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On this cool, damp Sunday afternoon in spring, with clouds and rain showers sweeping in from the Atlantic a hundred miles to the west, Bruno Courrèges had his day off. He could think of few better ways to enjoy it than to accompany the local women's rugby team in the regional final.
The players were all between sixteen and nineteen years of age, and had been coached by Bruno over the past decade. Teaching wasn't part of his remit as town policeman of St. Denis, but he relished his involvement with these young people and he was deeply proud of the team. Women's rugby was a relatively new sport in France and there were many who thought the game was too rough for the fairer sex. But few could maintain that prejudice once they had seen the girls play. They tackled one another as hard as the men, but they ran and passed more, played a faster and more elegant game, and kicked the ball ahead with as much skill and more finesse. They were seldom bogged down in the muddy, grinding mauls that often marked the play of the male teams. If Bruno had to sum up their style he'd have said they played with more grace.
That was not how it looked on the field this afternoon. The ball was slippery in the drizzle and most of the players were so smeared with mud that it was hard to tell one team from the other. The score was tied. The opponents came from the much bigger town of Mussidan, and they had been champions of the Dordogne département the previous year. Few, except Bruno, gave the St. Denis girls much chance.
Suddenly the mobile phone vibrated at Bruno's waist. He tried always to be reachable even when he wasn't on duty. But with only ten minutes left to play, the St. Denis team was fifteen meters from the opponent's goal line and pressing hard so he ignored the call. The ball was loose after a scrum, and two players, one from each side, were wrestling for possession. St. Denis won out and the ball went out toward their winger. Then Bruno groaned as a foul was called. The referee blew his whistle and called for a formal scrum. Bruno took the opportunity to glance at the screen of his phone. It was Pamela, a former lover who was now a close friend. He decided he'd better take the call.
"Bruno, dear, I need your help" came the familiar voice. "One of my cooking school clients who was coming from Bordeaux by train failed to turn up at the station as planned. And she's not answering her mobile phone. I tried to check with Bordeaux airport whether she'd been on the plane but they pleaded security and refused to tell me. I've got her photo. She sent one so that I could recognize her at the station. Can you help?"
"I'm tied up but I'll see what I can do later this afternoon," he said quickly. "Send me a text message with the name and flight details and email me the photo." After a brisk but affectionate farewell he closed his phone.
Bruno turned his attention back to the match, where the two squads, each of eight forwards, advanced like warriors from some far-distant age. The front rank of three had their arms around one another's shoulders and they were crouching, ready to duck their heads and slam into the interlocked shoulders of their opponents. Behind them the remaining forwards ducked down, locked into place, and began to push. On each side were the flankers, and Bruno's eyes were on the nearer of the two, Paulette. About to turn nineteen, the daughter of the town florist, she was the nest natural athlete and player he'd ever coached, male or female. Bruno knew one of the scouts for the national team was somewhere in the stand. They always watched a regional final, looking for promising new players. Paulette...
About the Author-
- Martin Walker is a senior fellow of the Global Business Policy Council, a private think tank based in Washington, D.C. He is also editor in chief emeritus and international affairs columnist at United Press International. His previous novels in the Bruno series are Bruno, Chief of Police; The Dark Vineyard; Black Diamond; The Crowded Grave; The Devil's Cave; The Resistance Man; The Children Return; The Patriarch; Fatal Pursuit; and The Templars' Last Secret, all international best sellers. He lives in Washington, D.C., and the Dordogne. www.brunochiefofpolice.com
April 1, 2018
In his 11th outing (after The Templars' Last Secret), Benoit "Bruno" Courreges has just been promoted to chief of police for his region in southwestern France and must supervise two new colleagues, Juliette and Louis, as well as learn the scope of his new position. At the same time, he is asked to help locate a client who has failed to turn up for a friend's cooking school course. Soon it is discovered that the missing British woman is a victim of what appears to be a murder-suicide. However the investigation takes a twist when it becomes a double homicide and the second victim was a former soldier living under a false name. Bruno gets caught up in a complex case reaching back decades to the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Reoccurring series characters add depth to the story and draw readers into the small, countryside community of St. Denis. VERDICT Vivid descriptions of the Perigord region and French cooking are an added treat for Francophiles. Recommended for fans of the series as well as readers of Donna Leon, Louise Penny, and anyone who enjoys cozy mysteries set in foreign locales. [See Prepub Alert, 12/11/17.]--Jean King, West Hempstead P.L., NY
Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
April 2, 2018
Bruno Courrèges, the police chief of the Dordogne village of St. Denis, goes looking for English tourist Monika Felder after she fails to show up for a cooking class in Walker’s entertaining 11th series mystery (after 2017’s The Templars’ Last Secret). Bruno learns that Monika, who left her husband back in England, was traveling with Patrick McBride, an Irishman with a house in the area. Monika turns up at the house, fatally stabbed in the bathroom; McBride’s body is found hanging from a tree in the nearby woods. What at first appears to be a murder-suicide proves to be a double homicide involving more than one killer and with links to a multimillion-dollar theft in Iraq and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The efficient Bruno also manages to help one of the women’s rugby players he’s coached since childhood sort out some serious problems, run through some favorite Dordogne recipes while teaching a cooking class, and continue his on-again, off-again romance with a former colleague. Walker’s formula for regional crime fiction still appeals, though this outing’s global elements are something of a stretch. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, Felicity Bryan Associates.
April 1, 2018
A promotion comes with a host of challenges for the Périgord region's Bruno Courrèges (The Templar's Last Secret, 2017, etc.).As chief of police for the tiny Dordogne village of St. Denis, Bruno used to serve more as a town policeman, going to the square on market days to kiss the babies and chat with their grandmères. He even had time to coach the local women's rugby team. But now that he's been promoted to chief of police of the entire Vézère Valley, he's facing the challenges that come with greater responsibility. He needs to ride herd on Louis, the town policeman in Montignac, who spends too much time in the local bars, and to mentor young, ambitious Juliette Robard, who just replaced the sole policewoman in Les Eyzies. He also needs to negotiate the unorthodox chain of command in rural France. Prunier, the commissaire de police for the Dordogne département, thinks that Bruno now works for him, but the Mayor of St. Denis is convinced that Bruno is still his subordinate. Bruno's delicate calculations about whom he reports to and who reports to him become all the more stressful when an Englishwoman is found dead in Lalinde, definitely outside his old remit in St. Denis. Monika Felder left Gatwick for France to take a cooking course offered by Bruno's friends Pamela and Miranda but never arrived. Her body is discovered in a cabin belonging to Patrick James McBride, a mysterious Irishman who owns a local vineyard and whose travels to Amsterdam, Florence, and Dubai suggest that he's not a typical French winemaker. And if adjusting to his new role and solving his latest case weren't enough, Bruno finds out that Paulette, a star of his rugby team with a decent shot at making the national squad, is unexpectedly pregnant.Walker's latest is replete with incident, but like the frequent dinners his hero prepares for friends, paying guests, and the occasional visiting FBI agent, its abundance seems just one more testimony to the richness of the region.
COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
- The New York Times Book Review "A mouthwatering treat."
- Wine Spectator "[A] deliciously food-and-wine-soaked world. . . . [And] a cast of characters guaranteed to charm."
- Forbes "Unashamedly lavished with warmth. . . . The ubiquitous atmosphere of [Walker's] books is of undisguised affection for the towns, villages, their people, their wine and their food of the Dordogne."
PublisherKnopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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