Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker

Publication Info: Published April 6, 2010 by Vintage. Previously published in 2008 by Walker and Watson, Ltd. Other editions available.

Summary: Bruno is the chief of police in the fictional small town of St. Denis in southern France. He enjoys his job, which mostly consists of being friendly and coaching kids’s sports teams. He loves his quiet lifestyle and has no desire to make a name for himself. He also really enjoys assisting the townspeople in foiling the E.U. inspectors attempts to enforce the market hygiene laws. After all, people had been eating the local eggs and cheese for centuries without harm. The new rules forbidding their sales at farmer’s markets were silly.

Besides their historical markets, the residents of St. Denis love parades. They proudly bear flags and march through the streets of town for every national holiday. Their oldest, and most honored, citizens are veterans of WWII and the Algerian War of Independence. After one of these parades, an Algerian Muslim grandfather is discovered murdered in his home with a swastika cut into his chest. His death stirs up anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant feelings in the town and beyond. While the national police are looking into hate groups for the murderer, Bruno does his own quieter investigations.

Comments: This series was recommended to me about five years ago, when I was in a book club. I shoved it to the back of my reading list until I came across this first in the series in a local independent bookstore in Fort Collins, CO (Old Firehouse Books). I don’t purchase many books — at the speed I read I’d be broke in short order — but I do like to buy from independents when I visit them.

Anyway, I finally got around to reading, Bruno, Chief of Police, and fell instantly in love with the series. While I read the occasional cozy, I like something with more depth and this book fits that little niche between cozy and harder mysteries perfectly. With its gentle pacing, quirky town and characters that will develop over time, the series may appeal to readers of Louise Penny.

Recommended for Mystery readers and those who like fiction set in rural France.

My rating 4.5 STARS

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