Monday, October 30, 2017

Bruno, Chief of Police: A Novel of France

Bruno, Chief of Police: A Novel of  the French Countryside by Martin Walker is the last of my R.I.P. mysteries, bringing my total for the month to 5!

As expected, I really enjoyed this mystery and will be a devotee of Bruno from henceforth. Thank goodness there are a number of books in the series already, so I can read the next one whenever the mood strikes.

In a nutshell, Bruno is sweet single policeman taking care of a little rural town, St Denis, in the picturesque Dodorgne valley in southwest France. We are tentatively planning a trip to Paris next summer, and now I am finagling how to spend an extra week exploring this region, which btw is where the famous paleolithic cave paintings were discovered.

Bruno not only is the sole policeman for the town, but he also plays tennis and teaches kids at the tennis club, makes his own vin de noix (a walnut liqueur), cooks heavenly meals, and has a sad romantic backstory.

The story itself was well-crafted and interesting--involving racial tension, neo-Nazis, remnants of WWII and French colonialism, as well as hedonistic teens and indulgent parents.

But, you don't read Bruno for the mystery, you read these stories for the atmosphere, the ambiance, the recipes, French rural life and landscapes.

If this at appeals to you, you might want to check out Martin Walker's website on his beloved Bruno. Here's how Walker describes Bruno:

Who is Bruno Courreges?

Bruno cooks, he hunts, he builds his own house and grows his own food. He organizes the parades and festivities and fireworks displays and keeps order in his fictional home town of St Denis. A pillar of the local tennis and rugby clubs, he teaches sports to the local schoolchildren.

Bruno finds lost dogs, fights fires, registers births and deaths, and enforces the parking regulations. But he maintains a sophisticated intelligence network to outwit the interfering bureaucrats of the European Union in far-off Brussels. The country folk of the Perigord have been making their foie gras and their cheeses and sausages for centuries before the EU was ever heard of, and see no reason to bow to its rules and regulations now.

Bruno also catches criminals.

But Bruno applies his own sense of justice in doing so, which sometimes put him at odds with the local Gendarmes, with the professional detectives of the Police Nationale, and with the politicians in distant Paris.


  1. The book sounds charming and Bruno sounds like a great character. I think that my wife would really like this so I wil send her a link to the book.

  2. Hi JanrGS, This sounds like a really good mystery series. I'm a big fan of Donna Leon's Guido Brunetti books. I'm thinking Bruno is similar, a detective you want to follow from book to book.

  3. Oh the Dodorgne valley is a wonderful part of France. We visited once & would like to go back, the caves & river & everything. My husband has read & enjoyed all the Bruno books but now I need to read them too. I'll be a newbie to Bruno.

  4. I love a mystery with fun characters and a charming town. I'll have to add this one!

  5. I've never heard of Bruno, he sounds like a very interesting character in a great setting I need to check this out! I love mysteries.