Martin Walker

The Crowded Grave

""...well written and evoke a strong sense of the French countryside." "


Bruno, the St Denis Chief of Police has a full schedule. Local archaeologists, looking for ancient graves have dug up a body wearing a leather jacket with a Swatch on his wrist. Animal rights activists have attacked a local foie gras farm, killing a number of geese and a French-Spanish summit in the locality is being threatened by ETA terrorists. Bruno is forced to juggle conflicting priorities while the arrival of a new magistrate, fresh out of law school exacerbates tensions within the town and stretch Bruno's diplomatic skills. Meanwhile, his personal life is once again thrown into confusion with the return of the glamorous Isabelle and the temporary absence of his long standing girlfriend, Pamela.

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Martin Walker has carved out a niche with his Bruno, Chief of Police novels. They are well written and evoke a strong sense of the French countryside. Walker doesn't rely on stock English characters but confidently writes about local French individuals, including the redoubtable Bruno. As usual, the plot proceeds at a fair pace and my only criticism about this book is that there is perhaps too much going on. There are effectively three separate cases which although interlinked are slightly confusing to the reader. The plot is interesting though and I like the exploration of links between the Perigord department and the Basque region. Much more successful are the descriptions of Bruno's personal life, his love of the countryside and his cooking skills, again bringing that French region to life. Those who enjoyed the previous Bruno books will love 'The Crowded Grave'.

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