Another installment in the delightful, internationally acclaimed series featuring Chief of Police Bruno: When a young American woman turns up dead in the courtyard of an ancient castle, Bruno Courrèges initially assumes that she died of an overdose. But her doctor soon persuades him that things may not be so simple, setting Bruno on an investigation that will lead him from the Renaissance to the French Resistance and beyond.
Claudia Muller had been studying with Monsieur de Bourdeille, a renowned art historian who became extraordinarily wealthy through the sale of paintings that may have been falsely attributed—or so Claudia suggested shortly before her death. In his younger days, Bourdeille had aided the Resistance and been arrested by a Vichy police officer whose own life story also becomes inexorably entangled with the case. Also in the mix is a young falconer who works at the Château des Milandes, the former home of fabled jazz singer Josephine Baker.
Once again, it’s up to Bruno to make sure that justice is served—along with a generous helping of his signature Périgordian cuisine, of course.
The disappearance of American Claudia Muller, an art history student, drives Walker's satisfying 14th outing for French chief of police Beno t "Bruno" Courr ges (after 2018's A Taste for Vengeance). When Claudia's body is found in a well in Bruno's small town of St. Denis, the preliminary autopsy leads the authorities to believe her death was an accident. Drugs may have been a contributing factor. Claudia was studying with a noted art scholar who was possibly engaged in shady dealings related to his valuable art collection. She was also seen in the presence of a man recently released from prison. Was her death a simple misfortune or something more sinister? The book's main strength is the intrepid Bruno, a horseback-riding and dog-loving master chef whose calm professional practicality pulls the reader into the well-developed, if familiar, crime story. Whether he's preparing a gourmet dinner, enjoying a glass of wine, or solving a murder, it's a pleasure to be in Bruno's company.