Bruno, Chief of Police

Bruno, Chief of Police

Book - 2009 | 1st U.S. ed.
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Random House, Inc.
The first installment in a wonderful new series that follows the exploits of Benoît Courrèges, a policeman in a small French village where the rituals of the café still rule. Bruno—as he is affectionately nicknamed—may be the town’s only municipal policeman, but in the hearts and minds of its denizens, he is chief of police.

Bruno is a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life—living in his restored shepherd’s cottage; patronizing the weekly market; sparring with, and basically ignoring, the European Union bureaucrats from Brussels. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it. But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes everything and galvanizes Bruno’s attention: the man was found with a swastika carved into his chest.

Because of the case’s potential political ramifications, a young policewoman is sent from Paris to aid Bruno with his investigation. The two immediately suspect militants from the anti-immigrant National Front, but when a visiting scholar helps to untangle the dead man’s past, Bruno’s suspicions turn toward a more complex motive. His investigation draws him into one of the darkest chapters of French history—World War II, a time of terror and betrayal that set brother against brother. Bruno soon discovers that even his seemingly perfect corner of la belle France is not exempt from that period’s sinister legacy.

Bruno, Chief of Police
is deftly dark, mesmerizing, and totally engaging.

Baker & Taylor
When the murdered body of an elderly French army soldier is found with a swastika carved into his chest, Benoit Courreges, the chief of police in a small French village in the South of France and affectionately nicknamed Bruno, turns his suspicions toward a tortured period of French history when the government turned on its own citizens to help the Germans wage war.

Blackwell North Amer
The first installment in a wonderful new series that follows the exploits of Benoit Courreges, a policeman in a small French village where the rituals of the cafe still rule. Bruno - as he is affectionately nicknamed - may be the town's only municipal policeman, but in the hearts and minds of its denizens, he is chief of police.
Bruno is a former soldier who has embraced the pleasures and slow rhythms of country life - living in his restored shepherd's cottage; patronizing the weekly market; sparring with, and basically ignoring, the European Union bureaucrats from Brussels. He has a gun but never wears it; he has the power to arrest but never uses it. But then the murder of an elderly North African who fought in the French army changes everything and galvanizes Bruno's attention: the man was found with a swastika carved into his chest.
Because of the case's potential political ramifications, a young policewoman is sent from Paris to aid Bruno with his investigation. The two immediately suspect militants from the anti-immigrant National Front, but when a visiting scholar helps to untangle the dead man's past, Bruno's suspicions turn toward a more complex motive. His investigation draws him into one of the darkest chapters of French history - World War II, a time of terror and betrayal that set brother against brother. Bruno soon discovers that even his seemingly perfect corner of la belle France is not exempt from that period's sinister legacy.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780307270177
0307270173
Characteristics: 273 p. ; 22 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

Bruno Courreges is the constable of the small village of St. Denis in the south of France. His investigations cover many different aspects of French history from World War II, Indochina, the French-Algerian war, to modern Madrasas in France. I have read this entire series (11). Walker will be re... Read More »


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e
empbee
Jan 22, 2019

The first of a series about life and crime in a small town in southwestern France spiced with good food, wine and crime. Some of the historical connection with Algeria is a good touch.

Very worth while to read this background on our beloved character, Bruno, chief of police in small town France. Can't add any more than what other fans have written below.

b
BWandRead
Nov 08, 2018

Having been in this area this year, Martin has absolutely nailed it! Can't wait to get hold of the next book in the series. Louise Penny, watch out!

w
wyenotgo
Aug 22, 2018

There are many things to like about this book:
- A pervasive sense of place, local atmosphere and the pace of life in a small French market town.
- Convincing and complex personalities; Bruno is no one-dimensional cop; he has been wounded but is not cynical, has retained his humanity.
- A story line that holds together from beginning to end, makes sense, never farfetched.
- Frequent pauses in the pursuit of a solution, while Bruno takes time for love, friends and above all, food -- this is, after all, France (we are even treated to menus and recipes!).
- A highly informative insight into the political history of France and Algeria from WW2 to the present day, a topic not likely to be at all familiar to most readers.
So, if you're eager for an intense, action-packed crime drama, this one is not for you. But neither is it a tea-cozy mystery; the crime at issue is brutal enough and the cultural/racial tensions in the community are significant. Walker has achieved a remarkable balance, presenting a highly readable mystery populated by engaging characters.

JessicaGma Jul 23, 2018

A really well done police procedural set in France where Bruno is the chief of the small town and he knows everyone. The later twist in plot was something I knew little about, so it was also informative. I look forward to reading more.

Nicr Jun 24, 2018

Police procedural in a glorious setting, with a likeable, laid-back but obviously competent, small-town cop. Really interesting immersion in issues of French culture such as E.U. regulations, the Front National, and the massive immigration from Arab countries, with plenty of historical perspective. But everything stops for a gourmet meal. Terrific first entry in the Bruno Courrèges series.

p
patcarstensen
Jul 03, 2017

Finally, a French mystery that explains how the various police and legal institutions fit together.

k
kyle000
Feb 25, 2017

I am really enjoying this series!

r
Rubicat
Feb 10, 2017

Thoroughly enjoyable novel. It could have been a bit less filled with food references and a bit more about a killing & subsequent investigation but I suppose that will gradually change as the series goes on. I am looking forward to reading more of Bruno's books. He is a really likable character and the town/commune is charming & idyllic - very much like Three Pines/Trois Pins in Louise Penney's series with Armand Gamache as the chief detective. Anyway, I enjoyed it a lot and intend to read the rest of the series as soon as I can get them.

d
DorisWaggoner
Nov 25, 2016

Bruno, Chief of Police , the only police officer in a small town in the south of France is a former soldier who's chosen the slow pace and good cooking (much of it his own) of a beautifully described countryside. He's more interested in justice than in the letter of the law, and teaches tennis to small boys, so that they will grow up to be good citizens. It works, mostly. So when the first murder in memory occurs, it's a shock to everyone. The National Police are sent in to help. Bruno and his friend the Mayor don't like their methods--except that Bruno's very attracted to Isabelle, the only woman National Police officer. The murder victim is a reclusive elderly Arab from North Africa, one of a group who settled peacefully in the area; the younger generations are French citizens, and many are good rugby players--important to the French. What Bruno, the Mayor, and Isabelle conclude makes me want to read the rest of the series. I deducted some stars because a bit of explanation or translation of French phrases and history would have made the beginning of the book easier for me to understand. I soon got into it, however.

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