I AM most probably the last person in France to have read Bruno Chief of Police, by Martin Walker, but just in case I'm not here is a quick review having just finished it.
The crime story takes place in the small Périgord town of St Denis, and the solving of a particularly grizzly murder falls upon the shoulders of Captain Bruno Courrèges, the town's chief of police.
In the book Martin Walker brings his observation skills as a long standing journalist for newspapers around the world to the small details of French village life, capturing market scenes, petty administration but also the bonds of community that exist between family and friends.
And Bruno's understanding of that community is what helps him get to the heart of the crime, while others cast accusations and threats of prison upon the heads of local villagers.
Anyone who has holidayed, explored or lives along the Vézère Valley will recognise many of the scenes described in the book, from hidden caves to the site of the local bank and cafes.
It is an enjoyable feature of the book to spot these places in the text and compare them to the real layout in the towns and villages of the area.
Bruno Chief of Police is not a deep book, or a blood thirsty crime thriller, more a pleasant stroll through the lives and foibles of an entertaining list of characters that find themselves thrown together in a market town in south west France.
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