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Bruno, Chief of Police (Bruno, Chief of Police #1)

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  5,382 Ratings  ·  763 Reviews
The first installment in a wonderful new series that follows the exploits of Benoît Courrèges, a policeman in a small French village where the rituals of the café still rule. Bruno -- as he is affectionately nicknamed -- may be the town's only municipal policeman, but in the hearts and minds of its denizens, he is chief of police.

Bruno is a former soldier who has embraced
Hardcover, 262 pages
Published April 3rd 2008 by Quercus Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Lila Yes I think that is important to read the books in order. The First book explains why Bruno is in the town he's in and introduces characters who will…moreYes I think that is important to read the books in order. The First book explains why Bruno is in the town he's in and introduces characters who will show up in subsequent books. Not sure about success with Book Club unless you are doing mysteries where the Setting and character are main topics for discussion. My book group read The little Paris Bookshop (my recommendation) and found it rather difficult to get into a couple didn't finish it. I loved it because I knew enough about France that I could follow the journey of the main character. I think reading about Chief of Police Bruno is similar in that St.Denis is a small Fench town and the people are very French. This may not be easy to discuss if you have no "relationship" with France. However the series is still very good just to read by yourself and perhaps discuss with another avid mystery reader.(less)

Community Reviews

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Dec 01, 2015 Margitte rated it it was amazing
Bruno (real name Benoît Courrèges), chief of police, is a complex man, with an agreeable personality, has a sense of humor, a fierce loyalty to his village- St Denis, with 3000 inhabitants-and a keen nose for detail. He has empathy and guts, patience and understanding. Above all, he is a beloved, but also a seriously underestimated policeman.

The rugby team is much more than a sports team; Bruno's loyalty demands that the village market is protected against the E.U. hygiene inspectors; children
Richard Derus
Mar 04, 2014 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.75* of five

I really enjoy BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE, review at my blog, because a veteran gets a job, loves his town, cherishes his way of life, educates the local kids, and solves a crime...and remains a good guy throughout.

The antithesis of noir, so be warned/encouraged!
Tim The Enchanter
Posted to The Literary

A Wonderful Surprise - 5 Stars

When I was looking for a book to read, I picked a number and randomly chose this one. I have no idea how it came to my attention or how it ended up on my list. Judging by the cover and description alone, this is not one I would normally pick up. If you simply look at these two things you will expect to read a cozy mystery but that is simply not the case. While the setting is quaint and the characters colorful, this is not a simp
Apr 03, 2015 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of cozylike crime novels
Recommended to Mark by: goodreads
When I first heard about this novel it sounded somewhat similar to Hamish Macbeth whose policing job took place in a world he loves, he knows the people and their limitations, is a bachelor and too many women want him but he is just not ready to settle for whatever reason.

The difference being that Bruno is grounded in the French countryside around the city of Saint Denis. Both hero's make their surroundings sound like well worth a visit.
A war hero is found being murdered in a hideous way and bef
Nov 05, 2011 Steve rated it liked it
This book had three things going for it. One was the setting. The reader gets a very good feel for the small village of St. Denis, and by extension can probably better appreciate the tempo and undercurrents in any small village, no matter where located in the world. Another was the history from the WW II era, interconnected with immigration issues, which of course are very relevant today. And, finally, it had a good plot and plot twists along the way.

I saw two problems with the book. One was the
Sep 17, 2010 Susan rated it it was amazing
This quick and delightful read probably merits only 4 or 4.5 stars because Bruno and his world are almost too perfect. Andy Griffith and Mayberry came to mind more than once. But nothing from Aunt Bea's kitchen could rival the gastronomic pleasures enjoyed by the lucky residents of St. Denis, a tiny hamlet tucked into the Perigord region of southwest France. The descriptions of the food and the landscape were irresistible to this Francophile. Though the mystery itself was somewhat simple, it was ...more
I enjoyed this cozy mystery novel very much. The book setting in a quaint village in one of the most beautiful regions of France (Dordogne) brought back treasured memories of my visits there.
Contrary to many other novels set in France, in this one the events take place in modern times. I liked the author’s inclusion of current issues such as the strict rules about food production and its sale due to the EU regulations and the challenges to integration between locals and Muslim immigrants in the
Oct 06, 2015 Suzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm adding this to my favorite series shelf after reading just the first of seven Bruno, Chief of Police books. Bruno is a young veteran of the Bosnian conflict who has chosen police work in the bucolic commune of St. Denis in the Dordognes region of France, hoping for a stress-free existence. His ordinary duties include property disputes, neighbors tattling on each other, managing the rugby team and parades, whether commemorations or protest demonstrations. That is until the commune has its fir ...more
The Just-About-Average Ms M
OK, here's the review.

If your style is a hell-for-leather, no holds barred, fast-and-furious mystery full of thrills, clues, multiple dead bodies, and action on every page, this is not your book. At all. Go read the pulp fiction writers.

What we have here instead is a lovely, lyrical, and eminently enjoyable immersion into the life of a small fictional village in the real Dordogne in south-central France, a region famous for wine and amazing country cuisine. We meet the villagers, fully fleshed,
Aug 09, 2016 Nigeyb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Bruno, Chief of Police' by Martin Walker is the first of (at the time of writing) nine novels about Bruno Courrèges, and the first I have read.

Bruno is chief of the police municipale, and the one and only officer on the local force, in the Périgord town of St Denis where he reports to the Mayor.

Whilst no literary masterpiece, I really enjoyed the evocation of life in the Périgord region of the Dordogne - a place I've visited twice and loved.

Bruno is an engaging fellow and, as is par for the c
Mar 17, 2013 James rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, crime
The story of a charming policeman, in a charming French town, populated with lots of charming people solving a thoroughly nasty crime. The whole book seems to have been written with one eye to replicating the success of Peter mayle. This pandering does overshadow some of the more promising elements. Maybe these come to the fore later in the series. In the meantime your left with a book that is pleasant enough but no big shakes.
Jun 30, 2009 Laurie rated it it was amazing
If Peter Mayle had woven a murder mystery into his hymns to Provence, they might have looked something like this.
Dana Stabenow
Jul 12, 2016 Dana Stabenow rated it really liked it
Take rural France and mix with wine, cheese, drugs, and Nazis plain and neo. Result? Martin Walker’s Bruno, Chief of Police.

St. Denis is a small village in Perigot in the south of present-day France. The first chapter opens on a beautiful day in May, with Bruno Courreges, St. Denis’s chief of police, surveying his village from upon high with no little satisfaction, but also with no illusions. St. Denis has its problems, including feuding World War II vets and interfering EU inspectors, but Bruno
Jun 29, 2015 Barbara rated it really liked it
Benoit Courreges - Chief of Police of St. Denis, France - is known as Bruno to everyone in the tight little community. Bruno loves the town and tries to ensure that the local traditions are not disturbed by pesky regulations from the European Union. Bruno turns a blind eye (and even helps the scofflaws), for example, when health inspectors who would ban some homemade goods from the weekly market are held up due to slashed tires or potatoes in their exhaust pipes.

Though St. Denis has a mixed pop
Michael Mcclelland
Aug 01, 2011 Michael Mcclelland rated it liked it
Comfortably satisfies every anglo-held cliche regarding rural France. Indeed it could very well have been written by someone that had never been to the country in response to the recent and well-publicised unrest from (largely) racial minorities in Paris' suburbs. How would immigration and the resultant tension affect the rural utopia imagined in France's countryside? The answer in this case, is with murder.

Like the book itself, life in St Denis is rich and slow-paced; the residents as inter-co
Aug 28, 2013 Nancy rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, france, 2013-read
Very disappointing for me after all the good reviews. Lots of clunky exposition: "The Elysée Palace was the official home, as well as the personal office, of the president of France." Translate that to American, "The White House was the official home, as well as the personal office, of the president of the United States." Ponderous and unnecessary and meriting a huge eye roll. This was compounded by dialogue that was stilted and flatly unreal and used for even more clunky exposition. Add in a lo ...more
Dec 14, 2010 Kandice rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I did. I enjoyed the locale of the book. I enjoyed the time period in which it was set. However, I felt the story dragged terribly. It lacked suspense and seemed to get bogged down in the details of small-town life. Plus, the main character seemed more caught up in what woman he might decide to date rather than in the urgency of solving the crime. I doubt I'll read any more books in this series.
Dec 19, 2015 Roseb612 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Po delší době konečně knížka, kterou jsem si opravdu užila. Je to sice detektivka, ale ten motiv vraždy je vlastně pomalu okrajová záležitost. Autor je Angličan a tak se mu očima z vnějšku podařilo docela dobře vystihnout maloměstskou (není míněno nijak pejorativně) Francii, kterou tak miluju. Jídlo a víno je vždy až na prvním místě :-) Na druhou stranu pouze Angličan může věnovat celou jednu kapitolu obhajobě anglické kuchyně - to opravdu pobavilo. Ale jelikož mezi mé oblíbence patří v Čechách ...more
Roddy Williams
Aug 03, 2013 Roddy Williams rated it really liked it
I have to confess that I was slowly seduced by this book, which made me want to run away to France, buy an isolated cottage, make my own sausages and grow carrots.
Bruno is an ex-soldier working as a policeman in the French town of St Denis. Up until now his main problems have been Planning violations, keeping the rugby team in order and co-ordinating the townspeople's defences against the bureaucratic nonsense of the EU food inspectors. However, he has a real crime on his hands when an elderly a
Jan 22, 2012 Mackay rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, france
An enjoyable read. The mystery is both timely and historical, but the joys of this book are also why I read it: the portrait of small-town life in a part of France I adore, the Dordogne. Bruno is the city policeman of the (fictional-but-real) town of Saint Denis, and he views his job as protecting his people's way of life as much as enforcing the laws of the Fifth Republic. Despite his low rank on the pecking order of police and other forces investigating the vicious murder of an old man (he ran ...more
May 31, 2013 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If this book hadn't been recommended to me I certainly wouldn't have picked it up. Yes the title is uninspiring but please don't be put off. This is the first in a series featuring Bruno Courreges who is chief of police of St Denis, a small town in the Perigord region of France. The characters are believable and (important to me), likeable. The book is full of wonderful descriptions of the area and the food will have you drooling. More importantly, the plot is excellent and I thought the solutio ...more
Dana Woodaman
Jul 20, 2009 Dana Woodaman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gourmet chef, good with children, keeps a clean house (which he mostly rebuilt himself) and a sharp eyed detective in a small town in South Western France - what could there be not to like about Bruno?
A delightful, dare I say light hearted mystery that taught me much about life in small town France - HIGHLY recommended!
Cindy Rollins
3 1/2 stars. Nothing spectacular but great summer fluff set in France and including food.
Cathy Cole
Jul 28, 2011 Cathy Cole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First Line: On a bright May morning, so early that the last of the mist was still lingering low over a bend in the Vézère River, a white van drew to a halt on the ridge that overlooked the small French town.

After a horrifying stint with the U.N. peacekeeping forces in Bosnia, Benoît Courrèges (known as Bruno) has found a home he has come to love very much-- the small village of St. Denis in the Périgord region of southwestern France. There with the help of his friends and his own two hands, he h
Jan C
Jul 12, 2016 Jan C rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, france, 2016
Wonderful. This book has been sitting on my shelf for years. If only I'd known.

Martin Walker paints a marvelous portrait of Bruno, the chief of police, and how he knows his town of St. Denis and the people. They are semi-United in their antipathy toward the levying of the Euro policies and taxes. Bruno has spent time getting to know the townspeople, partly by teaching tennis in the summer and rugby in the winter. He just knows everybody. St. Denis is located in Dordogne and Walker paints a wonde
BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE (Trad. Myst/Police Proc-Cpt. Bruno Courrège-St. Denis, France-Cont.) – VG+
Walker, Martin – 1st book
Quercus, 2008, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9781847245076

First Sentence: On a bright May morning, so early that the last of the mist was still lingering low over the great bend in the river, a white van drew to a halt on the ridge over the small French town.

Bruno Courrege is police captain in St. Denis, a quiet, medieval town in southwest France where the biggest crime has been thwar
Shirley Schwartz
Feb 22, 2015 Shirley Schwartz rated it really liked it
What a delightful introduction to a new (to me) series! I received this book from my LibraryThing Secret Santa, who I would like to acknowledge. Thank you so much for introducing me to a delightful new series set in France's beautiful Dordogne region (which is located east of Bordeaux). The book is a police procedural mystery set in the present day that introduces us to Bruno the Chief of Police in St. Denis located in Dordogne. Mr. Walker allows us to make the acquaintance of a wonderful new pr ...more
Jim Leffert
Jan 04, 2012 Jim Leffert rated it really liked it
Benoit “Bruno” Courrèges, a young Frenchman, a veteran of traumatic UN service in Bosnia, is chief of police in small town in France’s southern Perigord region, where he enjoys the close knit community feel of scenic, tourist-friendly St. Denis. The grisly murder of an elderly Algerian man--a swastika is carved on his chest--attracts national attention and the interest of a politically well-connected, “on the make” young magistrate, who is determined to bring the murderer or murderers to well-pu ...more
May 01, 2009 Amy rated it really liked it
Isn't it nice when a book lets you armchair travel? This book carried me to a small, delightful village in France and introduced me to Bruno, his neighbors and his co-workers. Though it raced a bit at the end, it still left me with a satisfied feeling, hungering for more (both literally and figuratively-- the meals described in this book are fabulous!)

In some senses this was a bit like Hamish Macbeth, only the quirky individuals were in Dordogne rather than the Highlands of Scotland. Both storie
Jun 01, 2016 Lynn rated it really liked it
Bruno is the Chief of Police in the village of St. Denis. He loves his simple life there. He enjoys his country home which is humble but he fixed it up himself. He likes the scenery from his home plus eating the produce he grows in his garden. He is a very likable character. He loves to cook and eat good food. He enjoys his wine. Most of all, he has special people skills. He know how to make decisions regarding the people in the St. Denis area. He is excellent at detection and handling possible ...more
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Around the Year i...: Bruno, Chief of Police, by Martin Walker 3 26 Jul 09, 2016 04:06PM  
  • Friends in High Places (Commissario Brunetti, #9)
  • Death at the Chateau Bremont (A Verlaque and Bonnet Mystery, #1)
  • Total Chaos
  • Un lieu incertain (Commissaire Adamsberg, #8)
  • Jacquot and the Waterman (Daniel Jacquot, #1)
  • Death of an Englishman (Marshal Guarnaccia Mystery, #1)
  • Disco For The Departed (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #3)
  • Rounding the Mark (Inspector Montalbano, #7)
  • Frozen Assets (Officer Gunnhilder, #1)
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 their two daughters.

More about Martin Walker...

Other Books in the Series

Bruno, Chief of Police (9 books)
  • The Dark Vineyard (Bruno, Chief of Police #2)
  • Black Diamond (Bruno, Chief of Police #3)
  • The Crowded Grave (Bruno, Chief of Police #4)
  • 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)
  • The Patriarch (Bruno, Chief of Police, #8)
  • Fatal Pursuit (Bruno, Chief of Police, #9)

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