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

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  2,869 ratings  ·  473 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 2008)
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingThe Golden Compass by Philip PullmanArielle by Lilian RobertsThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHis Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
1st books in a series
47th out of 197 books — 41 voters
Have Mercy on Us All by Fred VargasPerfume by Patrick SüskindThe League Of The Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska OrczyBruno, Chief Of Police by Martin WalkerThe Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Best Mystery Fiction Set in France
2nd out of 42 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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!
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
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
If Peter Mayle had woven a murder mystery into his hymns to Provence, they might have looked something like this.
Michael Mcclelland
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
Roddy Williams
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
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
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.
Jim Leffert
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
Dana Stabenow
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
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
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.
Dana Woodaman
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!
Gerald Sinstadt
St Denis is a town of a few thousand souls in the Drodogne. A particularly nasty murder occurs. The investigation, complicated by conflicting areas of responsibility, proceeds slowly. And so does a tale which is so much more than a crime story.

Bruno, the 40-year-old bachelor Chief of Police, veteran of some grisly warfare as a soldier, is a fully rounded character, deeply attached to St Denis and its inhabitants, almost all of whom are known to him personally. He has a part to play in the hunt f
I was concerned at first that this was going to be a story about a bumbling police officer. In fact it was quite the opposite. Bruno aged 40 is a single man, keen on sport and an efficient police officer in a small French town who mixes with and understands the community which comes under his care and responsibility. Small and petty crime in a village of some 3000 in SW France is not a difficult task for him, but a murder brings into play the Police Nationale and political connections in unfores ...more
First in a series of seven I see! Written by a British author/journalist, which occasionally is obvious but the flow of writing and delightful descriptions of the beautiful French Dordogne ..Perigord become just better and better. Lots of local color and cuisine. The murder leads to WWII secrets and some good reading as politics, immigration and war crimes mesh with some drug trafficking thrown in! Good read...and I grew to really like Bruno, Gigi his dog and their lifestyle!

Bonus, if you have n
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
Cathy Cole
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
Victoria Miller
A fun romp of a mystery, with some serious history. I love a story where I learn a lot, and this was one of those. Set in the composite but imaginary, French country town of St. Denis, we are introduced to Bruno, the police inspector. He has all the working gray matter of Hercule Poirot, and the masculinity and charm of Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn, and is, of course, a bit more modern than either of them. Smatered with French expressions, bits of French cooking and food interests, beautiful se ...more
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
First in the series, the second of the Bruno, Chief of Police books I've read. I actually would give it a 3.5. I enjoyed the introduction to this southwestern corner of France; the author captures the pace of life and (almost stereotypical)personalities of small town France. As Benoît Courrèges, aka Bruno, investigates the murder of an elderly African, the reader is drawn into some (to me) little-known atrocities of WWII. A bit of an eye-opener, handled well in the outcome.
First, I have to say that this was not the cover of the book I read. That would have been a helpful warning that this book is a VERY light read. So let's go down the list of stereotypes/cliches Martin Walker manages to include:

French people drink lots of wine and eat lots of pate!
Rural towns are so adorable!
Orphaned protagonist with a tough childhood...
Who grows up to be the beloved police officer with a dark past...
Plus! he's a bachelor, who is handy and can cook - watch out, ladies!

It's too b
Very enjoyable book. Somewhat reminiscent of Robert Goddard's books. Captures the small town feel of a French countryside town facing a vicious murder. I liked the ambivalence of the ending, keeping to the theme of law vs justice.
Brenda Mengeling
A gem of a story. Bruno is the Chief of Police of a small town in south eastern France. He is a former soldier during the war in Bosnia, and he now appreciates the quiet life. However, murder comes to the town of St. Denis, and a politically charged one at that. Bruno helps the National Police investigate, while trying to keep peace among the restless townspeople.

I really enjoyed the character of Bruno, both complex and simple at the same time, like most real people. And his character and those
Absolutely charming and fun to read. I'm already looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
Probably the first time I've read an account of somebody preparing lunch and I felt close to tears that I wasn't there to eat it!
Bruno, Chief of Police by Martin Walker is the first book of the Bruno, Chief of Police mystery series set in contemporary France. Benoit Courrèges, known as “Bruno”, is the chief of police in the small commune of St. Denis in the Périgord region. He doesn’t carry weapons in his peaceful town. He fully supports the local cottage industries, farmers and cheesemakers for generations, to the extent of alerting them to hide their wares when EU inspectors come “to enforce rules made in Brussels”. He ...more

Walker, a prolific author on such topics as the Cold War and the Iraq War, also writes a fiction series based on the cases of a small town police chief in southwestern France. The characters and town are invented, but the landscape and issues are real. This first book of the series was published in 2008.

Like many villages in rural France, St. Denis has a very small population of North Africans who immigrated during and after World War II. The peace in St. Denis is shattered when an elderly Alger
Steve Pifer
When I was a young man I left my very small town in rural Pennsylvania to join the US Navy, just as my big brother, father and grandfather had. I was fortunate enough to be assigned to a ship that was in the rotation of steaming to Europe every 18 months for a 6 month 'cruise'.
We visited several ports in Spain, Italy and France at at the age of 18, being intimidated by the size and scope of a small city like Wilkes-Barre, PA, I found myself suddenly in Toulon, Monte Carlos, and ports on the Fre
Kevin Lanahan
This was an enjoyable little mystery. I've been reading a lot of Camilleri Andrea and Camilleri Andrea lately, and Bruno is a refreshing change from those tired series.

Walker writes with an easy pace, lulling you into the slower pace of rural life. He spends a lot of time describing the people, the town and the countryside. The people are sketched lightly, and the usual functionaries and love interest are there. The economic and cultural/racial issues affecting France are limned out effectively
Shirley Schwartz
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
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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 (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 Children Return: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel
  • The Patriarch: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel
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)

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