THE DARK VINEYARD by Martin Walker

The first time readers met this village lawman was in Bruno, Chief of Police. He was something of a French version of Andy Taylor of Mayberry: as a matter of course he didn’t carry a gun, he sometimes upheld the spirit of community well-being rather than enforce the letter of the law, and he dealt with the villagers with a natural but unadvertised psychology instead of simply compelling obedience. He was also single and had a history of discreetly dating a number of women. He was the only local police officer, having no Barney Fife at his side, but when crimes of greater significance than a parking ticket arose he had to collaborate with his immediate boss, the town mayor, and with wider French enforcement agencies, including the national police. He, unlike Sheriff Andy, had a bit of a repertoire in the cooking department and was especially famous in the tiny Périgord commune for whipping up heavenly truffle omelettes. Bruno, whose actual but never used name was Benoît, was deeply content to remain in Saint-Denis, although as a highly decorated former soldier who had traded in one uniform for another, his services would have been eagerly accepted by the Police Nationale in Paris itself.

December 29, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: France, Sleuths Series


A paean to the Dordogne, an exploration of fractious French history, and the debut of the most self-possessed, accomplished, even-tempered, life-savoring Holmesian character ever, Walker’s first Bruno novel proves once and for all that heavyweight journalists can write mystery novels.

April 30, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: 2009 Favorites, France, Sleuths Series