Martin Walker

The Dark Vineyard

""Bruno Courreges...loves the town that he is charged to protect and is willing to bend the rules to bring about justice." "


Captain Bruno Courreges of the St Denis police is investigating a fire that has taken place on a neighbouring property. The owner of the fields is a mysterious agricultural company and there is an unregistered barn on the premises and some suspicious looking crops being grown. Bruno immediately suspects local environmental activists who are opposed to the growing of genetically modified food. However his investigation of the crime is interrupted by the offer by a multinational wine company to grow their grapes in the commune. Local opinion is divided and Bruno comes firmly down on the side of retaining the status quo and preserving St Denis' unique local character. But other forces are at play and soon the murders begin to pile up. Who is Bruno looking for, a disgruntled Green party member or a wine aficionado? Either way no peace with be restored to the commune until the crimes are solved.

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This second book featuring Bruno Courreges continues its depiction of life in the fictional village of St Denis. Marin Walker is obviously charmed by rural French life and his descriptions of the markets, vineyards and assorted townspeople evoke a rural idyll. Into this setting Bruno Courreges fits perfectly. He loves the town that he is charged to protect and is willing to bend the rules to bring about justice. But the author also adds a dose of modern day drama. The issue of genetically modified crops in the fields of rural France is an emotive issue in current politics as is the influence of new world winemaking on French traditional methods. The murder plot is engrossing although sometimes the personality of the victims is somewhat glossed over leaving the reader feel that they are a bit part in the wider French drama. But the investigation reaches a satisfactory conclusion after suitable twists and turns in the plot. Those returning from their holidays in the depths of rural France will thoroughly enjoy the book, as will many other readers of crime fiction.

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