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The Crowded Grave (Bruno, Chief of Police #4)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,051 ratings  ·  157 reviews
Another delectable serving of mystery and the pleasures of the Dordogne from the newest master of suspense, Martin Walker.
It's spring in the idyllic village of St. Denis, and for Chief of Police Bruno Courreges that means lamb stews, bottles of his beloved Pomerol, morning walks with his hound, Gigi--and a new string of regional crimes and international capers. When a loc
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published September 29th 2011 by Quercus (first published 2011)
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Almost as much a travel book as a police procedural, The Crowded Grave features a local cop, Bruno Courrèges, who can hold his own with members of France's various national police forces while keeping life smooth for farmers, villagers and tourists in the fictional community of St. Denis. Amid the spectacular food, wine and scenery of the Dordogne region, Bruno finesses the quirks of French bureaucracy and politics to make sure that the misguided get a second chance and that a brutal terrorist p ...more
Kenneth Fredette
This book was good. My wife would hate it because of the ending. 4 books to come to this ending. His next book should take care of that. I won't spoil the book with what happened but it's a good read. A glass of wine and a book. What could be better.
Florence Millo
I am in love with Bruno. I would love for him to cook for me in his cottage. I don't understand Isabelle but if she doesn't want him, I sure do!
Gerald Sinstadt
This is the fourth in Martin Walker's Bruno series and, in many ways, the best so far. The Brigadier again has a prominent role and so we spend time dealing with international matters - an area where a small town Chief of Police seems an unlikely participant. The author just about pulls it off, and can be forgiven because Basque terrorism doesn't completely overshadow the lesser crime scene in St Denis.

The people - and the cuisine - are infinitely beguiling, while personal relationships are hand
Deale Hutton
I really love the way Martin Walker combines history, food/wine, and mystery. His characters are wonderfully developed. There is a lot of archaeological fun facts in this one, lots of recipes and a traumatic ending.
Get me some duck fat! LOL
The Crowded Grave
By Martin Walker
4 stars
pp. 314

I was pleased to see that a new Bruno, Chief of Police had been released as I had enjoyed a previous book by Martin Walker The Dark Vineyard. I can say that The Crowded Grave lived up to my expectations and I appreciated the development of the characters, the mystery, the setting and the descriptions of the food and wine of the region.

Bruno Courreges is The Chief of Police for the village of St. Denis in Dordogne, France. Bruno embraces his home, th
First Sentence: For once, the chef de police of the small French town of St. Denis was carrying a gun.

It is a busy time for police chief Bruno Courrèges. Local farmers of geese and ducks are being set upon by members of PETA who oppose fois gras. A local archeology site has turned up four skeleton’s-- three that could cause a significant change in the science of evolution, one much more recent who was murdered—and now the head of the dig has gone missing. A high level summit is about to take pla
I nearly stopped reading this book, it did not hold my interest in the beginning. The story involves two things that just don't pop my cork - international terrorist movements and foie gras farming (or is it ranching?). However, the book had gotten high praise and is part of an on-going series with a single detective - I love series & hadn't ever tried this one, so I kept reading. The middle third of the book was great, but the ending was kind of flat for me. The book left too many secondary ...more
Uwe Taechl
Review of the German edition:
Im vierten Fall geht es um die nächste Spezialität der Franzosen, den Foie gras. Dazu kommen sensationelle archäologische Funde und ein Toter, der erst wenige Jahrzehnte unter den historischen Fundstücken liegt.

Archäologische Fundstücke beweisen, dass schon vor 30000 Jahren im Périgord gelebt wurde. Eine Sensation, die dadurch getrübt wird, dass man bei der Ausgrabungsstätte einen Toten findet, der vor ungefähr zwanzig Jahren dort vergraben wurde.
Außerdem gerä
Ach, Bruno, wie gern habe ich deine ersten drei Fälle gelesen. Doch was ist passiert? Warum war der vierte Fall nicht so toll? Schlägt dir das Thema auf den Magen?
Gänsestoffleber ist doch eine Delikatesse in Frankreich und wird dort fast schon zelebriert, aber trotzdem gibt es Menschen, die diese traditionelle Speise nicht mögen und nun dagegen ankämpfen. Aber deshalb zu schwächeln?
Der vierte Fall hat mich nicht so richtig mitgerissen. Ich mag den Chef de police nach wie vor, aber diesmal hat e
Bruno is as delightful a character one could hope to meet. Walker's depiction of this part of France is spot on. I was only there a week so I cant pretend to speak with authority, but it did make me miss it and want to return. The mystery is a good one and the pacing is leisurely, just the way I like it with this series. Enthusitically recommended.
Jan Schindler
Liked it a lot altho one of my favorite characters meets an untimely end.(reason for 4 not 5 stars) Walker carefully blends life in a small French town with mystery and contemporary life to make a wonderful read! Highly recommend series.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
I feel like this was an improvement on previous books in the series. Still not something I can see myself re-reading, though. It makes me sad that the US publisher is putting these out a year after the UK editions.
Clark Knowles
Another excellent entry into this series. Martin Walker's fictional French country town of St. Denis is again at the center of a large national crisis and the nearly impossibly perfect chief of police, Bruno, has to help solve problems big and small--all while playing and coaching rugby, cooking with the skill of the best chefs, dealing with inept gendarmes, and trying to find a woman that will share his country life. Bruno might seem too good to be true, but he's a rock solid character and Walk ...more
Adam Shields
Short Review: this is still a bit more focused on all of the events outside of St Denis than I think is helpful. But looking from a positive side, even the rural French countryside is affected by the events of the world. St Denis has been chosen as the site of an international summit. So Bruno has been tasked with providing support, while trying to keep environmentalist students from destroying local farms and figure out who the body is that was found in an archeological dig site. Jacqueline is ...more
My reasons for enjoying the Martin Walker series Bruno Chief of Police remain the same: the author's description of the beauty and history found within the Périgord countryside, the warmth and character of the people who live there, the description of meals prepared - all of the above brings this lesser known corner of France very much alive. The weakness for me lies in the storyline itself and the final rush of everything coming together. Still, all in all, a good read. You can be sure I'll be ...more
Three and a half stars. Had some trouble rating this because I found the mystery a little slow, but love the main character --a local police chief in a small town in the south of France. Bruno Courrege is not the typical neurotic detective frequently found in police procedural series. Bruno is smart, a totally nice guy, gourmet cook, rugby coach, & ladies man. He has no trouble figuring out ways to skirt those old senseless laws which he deems silly and outdated. Idyllic setting, good writin ...more

Martin Walker’s Bruno Courreges series has a special place on my bookshelf. I have read three books so far (in no particular order) and all of them have been outstanding. The Crowded Grave has multiple interlinked story lines that make a complex plot and yet Walker maintains the charm of French country life that includes Bruno’s delicious recipes and special wines. This is a very delicate job and Walker maintains this balance splendidly.

An archaeological te
Tessa Eger
A great new author for me--I can't wait to go back now and read Martin Walker's first mysteries! A former Editor for UPI and currently director of a think tank, Oxford alum Walker splits his time between Washington, DC, and the Dordogne region. His books take place in the villages of the Dordogne and take advantage of the loveliness of the Aquitaine area of France. Everything Walker loves about French country life is in his books, which were informed and inspired by the 2005 riots and the subse ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Crowded Grave, by Martin Walker, b-plus, Narrated by Robert Ian Mackenzie, Produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from

This is the latest in the Chief of Police Bruno Courrèges series, involving a village in the French countryside. In The Crowded Grave, Bruno
is up to his ears in cases with political consequences after a local archaeological dig unearths a modern corpse with a bullet in its head. Further complicating matters are a new inexperienced meddlesome local magistrate, ani
Nov 26, 2011 Ellie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: crime
At the site of a ground-breaking archaeological find, a more recent burial is discovered. With an important summit being held in the region, authorities are on the look-out for Basque separatists all the while trying to protect the local foie gras farms from animal activist attacks.

You would think that either Basque separatists or archaeology would provide a fascinating vehicle for a crime novel. However even the dead body takes a back-seat to the foie gras industry. The first 60 odd pages are p
This was a pleasant read - set in a French village. The main character is a policeman, but the book is almost more about Bruno and his village than it is a mystery. All you ever wanted to know about foie gras! The story was a little slow, but still enjoyable.

Plot: It's spring in the idyllic village of St. Denis, and for Chief of Police Bruno Courreges that means lamb stews, bottles of his beloved Pomerol, morning walks with his hound, Gigi--and a new string of regional and international capers.
Cathy Cole
First Line: For once, the chef de police of the small French town of St. Denis was carrying a gun.

It's spring in St. Denis, and although Chief of Police Bruno Courrèges would like to spend it taking morning walks with his Basset hound Gigi, spending even more time with his lady love Pamela, and eating and drinking with his many friends, it's not meant to be.

An archaeological team is in the area looking for Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal remains. Instead the team finds a skeleton with a watch on its
I found this fourth Bruno story to be darker and more complex than his previous books. In an archaeological dig which contains Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon remains, one of the student workers, Teddy, uncovers a skeleton with a bullet in his neck and a wrist watch on his arm. Teddy and another student are suspected of animal rights vandalism. A secret summit meeting of Spanish and French ministers is to be held nearby to discuss issues about Basque Terrorists and Bruno is responsible for security ...more
Another winner from this author. Policeman Bruno Courreges is involved in planning and providing security as a conference on Spanish/French relations is to be held in his community of St. Denis in the Dordogne region of France. At issue here is the problem of the Basque separatists. When a body is found at an archeological dig, and is found to be that of a Basque killed 20 years earlier, Bruno is hot on the trail of present day activists. As is usual in this series, Eco-terrorists and Greens are ...more
Jul 19, 2012 Alan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Bruno fans, cozy mystery fiction fans
The Crowded Grave is the 4th Bruno Courrèges, Chief of Police novel by Martin Walker and ups the ante on this terrific series. The earlier books were solid 4's for me but this one earned an extra star for the added drama and pathos of its conclusion. The familiar friends and ambiance of the village of St. Denis in the heart of the Périgord region of France are all in place here but the added suspense of a plot related to Basque ETA terrorists takes this well out of the realms of cozy mystery fic ...more
The best of all the Bruno books. We started with the second installment and really liked it. The first book (Bruno, chief of Police) was quite good, and the third volume a bit disappointing. However, this one is definitely a notch above the others - a bit less contrived (than no. 3 in particular), and more satisfying.

Overall, as I have said in previous reviews, it is so refreshing to have someone writing about France (or whichever "foreign" country) and getting it right. So often when one reads
Audrey K.
I enjoyed reading about Benoit Courreges, "Bruno", Chief of Police in an idyllic village in the French Perigord Region. He loves his basset hound, Gigi, his friends, French wine, cooking, and upholding the law to make for a peaceful village life at home. Some of the new words I experienced in this book: Francophile, vin de noix, foie gras, gendarmerie, mairie, and more. I would definitely read more adventures of Bruno. He even has his own website:
Tracey Watson
This was my first Martin Walker novel, and maybe not my last. Although it wasn't at all what I expected due to it's macabre title I still enjoyed the story. The main character Bruno is likeable and so is the idyllic French setting, but I found tbe book concentrated too much on foie gras, Bruno's cooking (parts of this book made me hungry) and his love life! I might read another one in this series if I fancy a nice easy read. Though one complaint - Gigi !!!!
Karen Lowe
I hadn't read any of this series before, and I thought there was potentially much to enjoy in the novel: an affable French policeman with the seemingly obligatory cooking skills, a tangled lovelife, a gentle sense of humour, plus the beautiful French countryside and wonderful food. I rather hoped to find a French equivalent of Guido Brunetti, but for me Bruno Courreges lacks that depth of character.
The unconvincing and over-complicated terrorist plot was unhappily grafted onto this French idyll
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
See this thread for more information.

Martin Walker is the U.S. bureau chief for The Guardian (London), a regular commentator for CNN, and a columnist for newspapers in the United States, Europe, and Moscow. A published novelist and poet, he lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, the novelist Julia Watson, and
More about Martin Walker...

Other Books in the Series

Bruno, Chief of Police (7 books)
  • Bruno, Chief Of Police (Bruno, Chief of Police #1)
  • The Dark Vineyard (Bruno, Chief of Police #2)
  • Black Diamond (Bruno, Chief of Police #3)
  • The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police, #5)
  • The Resistance Man (Bruno, Chief of Police #6)
  • Children of War (Bruno, Chief of Police #7)
Bruno, Chief Of Police (Bruno, Chief of Police #1) The Dark Vineyard (Bruno, Chief of Police #2) Black Diamond (Bruno, Chief of Police #3) The Devil's Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police, #5) The Resistance Man (Bruno, Chief of Police #6)

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