In this latest mouthwatering mystery starring country policeman, Bruno, the body of a woman is found outside a cave beneath the ruined Templar chateau of Commarque in the heart of the Dordogne. She died of a broken neck. An accidental fall, or was she pushed?
The victim carries no identification and her fingerprints are not known to the French Police or Interpol.The only clue to the woman's identity is that her dentistry looks American, but Bruno's inquiries at local hotels and gites yield no trace of a missing foreign woman.
The chateau of Commarque, begun in the 11th century, was founded by a Bishop of Sarlat and entrusted to the Knights Templar. In the rocks beneath it are caves. It is one of the few Templar sites in France that has never been associated with the fabled hidden treasure of the Templars - never until now, when a local journalist publishes a sensational story around the unknown woman's death and a centuries-old mystery looks like it might finally be solved...
In Walker's deftly plotted 10th mystery starring St. Denis, France, police chief Beno t "Bruno" Courr ges (after 2016's Fatal Pursuit), the small-town cop with a knack for stumbling onto big cases rolls into action when an unidentified woman takes a fatal fall from the ramparts of an ancient fortress, apparently before she could finish painting graffiti there that may relate to the medieval order of the Knights Templar. With a Ministry of Justice observer in tow, Bruno displays brisk competence and amiable perceptiveness as he investigates what becomes a murder case. Prehistoric cave art, Crusader tales, and modern Islamic terrorism all figure into the crime, with each getting expository treatment that can be a little labored, even when written crisply. Series fans will happily note Walker's customary appreciation for local wines, food, and culture, and his bemused explanations of French bureaucracy, though some readers may find the novel's climax, by the prehistoric painted caves of Lascaux, slightly rushed and overheated.