Time to dream again of life and crime in sunny southwestern France?

A Shooting at Chateau Rock is Book 13 in Martin Walker’s ‘Bruno, Chief of Police’ series. If I say this is another charming story it sounds patronising. But these books, which are set deep in the Dordogne, do have a lot of charm because of the characters and location. Having said that though, the mysteries are clever, engaging and reasonably gritty. It’s a good mix.

This story centres around the death of an old farmer who, just before he died had signed over his property to an insurance company to fund a move to a luxury retirement home. Technically it would be impossible to prove the death was a crime, but of course Bruno and his chums manage to expose the financial scam behind it. Alongside this mystery, and connected to it, there is a Russian oligarch who is being watched by the French security services in regard to a vast money laundering operation.

Martin Walker’s cast of characters is what holds these books together and makes them such fun to read. While Bruno is rather an enigmatic man, he’s the focal point, and the local mayor, shopkeepers, friends and girlfriends are satellites. The plots are always grounded in the town of Saint Denis and the descriptions of the countryside, traditions, and lives of the local people are what bring colour and life to the pages – as well as the crimes, of course!

These are really relaxing and enjoyable books to read. Someone in our book group put me onto them and I’ve been reading through the series steadily since. They are lovely escapism and you don’t have to read them in order because each story can be enjoyed on its own merits. They are definitely worth trying if you want a good book to curl up with. 4-Stars.
Review by: Cornish Eskimo

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