An aging art scholar and a visiting student, haunting echoes of France's colonialist past, and a delicious navarin of lamb—Bruno is back, and his latest case leads him from the Renaissance to the French Resistance and beyond by way of a corpse at the bottom of a well.
When Claudia, a young American, turns up dead in the courtyard of an ancient castle in Bruno's jurisdiction, her death is assumed to be an accident related to opioid use. But her doctor persuades Bruno that things may not be so simple. Thus begins an investigation that leads Bruno to Monsieur de Bourdeille, the scholar with whom the girl had been studying, and then through that man's past. He is 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 policeman whose own life story also becomes inexorably entangled with the case.
Also in the mix is a young falconer who works at the Chateau des Milandes, the former home of fabled jazz singer Josephine Baker. In the end, of course, Bruno will tie all the loose threads together and see that justice is served—along with a generous helping of his signature Perigordian cuisine.
Maybe only Two Stats
I gave this book 3 stars because some readers might enjoy it more than I did. There’s a lot about French culture, French history, and French cuisine.
Not enough investigating. Much about the individual French characters and villager’s lives that might interest those who have traveled in France. I have not, thus the story is a 2 star for me.