'THE MAIGRET OF THE DORDOGNE' ANTONY BEEVOR
Bruno has been promoted, but his new responsibilities aren't what's making him nervous. That would be the promise he made to his friend Pamela to teach some classes at her new cookery school. Cooking the delicious traditional Perigord dishes he loves is one thing, but presenting to a class of people at the same time? In English? Even brave Bruno is quaking in his boots.
The disappearance of one of the cookery school clients almost comes as a welcome relief. At first Bruno is unconcerned, but the discovery of the woman's body in one half of a double homicide soon proves how wrong this feeling was. The other murder victim is more mysterious - a man, covered in combat scars and with a false passport. Investigations reveal him to be an ex-soldier of fortune, with a list of enemies as long as Bruno's arm. Any one of them would have had good reason to kill him - but which group managed it? And how did they find him?
As more of their mystery man's previous life is revealed, Bruno realizes that he and Pamela's cookery student may not have been the only intended victims in the vicinity. Now he must conduct the biggest manhunt in St Denis history to find the killers before they strike again.
Bruno Courr ges, the police chief of the Dordogne village of St. Denis, goes looking for English tourist Monika Felder after she fails to show up for a cooking class in Walker's entertaining 11th series mystery (after 2017's The Templars' Last Secret). Bruno learns that Monika, who left her husband back in England, was traveling with Patrick McBride, an Irishman with a house in the area. Monika turns up at the house, fatally stabbed in the bathroom; McBride's body is found hanging from a tree in the nearby woods. What at first appears to be a murder-suicide proves to be a double homicide involving more than one killer and with links to a multimillion-dollar theft in Iraq and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The efficient Bruno also manages to help one of the women's rugby players he's coached since childhood sort out some serious problems, run through some favorite Dordogne recipes while teaching a cooking class, and continue his on-again, off-again romance with a former colleague. Walker's formula for regional crime fiction still appeals, though this outing's global elements are something of a stretch.
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Another Excellent Serving
Bruno receives a promotion and is now to be in overall responsibility for the municipal policing in the whole of his valley. A friend asks him to look into the non-appearance of a female guest due at her new cookery school. He soon discovers that she did arrive, but a day earlier than she had told Bruno’s friend she would arrive, and in the company of a man. The trail soon leads to a house where the woman is found murdered, with the man dead outside the property. Things quickly turn more and more complicated, taking on an international angle. This story is all set against the backdrop of Bruno’s townsfolk and the life and culture - especially food - of the Périgord.
Each of these books can be read as a stand-alone but, having read all of them, I eagerly wait for the next one each time, and look forward to reacquainting myself once again with Bruno and the good folk of this beautiful area of France