down hill from there. Bruno is still fresh in the third book. What I like about most is, that everything happens in so many levels, just like in real life. There is the social, local political, criminal, European and global level to name some. The outlook is not puritan to punish the criminals, but rather Confucian to archive balance and justice. If You are expecting blood diamonds from Africa as I first did, be prepared something more flora like. Enjoy the menu and follow this big hound shepherding his flock of local inhabitants against outside menace.
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VINE VOICEon 11 September 2010
Following on from the "Dark Vineyard" with this "Black Diamond", book 3 in the serious certainly takes a close look at the darker side of life, with some pretty blunt, but not explicit or gratuitous, description of what the seamier criminal underbelly can be like in possibly any modern western country, not just France.

Bruno's character is developed further with more of his history, his philosophy and his passion for his lifestyle evoked as the story unfolds. The other "regular" characters are all there and we once again are given some wonderful truly French culinary episodes (I had never thought of adding boudin noir to enrich a good stew).

I won't spoil the ending, but it is really well hidden and although both shocking and surprising, makes actually a very logical and satisfying end to the yarn, when some others in this vein are struggling for an ending by their third offering.

Hopefully we will soon have the fourth - and learn more of Fabbiola and the other people whose character and history the author has hinted at but yet to bring fully into view.

If you enjoy Leon, Camilleri and O'Brien then you really will not be disappointed by any of the Bruno books - and a massive thank you to the Amazon team for recommending this superb series.
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on 18 August 2010
Like a good French wine, the Bruno series is improving with age.

Black Diamond is more complex than the first two titles, and encompasses a wider geographical area, but does not suffer for it. Rather, the author seems more confident in his characters, his plot, and his ability to tell a ripping good yarn.

The only thing that stopped me from finishing Black Diamond in a single sitting was the occasional trips to poke around the kitchen when the descriptions of sumptuous food got too much for me to cope with without a snack.

For a perfect summer read that encompasses a bit of something grisly, minor warfare, romance, la France profonde, and small village life, you could do no better.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 October 2010
First Sentence: There weren't many times that Bruno Courréges disliked his job, but today was one of them.

Truffles are big business in France. When it is suspected that someone is replacing high-quality truffles with cheaper Chinese truffles, Bruno is asked to do an informal investigation. With a heinous murder and attacks on Vietnamese merchants, things become serious, and dangerous, very quickly.

Any impression of this being light, cozy series is completely dispelled by this book. It is, in fact, a strong, complex, compelling police procedural with a protagonist who has become one of my favorites.

Although Bruno is the focal character, it is his relationships with friends and associates that add layers and texture. Bruno is his town's only policeman. This makes him an integral part of the community while helping maintain its structure. He is intelligent, analytical and a by-the book policeman without being rigid. He has a history, doesn't shy from violence, dresses as Pare Noel and teaches rugby and tennis to the kids. In other words, he is well rounded, interesting and realistic.

Walker, with a deft hand, starts with bucolic descriptions which set the scene and provide sense of place. Throughout there are mouth-watering descriptions of food and its part in a tradition which touches the heart. The use of French expressions lends veracity while their translation prevents readers from feeling excluded.

The plot builds and weaves in a way that kept me going. It started off seemingly simple, yet escalated quickly as does the motive behind the crimes. Again, anything but a cozy; yet an interesting look into the politics and issues of France; one of the reasons I am attracted to books set outside the US.

As always, I recommend starting the series at the beginning and not being put off by either the title or cover of the first book, "Bruno, Chief of Police." Walker is a very good writer; Bruno a very good policeman in a series that improves with each entry.

BLACK DIAMOND (Pol Proc-Bruno Courréges-France-Cont) - VG
Walker, Martin - 3rd in series
Quercus, ©2010, UK Hardcover - ISBN: 9780857380494
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on 5 November 2011
I read this just recently. I have to confess, I didn't enjoy it as much as the other reviewers here. It wasn't bad but I felt the second half was much better than the first, and I almost gave up half way through, though I was glad I persevered. There was some good local colour and a lot of interesting stuff about Vietnam, the Corsicans and the Algerian War. My main problem was with Bruno Courreges. In so far as I got to know him (which wasn't very far - he's pretty much a bog standard thriller hero) I really didn't like him much. Sorry!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 4 February 2012
Bruno Courege is really beginning to grow on me as a sort of cross between Hamish Macbeth and Jack Reacher, an all-action hero with a heart of gold and rare insights into the local populace. The plot has a more international and political flavour but doesn't suffer for this. I also have to point out that if the author has played any rugby recently he must have played to rules that are about 30 years old, as the only jarring note for me is the description of the rugby match that takes place for no discernible reason other than to nail one of the less loveable characters. Mind you some of the food that gets cooked up sounds lovely and the descriptions of place and character is delightful.
Bring on volume 4
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on 3 January 2012
The third in the Bruno series that is to France what the No.1 Ladies Detective agency is to Botswana: agreeable; amenable; full of eccentric characters and welcoming scenery.

This time the skirmish seems to be over old war heroes, truffles and people, as Bruno and his village friends get embroiled in another mystery. But what is disturbing in a way, is that all the problems seem to be foreigners or outsiders and there's an unsavoury element to the end of the book which I hadn't expected from a genteel series.

That said, if you've enjoyed the first two, the same ingredients are present for this one. If you've not tried Bruno before, it's worth an investigation.
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on 22 February 2011
I hadn't come across Bruno, the Chief of Police, until I read this book but now I am hooked! The commune of St Denis may be fictional but it and its characters came across as very real. It's good old-fashioned detection with enticing scenery and delicious food built in. I could almost smell the food cooking! It's also good to have a policeman wih few psychological hang-ups who gets gently sozzled on fine wines and still manages to do his job. Can't wait for more!
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VINE VOICEon 29 October 2014
In his first two novels featuring Bruno Courreges, Martin Walker created an affectionate portrait of a small community in rural France. They were also essentially crime stories, the two elements neatly interwoven. In Black Diamond the balance is woefully out of kilter.

The fact thee the crime element involved the truffle industry and (improbably in t Denis) Chinese and Vietnamese gang warfare called for a great deal of exposition. There are necessary digressions to Algeria, toVietnam and Kossovo. Chapters 19 deals with nothing else, and 20 is not much better. As a result life in St Denis is dropped in as semi-detached chunks.

The chapter devoted to the Over 35w v Under 18s rugby match suggests an author who has been there and experienced it from the inside. It is lovingly done but carries the plot forward only marginally.

Black Diamond should not ut off Martin Walker's fans, but they will hope for a return to more familiar territory next time.
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on 4 October 2012
It is hardly surprising that a novel involving truffle markets should have a financial element, but there seemed to be an unusually large number of references to Bruno's salary and how little it was or would purchase; the cost of his uniform, van, father christmas outfit, their poor condition and the cost of replacing them; and the general hard lot of being a poorly renumerated chief of police. Considering how much of his time is spent playing rugby, cooking, hunting, walking his dog, selling black market truffles, or chasing his various love interests, he can only be a part time policeman anyway. All in all, rather disappointing after the first two books in this series. Has the rather smug and self satisfied Bruno gone off the boil or will he up his game in book 4?
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